• From Russia with Love

  • James Bond, Book 5
  • By: Ian Fleming
  • Narrated by: Toby Stephens
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (936 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

James Bond is targeted for elimination by SMERSH, and the malevolent Colonel Rosa Klebb has set a trap in Istanbul. The bait is the Spektor decoding machine, which is to be delivered by the irresistible Tatiana Romanova. The assassin is Red Grant, a psychopath who has defected from the West. Bond and Tatiana become pawns in a game of cross and double-cross that reaches its deadly finale on the Orient Express.

This audiobook includes a bonus interview with Toby Stephens.

Blackstone Audio, Inc. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under license by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd

©1957 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks

Featured Article: The 25 Best James Bond Villains, Ranked


What fun is 007 without the dynamic, dangerous, sometimes sexy, sometimes campy villains? Over the course of 40 officially licensed James Bond novels and 26 James Bond films, there have been more than 100 villains who have taken a crack at destroying the superspy. These particular villains deserve to be celebrated for their evil plots and the brilliant storylines we couldn’t have without them. If you’re a James Bond fan, you have to love a Bond villain.

What listeners say about From Russia with Love

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Fleming Raises the Bar on 007

Picking up in the wake of events from the more mediocre Diamonds Are Forever, Fleming's next one in the series turns out to be one of the most heralded. It's certainly the one that really got James Bond's name out there to American audiences (thanks, JFK). But is the hype around this one worthy?

Simply put, yes. From Russia With Love brings us ever closer to the style fans associate with both Fleming and Bond. Even though we're still a few years away from the big screen version, Bond is finally developing the personality that Sean Connery would later refine and make his own. Interestingly, Bond is overshadowed whenever Karim Bey is in the story. Bey is the largest personality in the book, and Fleming had a lot of fun writing him. What's more, this is the first time we really get to spend some time with the villains without Bond being there. Bond doesn't really get any character time until chapter 11, leaving room for Fleming to show us how things are done behind closed doors at SMERSH, creating characters that would be translated more or less accurately for the film later on. The only major difference is that the film has these characters defecting from SMERSH to operate with SPECTRE, an organization that doesn't feature in the books until Thunderball.

Roger Moore once quipped that Bond was the worst secret agent because everyone knew everything about him. This may be the book that inadvertently set that stereotype into motion. This time SMERSH is out for vengeance, seeking to murder both 007 and his reputation. The setup is a bit hard to swallow, and Fleming knew it too, which is why Bond questions it right from the start. But the story is told with such enthusiasm, you really don't care once things are set into motion. That enthusiasm changes everything. After Diamonds, it's like Fleming found a renewed interest in Bond. Or it could just be that better villains make for better stories.

Toby Stephens' narration is superb, except for the offending "oh-oh-seven" pronunciation. This still bothers me, and probably always will when both Fleming and the popular culture say "double-oh seven." Even so, I'm learning to accept this is just how it's going to be. A British woman explained it to me like this: I'm an American, so I get no say, regardless of how Fleming did it, and as a Brit, whatever she says is automatically correct. Seriously, how do you argue against that?

8 people found this helpful

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Bait-and-Switch

"From Russia with Love" is the best 007 novel so far, with elite agent James Bon now the target of an elaborate Soviet spy trap. Seeking to embarrass the West, eliminate a key British Secret Service asset, and bolster the credibility of SMERSH, the leaders of that organization have lured Bond to Turkey with the promise of a beautiful female defector and an important piece of Soviet cryptographic technology. Suspenseful, action-packed, and thrilling, "From Russia with Love" delivers on what makes the character of James Bond, and this series of novels, so engaging. Toby Stephens does an admirable job with the narration of this audibook, giving a distinct personality to each of the characters.

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The Best Bond Book and Movie

Great writing and amazing performance from Toby Stephens. It’s interesting as there is a longggg build up before Bond appears but it is not dull and quite compelling. A must for any Bond fan.

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Fleming at his best. A spectacular, spy novel

Absolutely loved it! The detail of the characters is very well crafted and the train sequence toward the end of the book is riveting- really keeps you on the edge of your seat. You'll have to give it a listen to find out just how thrilling this installment of Ian Fleming's 007 really is.

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Was probably better in its day

This was kind of hard to listen to in 2022. There are several out-dated cultural references, sexist attitudes (even for Bond), and demeaning racial stereotypes that were hard to get past for me.

I enjoyed seeing the perspectives of both sides. The spy/thriller parts were fun and the climatic scene was good. Then Fleming forgot to write the last chapter.

Really good narration, except a few times when I list track of who was talking.

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We’ll…. It’s a product of it’s time

This was probably considered pulpy even in its day. There are some real triggers in here so be aware. Parts of the beginning and the end are well written. The movie was better. The narration was terrific.

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Simply Great!

Of the five or six Bond books that I have read so far I would have to say F.R.W.L. is definitely my favorite. Excellent performance by narrator as well.

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Bond in his prime.

Ian Fleming is a legend. From Russia With Love is one of the best books in the James Bond series.

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Great read and great audible performance.

I’ve been listening to all the Ian Fleming Bond books on audible. Toby Stephans has been the best one so far. It’s interesting that he also played the villain in Die Another Day and also played Bond in a couple of plays.

Also my favorite Bond book so far. The detail brought to the Red Grant character in the book gives one a much stronger sense of the character’s evilness and debauchery to make the book more exciting.

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A Wonderful Read

I’m a longtime Bond fan. Read all the books as a teen and purchased previous audiobooks back when they were cassette tapes (!) I have now listened to three of these new Bond book recordings and find this to be a favorite. Stephens pacing, inflection, humor, and clarity are top notch and help dramatize the story without crossing over the top. I loved the laughter, the way Stephens brought the “extra” to the scene. From Russia, With Love is quintessential Bond and this audiobook does it justice. Highly recommended.