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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?

4 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Both great and soso

This was a great book. The depth for the villains was well done taking nearly the first third of the book before even introducing Bond was extremely well done.
The soso part comes from Bond himself. Maybe its the times or foresight at having seen the movie or just having grown up with Bond, but this book seems to play Bond and even others on his side as being extremely foolish and stupid. Even at parts that never made the movie and without the lense of villian or hero to cloud things I found some of the actions by Bond to be questionable. The biggest and most obvious being that when he is moved to a new hotel room he suspects its a plot of some kind. He looks for microphones and supposedly finds none. But fails to detect the two way glass of the mirror or the spy hole for a camera. This kind of thing was introduced just a novel or two prior and would have been something they would have been on the look out for.
But other than the gullibility of Bond towards these things, which I believe Fleming ment to show as complacency of both Bond and MI6 towards threats, the book was one of his best so far.

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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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What a great early James

I have seen the movies, I have listened to the book and you really must do both to enjoy this story.

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Really Good!

I've been working my way through the Bond books. I've enjoyed them all so far, but "From Russia with Love" is really exceptional! I can't wait to read what comes next.

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Perfect

Fantastic narration and one of the best Bond books. Takes you back in time. Highly recommended.

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Amazing Story Made Even Better By Toby Stephens

From Russia with Love continues Ian Fleming's great series. The picture Fleming paints allows a complete immersion into the world of Bond's MI6. He creates characters that transcend both time and distance.

Toby Stephen's rendition of this novel was spot on! He made me feel that Kareem could be my best friend, and that Kleb was the creepiest person on the planet.

I particularly enjoyed Toby's interview about the book. It seemed truly heartfelt. It was easy to see that he enjoyed the reading, and that joy could be felt as he read the story!

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Toby Stephens does an insanely great job

I am listening to this series as I walk too and from work, not taking public transportation, during coronaquarantine. The narrators are all very good; but this is the only one where I have not used whispersync to both read and listen- I don't want to miss any of this great performance. Terrific narration!