|From Russia, With Love (1st edition cover)|
|Hardback:||(UK) 1957 (U.S.) 1957|
|Paperback:||(UK) 1959 (U.S.) 1958|
|Preceded by:||Diamonds Are Forever|
|Followed by:||Dr. No|
From Russia with Love, published in 1957, is the fifth James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming. From Russia with Love is frequently considered the best James Bond novel by many fans and critics (although even critical opinion varies greatly). The novel is credited with launching the James Bond craze, and leading to the official EON Productions film series. Its biggest boost came four years after From Russia with Love was published from an article in Life magazine on 17 March 1961 in which U.S. President John F. Kennedy included it in a list of his favorite books; the James Bond novel was the only work of fiction in the list of ten.
The title of the book is occasionally printed with a comma, as From Russia, with Love, depending upon the publisher. It is more commonly printed without the punctuation.
From Russia with Love differs from Fleming's previous Bond novels in that the first one third of the novel revolves around SMERSH's executioner, Red Grant, as well as the organization, SMERSH, itself. This is also the first novel in which Bond receives a gadget from Q-Branch, although Q himself is not in the novel.
The book contains a series of elaborate plots and counterplots, between the British and the Russian intelligence agencies. It begins with SMERSH, the Soviet assassination agency, seeking to redeem itself from a series of failures that have made some within the Soviet government begin to criticize the organization. SMERSH plans to commit a grand act of terrorism in the intelligence field. For this, SMERSH has targeted British secret service agent, Commander James Bond. Due in part to Bond's defeat of Le Chiffre detailed in Casino Royale and Mr. Big in Live and Let Die, Bond has been declared as an enemy of the Soviet state and has been issued a "death warrant" for immediate execution ("To be killed with ignominy").
Mainly through the agency of Lev Kronsteen, the chess-playing master planner, and Colonel Rosa Klebb, SMERSH lays a trap for Bond, by setting pretty young cipher clerk, Corporal Tatiana Romanova, to pretend to defect from her post in Istanbul, claiming to have fallen in love with Bond, from a photograph. As an added incentive, Tatiana will provide the British agent with a Spektor decoder, a prize much coveted by MI6. The ultimate goal is to set up James Bond for assassination, and cause a scandal, but SMERSH doesn't count on Tatiana actually falling in love with 007. The confrontation between Bond and Grant takes place on board the Orient Express on the journey from Istanbul to Paris, when Grant is shot by Bond. Later, after successfully delivering Tatiana to the West, Bond has a final encounter with Rosa Klebb which leaves her dead and 007 poisoned.
|The James Bond novels|
|Ian Fleming (1953-1966)|
Casino Royale -- Live and Let Die -- Moonraker -- Diamonds Are Forever -- From Russia with Love -- Dr. No -- Goldfinger -- For Your Eyes Only -- Thunderball -- The Spy Who Loved Me -- On Her Majesty's Secret Service -- You Only Live Twice -- The Man with the Golden Gun -- Octopussy and The Living Daylights
Kingsley Amis (1968)
John Gardner (1981-1996)
Sebastian Faulks (2008)
Jeffery Deaver (2011)
William Boyd (2013)