I've been listening to the Simon Vance audio versions of James Bond. Very interesting to go back through them in the order they were written.
For me, this is one of the best. I recently found out that Fleming intended From Russia with Love
to be the last of the Bond series. Perhaps it because he reluctantly brought him back from the dead
that this Bond has more of an edge
than any of the previous ones. For example, rather than worshipping M, this Bond actually gets angry at him--more than once. Fleming also delves deeper into Bond's personality. And the obstacle course
sequence is one of the finest interior dialogs I've read--or rather listened to--in quite some time. Keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
For me, there was also a difference in the girl
in this book. She was, of course, beautiful, and she naturally fell deeply in love with Bond the instant they met, but there was more to her than there was to the others. She wasn't just a blow-up doll there for his amusement. She had a life before and, according to what we learn at the end, would have even more of a life afterward. She did not depend upon Bond for her survival, but rather could actually do
things by herself and for herself. Considering the genre and the era in which Fleming was writing, she was quite unusual.
All in all, a very good read!