The Russians wanted to liquidate James Bond -- ace British secret agent -- in a way that would embarrass England. So they lined up their best team to pull off the job:
Tatiana Romanova -- an alluring brunette seductress who looks like Garbo although her heart belongs to the State.
Red Grant -- a renegade Irish hired assassin, who likes to kill for kicks.
Rosa Klebb -- head of Otydel II, department of torture and death, a hideous woman with a lust for inflicting excruciating torment.
The master conspirators devise a trap designed to eliminate Bond on a perilous journey from Istanbul to Paris via the lush Orient Express. A trip on which Bond makes passionate love to one of his captors as he fights desperately to protect his life from the others, while the train speeds towards its ultimate, awful rendezvous with death!
And here is a quote from Anthony Price...
‘Mr Fleming is in a class by himself. Immense detail, elaborate settings and continually mounting tension, flavoured with sex, brutality and sudden death'So with that introduction and Price's thoughts, you have a pretty good idea of this book.
The other three Bond books I have read recently seem more adventure stories than spy fiction. This one is a more straightforward spy story. This one also has a different structure with Bond only entering the book after about 90 pages (out of 260 in my edition). The first ten short chapters focus on various agents of SMERSH: Red Grant, an assassin for the organization; Tatiana, who is pressed into service to lure Bond to his death, and Rosa Klebb, one of the masterminds of the nefarious plot. I loved these chapters; for me they added depth to the story.
This is definitely my favorite of the books I have read so far. I may be biased because I love the movie so much and the book is very close to the movie.
I did not become a Bond movie fan until I met my husband.He had the wonderful opportunity to view the first three James Bond films, Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger in the theater when they came out. His father performed maintenance of theatrical equipment for many years, and as a child my husband would tag along to his jobs. He often got to see movies in the theater when they first came out.
It was fun to watch the film version after having read the book. For the most part the story is very close, certainly much closer than most of the film adaptations. In the film, Kerim is much more likable; he is still pretty sexist, but it is toned down quite a bit. SPECTRE is introduced in this movie, and that organization does not figure in the book. The only enemy organization in the book is SMERSH.
This post at Classic Film and TV Café notes many interesting facts about the film and the actors.
Moira at Clothes in Books has featured From Russia With Love twice: here and here.
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2010
(orig. pub. 1957)
Length: 259 pages
Format: Trade paperback
Series: James Bond, #5
Setting: UK, Russia, Turkey, and more
Genre: Spy thriller
Source: I purchased this book.