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From Russia With Love

(James Bond (Original Series) #5)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  33,045 ratings  ·  1,281 reviews
Ian Fleming’s fifth James Bond novel.

James Bond is marked for death by the Soviet counterintelligence agency SMERSH in Ian Fleming’s masterful spy thriller. It's the novel that President John F. Kennedy named as one of his favourite books of all time.

SMERSH stands for ‘Death to Spies’ and there’s no secret agent they’d like to disgrace and destroy more than 007, James Bond
Paperback, 259 pages
Published 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 1957)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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(A-) 83% | Very Good
Notes: James Bond fights the 'soft life' but ironically becomes soft: ditching sense to reattain love, adventure and friendship.
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
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action-adventure
From Russia With Love is the fifth book in Ian Fleming's James Bond series. Written in the height of the Cold War, it pits Russia versus the west in a race to achieve the best in stealth technology. When the novel first came out, President Kennedy dubbed it his favorite book, increasing it in popularity and spurring Fleming to write more James Bond cases. Yet, this tale of espionage is often dubbed the best in the series.

SMERSH, the Russian intelligence agency, would like to make a big splash t
Grace Tjan
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 b
This is hands down the best James Bond book and it was turned into the best James Bond movie. I have yet to read all the books, but I have read a fair amount so I think it is okay for me to have the opinion that this is the best!

I read this twice and loved it both times. The second time I read it was on a train in Switzerland between Bern and Brig. This just so happens to be part of the route of the train included in the climactic scene in the book. This was not an intentional coincidence, but v
If this is love then I’d hate to see the Russian idea of hate.

The Soviets have suffered several espionage losses so they decide to run an elaborate operation in which they’ll kill British agent James Bond in such a way that will embarrass all of English intelligence. The two big pieces of cheese in this mousetrap are a code machine used by the Russians and a beautiful code clerk named Tatiana Romanova who doesn’t realize what kind of pawn she actually is. Will Bond take the bait? Well, he is Jam
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Это отличная книга!

Google translate tells me this is “That's a great book” in Russian. If I’m getting catfished by Google, somebody please let me know.

Anyway, this is a great book!

First of all, oddly, we don’t even see Bond until about 60 pages in. Fleming slowly, but entertainingly, builds the Soviet era backstory with a focus on some senior Soviets cooking up a trap for our hero. They’ll use a pretty young operative to lure Bond into a “killing bottle” for their hired assassin.

Bond is describe
Feb 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One

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
This really needs to be remade. To help move things along, I've mocked up a poster and a few seconds of dialogue for the teaser trailer...


Dec 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
From the Telegraph's Andrew Martin 06 Aug 2014:

"Scientists at the University of London have concluded that the key to happiness is having low expectations. 'They mined this conclusion from an experiment in which people gambled with small sums of money. The subjects were happiest when they won, not having expected to win.'"


This quote pretty much captures my feelings about Ian Fleming. Now five books deep into James Bond, I've just figured out how to enjoy these books. Yes, you guessed it. Low exp
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jason Koivu
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, spy
In ways this is my favorite Bond book so far. Not sure why. Perhaps because the writing feels a bit more ways.

Fleming spends a lot of time developing the backgrounds of the villains. Bond doesn't come actively on to the scene until well into the book.

The pacing feels slow for the first two thirds, then it gets ramped up for the end. The plot is straight forward and even intentionally telegraphed, so it will probably bore modern day readers.
Richard Derus
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
aPriL does feral sometimes
I accidentally touched four stars when I intend to rate ‘From Russia with Love’ three, but I will let it stand. The action is wonderful - bombings, car chases, shootings, secret underground grotto, gypsy girl-fight with knives - and actual spying, for once, by Turks.

If you have seen the movie, you will know everything about the plot of the novel, the fifth in the James Bond series. For once, the book and the movie are very closely synced. The hot Russian babe Tatiana Romanova - innocent secretar
Dave Schaafsma
After two novels bashing the USA as vulgar and crass and corrupt, the Brit Fleming now turns to Russia, in one of Fleming’s literary contributions to the Cold War, with a focus on the Russian anti-spy organization, SMERSH, and a psychopathic serial killer straight out of Fleming's probable reading of Jim Thompson's The Killer in Me. Smersh's mission for no obvious reason than to annoy the CIA is to kill Bond, who is only talked about in the first third of the book. I like that. We get a clearer ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, spy, action, historic, ku
When you read any of Fleming's books you need to remember you are seeing a snapshot of distant place and time. This is post war Europe where men are Men and women are decorative. You may be exposed to what today would be described as straight up racism, sexism and bigotry. Whether it is an absolute unquestionable hatred for the communists or a more subtle British private school disdain for the people of the continent.

If you have seen the movie From Russia with Love you will be happily retreadin
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'm not a Bond fan and the only other i've read is Casino Royale. This is better and would have been 4 stars but the buildup is, as is often the case, better than the pay off.

In Casino Royale Bond is shown (unintentionally i'm assuming) to be an incompetent, traitorous, rapist, in this he's a bit more competent although he still manages to ignore a lot of suspicious things.
Bond doesn't think about raping anyone this time but don't worry he has a new BFF who is a confirmed rapist so thats just s
Jul 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
"A blue and green dragon-fly flashed out from among the rose bushes at the end of the garden and hovered in mid-air a few inches above the base of the man’s spine. It had been attracted by the golden shimmer of the June sunshine on the ridge of fine blond hairs above the coccyx. A puff of breeze came off the sea. The tiny field of hairs bent gently. The dragon-fly darted nervously sideways and hung above the man’s left shoulder, looking down. The young grass below the man’s open mouth stirred. A ...more

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
***2018 Summer of Spies***

”At 7:30 on the morning of Thursday, August 12th, Bond awoke in his comfortable flat in the plane-tree’d square off the King’s Road and was disgusted to find that he was thoroughly bored with the prospect of the day ahead.”

Having just recently finished Lycett’s biography of Ian Fleming, the above passage sent me flipping through my notes about that author, where I found this quotation that I had noted:

”After his death his widow Ann put it in much the same way. “You
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was my first James Bond novel that I've read and I want to read more. I've always enjoyed the James Bond movies, but now I have this new world to delve into. This was a fun read. I'm not sure what I was expecting....I just didn't want the books to ruin my movie experiences. So I'm glad that in some ways this is different than the silver screen Bond, but I felt like all the other characters were the same in personality and support. It was a nice mix of different/same.

I loved the way the sto
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quintessential Bond - This is the best one yet!

The Soviet CIA group known has SMERSH hatch a plan to assassinate Bond by using young Tatiana Romanova as bait.

The first third of the novel just focuses on the group and their motivations for picking Bond.
I felt that it gave such a fascinating extra layer to the story.

Apart from a brief recap of the past 4 adventures, this book easily standalone and would be a perfect introductory point for someone wanting to try one of Fleming’s novels.
Feb 21, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Quentin Wallace
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was unusual for two reasons: 1. James Bond doesn't even show up until over a third of the way through. 2. It ends on a cliffhanger.

That being said, this was a good read. The basic plot is that SMERSH, the Russian "death to spies" organization, is out to assassinate James Bond. They use a beautiful, young agent to distract him while a psychopathic agent commits the deed.

I liked this even if I thought the ending and beginning were a little strange. (Especially the ending.) If you're a B
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
Apr 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  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
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't know why I keep being surprised that each of these James Bond books gets better than the last. Most authors get better the more they write. It must be because the movies are so stupid, so lacking in what made the books great.

007 collides with SMERSH again (that is the Russian Intelligence branch) when they send a beautiful agent to seduce him and lead him to their assassin. In fact, the first half of the book takes place in the Soviet Union, setting up the lure, Tatiana Romanova, and th
Benjamin Thomas
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller-spy
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
G.R. Reader
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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The Better Book C...: May - James Bond: the Final Chapters! 5 2 Jun 05, 2017 11:26AM  
Publication year 6 21 Apr 05, 2017 06:37AM  
Espionage Aficion...: Pardon me, do you have a match? 1 14 Nov 30, 2014 07:04PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 2 15 Aug 09, 2014 10:46PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: From Russia with Love 1 2 Jul 13, 2014 01:12PM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick - From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming 1 5 Jan 26, 2014 05:45PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 9783864250781 2 17 Jan 05, 2014 10:41AM  

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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. He was a grandson of the Scottish financier Robert Fleming, who founded the Scottish American Investment Trust and the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co.

Fleming is best remembered for creating the character of James Bond

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)

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