From Russia with Love : James Bond (original)

  • by Ian Fleming
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • Series: James Bond (original)
  • 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 is the Soviet organ of vengeance, interrogation, torture, and death. James Bond is dedicated to the destruction of its agents wherever he finds them.Far away in Moscow, SMERSH has laid a death-trap for Bond with an enticing lure: 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 double-cross ensues -- with Bond both the stakes and the prize.

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What the Critics Say

"[Simon Vance] delivers an entertaining performance of one of Fleming's best 007 novels. Using a rich palette of international voices and accents, [Vance] takes an engaging story and infuses it with the additional drama that only a fine actor can provide." (AudioFile)
"From Russia with Love is perhaps the most successful of the Bond series: Fleming has managed to blend excellent characterizations with a highly suspenseful and clever story. The detail is rich and colorful, and the novel contains purely romantic elements that are missing from most of the other books." (Raymond Benson, author of High Time to Kill)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Pimping for England

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 expectations. I can't pretend I'm going to be reading Graham Greene or Joseph Conrad. I'm not going to explore the soul of man or the heart of darkness. I'm also not going to be reading John le Carré. There isn't going to be any self-reflection of post-modern hand wringing. This is James Bond dammit. You are going to get James Bond. He is a known quantity. If you come to this expecting to be seduced by literature, oh boy, you are on the wrong damn train. If, however, you are looking for 00 so ‘tarnished with years of treachery and ruthlessness and fear,’ sent off ‘to pimp for England’... Well, babe, this is THAT novel and James is your man.

It all reminds me of a quote from Christopher Hitchens I recently read:

“Fleming once confessed that he hoped to “take the story along so fast that nobody would notice the idiosyncrasies.” Fat chance. His “idiosyncrasies” jut out like Tatiana Romanova’s ass. What he ought to have said was that he hoped to pile on the pace and thereby hustle the reader past the point where belief has to be suspended. The smaller details, of products and appurtenances and accessories, fulfill the function of the conjuror’s other hand. They distract attention from the glaring lacunae in the plots, the amazing stupidity of the supposedly mastermind villains, and the reckless disregard for his own safety that this supposedly ice-cold agent displays by falling for every lure.”

Oh, James!
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

The Best of Them All

Would you listen to From Russia with Love again? Why?

This thriller is great fun because it has a great Cold War plot, a believable romance, danger, and friendship, all along the backdrop of a city which is still exotic to Westerners. It is also plausible, unlike many James Bond novels. It is the simple story of a trap set up to avenge the death of a Russian operative using a pretty girl as bait. Along the way is a psychopath hit-man sent to kill Bond, an Enigma-type code machine, and a beautiful Russian girl who may or may not be falling in love and may or may not be defecting. Each facet of the novel is true and no one portion takes away from the other. It is a nice hat-trick Fleming pulled off here. Even a John LeCarré fan would like From Russia, with Love.


Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The plot is ingenious as you are given the trap first and then see how Bond is lured into it. As most present-day people saw the movies first and read the novels second, one might expect Grand Guingol set-pieces and villains. But it is a simple story, drawn out piece by piece as each participant is introduced and given their job. Unlike many Bond novels, where you only know what Bond knows, in this case we know more and that creates greater tension.


Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

Darko Kerim is a great performance by Vance. His throaty Turkish rasp was filled with the mirth and joie de vivre you'd expect from a former circus performer who rose to become the head of the Turkish station. You grew to like the guy and could see why the Bond character, always suspicious and terse, would grow to like him also.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Fleming's novels are not terribly emotional, so it is difficult to become vested in the characters. This novel is different. As the characters are well-defined and the relationships are believable, one actually wonders what will happen to the beautiful Russian. And, frankly, despite all the torture and violence in Bond novels, this is the only one where you think he might get killed, even when you know the plot. It is very hard to put this one down.


Any additional comments?

This is the best Bond novel, hands down. Even if you don't read Fleming (and you have to be a fan to read a preponderance of them), this thriller will stand the test of time. You don't have to understand the canon to read this one and it doesn't matter if you read more stories. Enjoy a good Cold War yarn.

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- Pork C. Fish "Touching Lives One Martini at a Time"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-10-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.