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From Russia With Love (James Bond (Original Series) #5)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  16,967 ratings  ·  576 reviews

Every major foreign government organization has a file on British secret agent James Bond. Now, Russia's lethal SMERSH organization has targeted him for elimination. SMERSH has the perfect bait in the irresistible Tatiana Romanova, who lures 007 to Istanbul promising the top-secret Spektor cipher machine. But when Bond walks willingly into the trap, a game of cross and dou

Paperback, 248 pages
Published July 15th 1983 by Berkley (first published April 8th 1957)
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I am glad to be a man in 2011, because it sounds so exhausting to hear about what life was like in the 1950s. I mean, imagine you are Ian Fleming's James Bond, sexy 1950s super spy: Every time a woman mouthed off to you, you had to take her over your knee and spank her. That sounds awkward! (My lap isn't that big.) And if you were in a relationship and she started to get fat, you'd have to beat her until she lost weight. I don't want to get home from a long day of international espionage only to ...more
Grace Tjan
What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

1. The ideal Soviet master assassin is a man who is:

a. the offspring of a German wrestler and a Southern Irish hooker;
b. extremely muscular and hairy;
c. possessed of a high threshold for pain;
d. manic during the full moon; and
e. asexual (“Sexual neutrality was the essence of coldness in an individual”) --- but love to parade around naked.

2. Ugly women are mannish and have breasts that looked like badly packed sandbags, and when they pull ba
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4.5* of five

It's the 1963 movie with Sean Connery that I'm rating. I tried reading Casino Royale recently, and found it dated and even more sexist and racist than I was expecting. I'll stick to the movies. Connery's nice to look at. The gadgets are hilarious, and so is Q. The theme songs are great.
My biggest complaint with FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE—aside from the usual male chauvinism and innocent women who need a real man—I was well into this novel (over a third of the way) before Bond made his appearance. Did I really need to know that much about Mother Russia? I think not. I’d have been happier with much less, frankly, and I would have kept a few more sanity points.

I even debated skipping ahead, but since I’ve approached my task of reading the entire Bond series the way one might approach
I feel guilty reading these books for a variety of reasons. One, they are sinfully good. Two, they are undeniably racist and sexist. Three, I think I'm reading a first edition (the real owner of these books stole/borrowed them from a distant relative) and they are disintegrating in my hands as I read them. Every time I turn the page it comes away from the binding. Is it sacrilege to destroy a 1st edition Bond book?

The most surprising thing about these books is Fleming's prose. His descriptions
Jan 27, 2015 Carmen rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
Shelves: fiction

SMERSH wants to damage England. What better way than to destroy their secret agent hero, James Bond? SMERSH hatches a plan. They pick out their prettiest worker and send her to Bond. To sweeten the already honeyed deal, she's carrying a Russian encryption machine. Bond is initially suspicious of this beautiful Russian spy who's defecting to England, but his suspicions are gone once he beds her (moron!). But SMERSH has big plans for Bond, and surprisingly they are not plans to give hi

To date this and “Live and Let Die” are on par for the worst James Bond book I’ve read to date. This book was basically split into 3 parts over 350 pages of which none were interesting and only the final part offering anything in the way of action or tension.

The first part involved nothing but Russian diplomats scheming. It was 130 pages of filler, just a lot of backdrop into the Russian secret departments and some of the characters who will be popping up later. Bond wasn’t in this part at
For people who don't already know, "Kronsteen", the Russian chess genius and spymaster, is supposed to be based on David Bronstein, arguably the greatest player never to win the world title. Oddly enough, the game used in the movie involved Bronstein, but he was on the wrong side of the board. For details, including further links, look at this article.


When I read the third volume of Kasparov's My Great Predecessors last year, it occurred to me that there
Jun 04, 2013 David rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: British secret agents, Guys who pretend they read Playboy for the articles
Ian Fleming should get more credit than he does for writing fast-paced tightly-plotted thrillers. A little improbable at times? Sure, but the James Bond of the books is nothing like the superhero of the movies. This is adventure fiction that stays within the bounds of reason, and it's full of (almost) believable heroes and villains and not nearly as many outrageous gadgets as in the movies either. (Bond is actually given a cynanide pill dispenser in this book; he laughs and washes them down the ...more
From Russia With Love, movie trailer.

My Bond project continues with From Russia With Love, the second Bond film and the fifth Bond book (and yes, this out-of-order thing is totally starting to bug me... but I will prevail!).

So most interesting, in the movie the group that's after Bond is the non-specific SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), whereas in the book it's the very, very Soviet organization SMERSH (...mumble mumble mumble something Rus
An oh-so-innocent Russian cipher clerk is recruited into a SMERSH plot, being told that she would feed England false information after "defecting". Little does she know that the actual plan is to humiliate MI6 by staging a murder-suicide between her and her escort, James Bond.

This is technically a review of the Simon Vance audiobook, but it's an unabridged reading.

The Good:

Action scenes: Fleming writes them so well. That penultimate scene with the top SMERSH killer is my favorite scene in the b
G.R. Reader
I think I was about seven. We had a copy of this book lying around the house, and Mom told me not to read it, it was totally dumb, but of course I did anyway. I thought it was kind of cool, especially how they had the grandmaster plan the honey trap. Really I wanted it to work, and I was a bit annoyed that Bond got away again.

That weekend, Mom had invited a lesbian couple over for dinner (we were living in the Bay Area at the time). I spent the whole evening staring at their shoes. In the end, o
Benjamin Thomas
My chronological journey through the world of the original James Bond novels continues with the fifth novel to be written and published, and widely held as the beginning of the best part of the entire series. In this one, Russia is tired of continually losing the battle in the grand spy game and has decided to assassinate one of the West’s most prestigious spies. After considering several countries’ intelligence programs to target, they settle on Britain’s MI-6 and who better than the famous Jam ...more
Maybe even 4½ stars. Although his actions are similar to those of the movie character Bond, because you see his thoughts, doubts & concerns, Bond comes across as a much more three-dimensional (and to me, more attractive) man. For example, Bond's appearance in this fifth entry of the series is introduced while he is mourning the loss of his girlfriend Tiffany Case (from Diamonds are Forever) who has just become engaged to another man and moved back to America.

I found this one to be much more
My second Bond novel, and, while I enjoyed it immensely, it is very unsatisfying in that it now seems evident that the Bond series feature no through lines about other aspects of Bond's life besides his profession. While Dr. No, Bond's next adventure, ties up some loose ends, not the slightest mention is made about the fate of Tatiana Romanovna, the Russian spy with whom he really falls in love. Fleming being such a meticulous writer, this can't be mere carelessness, but rather that it doesn't m ...more
With 'From Russia With Love' I thought I'd reached a book which would be close to the film. As such I was somewhat surprised by the first 100 or so Bond-less pages. And yet, that opening worked very well. Fleming has spent the last four books building up the character of James Bond, and so can take time away to show the rest of his universe. Besides, much like Harry Lime in the film of 'The Third Man', the fact he's constantly being talked about means he's actually always there.

This is the best
Devlin Scott
This book is very special to me for one particular was the first book I had bought with my own money when I was a child. It was, of course, the cover that compelled me to purchase it, I think most of us are guilty of judging a book in this manner. I used to while away the hours in a local bookshop. I would walk up and down the isles dreaming of all the wonderous adventures each tome held within. Then, I saw the spy section of the shop. The covers, the titles, all left me in awe of wh ...more
Not the most action-packed installment I've read so far, but still a pretty good story. As Bond mopes in London following the loss of his last girl to another man(Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever), he is lured to Istanbul. SMERSH has hatched a plot to discredit and kill England's premier spy, and uses the beautiful Tatiana Romanova as bait. Almost nothing happens in the first half of the book, other than Fleming's trademark writing style packed with detail, deep character development and ric ...more
With all the hype surrounding the movie release of Quantum of Solace, I decided to pick up an Ian Fleming novel to see what kind of writer spawned so many huge movies. I bought From Russia With Love more or less randomly expecting a pulp fiction, throw-away escape. Instead, I was very pleasantly surprised to find the book well written, the plot solid and the background surprisingly accurate. Unlike the movies that tend to get overblown and focus on the action, this was a low key suspense thrille ...more
Finn Cullen
A cleverly constructed James Bond novel. The first half of the book focusses entirely on other characters and the meticulous build up to a Smersh scheme to discredit and destroy the pesky British agent. The psychological portrait of the chosen killer, Red Grant, makes a compelling short story within the novel as a whole and it is with suitable trepidation that the reader encounters the unstable Irishman later in the novel when Bond mistakenly accepts the man's cover story of being an ally.

Howard Olsen
A fantastic book about a Soviet plot to assassinate James Bond. The action is truly international, as the story shifts from Moscow to London to Istanbul before reaching a climax on the Orient Express. Fleming writes with a lot of flair, and no wonder; he was using this book to "kill off" Bond, a character whom Fleming had tired of (don't worry, Bond is lamely brought back to life at the beginning of "Dr. No"). The story focuses much more on the plot to kill Bond than it does on Bond himself. He ...more
This book was an unexpected surprise... I started it and within the first few pages, there were boobs and I thought to myself, this is going to be like a trashy romance novel for dudes. And there were parts of it that were. (two naked gypsies fighting to the death? seriously?) There were also parts that got made my feminist sense tingle like spiderman. But on the whole, the book was actually really well-crafted and gripping, with incredibly insightful tidbits that made me stop and say "wow yeah ...more
Thom Swennes
SMERSH is a contraction of Smiert Spionam – Death to Spies and is a department of the Soviet Secret Service. It is logical that agents of MI6 (British Secret Service) would be interesting targets for this group. In this action-filled novel, the Irish born Donovan Grant (Granitsky) is sent to kill James Bond. He is the chief executioner for this branch and an expert in killing. The beautiful and naïve Tatiana Romanova is also sent by the department head, Colonel Rosa Klebb to compromise and seduc ...more
Bond is up against SMERSH as they've targeted him for elimination. The trap is set. One of the best Bond novels in the series.
May 08, 2010 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Bond, or just generally up for a spy thriller.
As the story goes, Ian Fleming's fifth Bond novel was going to be his last. The first four of his spy series had not been as well received and popular as he'd like, so his intention was to end on 'From Russia With Love,' with James Bond finally meeting his match and dying in the end.

Fleming spent more time writing and re-writing this epic than any of his other novels, and it shows. There is so much brilliant exposition, and the prose is tip top. It is about 150 words into the novel before Bond e
Xavier Guillaume
May 05, 2013 Xavier Guillaume rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Spy Film Lovers, Those interested in espionage and intrigue
Love it! I've never been much of a James Bond fan until the Daniel Craig films, well...minus Quantum of Solace. Anyway, I recently saw Skyfall in theaters and was blown away. Best Bond film ever! Anyway, I wanted to see if there was a book it was based off of, but unfortunately no...But then I decided, "Hey! Why not try some of the other books anyway? Maybe I'll like it." So I picked up From Russia with Love. I decided on this one, because I'm kind of a russophile. Just the language and the cult ...more
Once introduced to the plot, Bond basically blunders through, oblivious to anything resembling tradecraft or even common sense, and comes across as an arrogant amateur. And his admiration of Darko Kerim seems ill-placed given that the man laughingly admits to kidnapping and rape in his misspent youth. Haha, what a rake...

The writing is generally lazy. Every character who encounters Tatiana has to compare her to a young Greta Garbo (including herself admiring her reflection in a mirror!). Nash co
"Bond tried the handle of the door. It was unlocked. He slipped the pass key into his coat-pocket. He pushed the door open with one swift motion and stepped in and shut it behind him.

It was a typical Ritz sitting-room, extremely elegant, with good Empire furniture. The walls were white and the curtains and chair covers were of a small pattered chintz of red roses on white. The carpet was wine-red and close-fitted.

In a pool of sunshine, in a low armed chair beside a Directoire writing desk, a l
From Russia with Love was the fifth of Ian Fleming's 007 books, published in 1957. Apparently he wasn't sure whether he wanted the franchise to continue, and you have to read the sequel, Dr. No, to find out how some of the plot points in this one were resolved.

Interesting, I think, is that the movie Dr. No (based on the sixth book) was the first James Bond film, and From Russia with Love was the second. Swapping the order of the plots actually necessitated some changes to the stories. In the mov
Review | From Russia with Love, Ian Fleming | 4.5 Stars I love Ian Fleming. I really do. He’s got a gift for storytelling, he has the English language wrapped around his little finger, and perhaps most importantly, the man has an impeccable sense of style.

That being said,From Russia with Lovehad a love to live up to. This book is undoubtedly a modern classic. It’s probably the most famous in the James Bond series (possibly because JFK once mentioned it was one of his favorite novels; looking bac
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Publication year 3 17 Aug 29, 2014 11:58PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 2 13 Aug 09, 2014 10:46PM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming 1 4 Jan 26, 2014 05:45PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 9783864250781 2 17 Jan 05, 2014 10:41AM  
  • For Special Services (John Gardner's Bond, #2)
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  • James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007
  • Devil May Care (James Bond, #36)

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist and Second World War Navy Commander. Fleming is best remembered for creating the character of James Bond and chronicling his adventures in twelve novels and nine short stories. Additionally, Fleming wrote the children's story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and two
More about Ian Fleming...

Other Books in the Series

James Bond (Original Series) (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)
  • Live and Let Die (James Bond #2)
  • Moonraker (James Bond, #3)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond, #4)
  • Doctor No (James Bond, #6)
  • Goldfinger (James Bond, #7)
  • For Your Eyes Only (James Bond, #8)
  • Thunderball (James Bond, #9)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond, #10)
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond, #11)
Casino Royale (James Bond, #1) Goldfinger (James Bond, #7) Live and Let Die (James Bond #2) Moonraker (James Bond, #3) On Her Majesty's Secret Service (James Bond, #11)

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“But I am greedy for life. I do too much of everything all the time. Suddenly one day my heart will fail. The Iron Crab will get me as it got my father. But I am not afraid of The Crab. At least I shall have died from an honourable disease. Perhaps they will put on my tombstone. 'This Man Died from Living Too Much'.” 28 likes
“Hope makes a good breakfast. Eat plenty of it.” 16 likes
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