Author: Ian Fleming
Publication date: 8th April 1957
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Cover artist: Richard Chopping
It has been remarked that From Russia, With Love is Fleming’s most traditional novel, and it is sometimes suggested that this is the reason for the success of the film, which is faithful to its source.
Bond does not appear at the beginning of the book while the reader is taken through the machinations of the Russians plot to assassinate Bond and compromise British Intelligence. The story features some colourful scenes set in Istanbul and a dramatic ride on the Orient Express.
The film staring Sean Connery was the second to appear, following on the success of Dr No, and for many people it remains the best of the series, combining a minimum of gadgetry, a well-structured plot and a claustrophobic fight on the Orient Express.
What we say
With his fifth book, Ian Fleming really wanted to step up his game. A pure Cold War spy thriller, From Russia, With Love features Bond’s attempts at getting his hands on Russia’s Spektor cipher machine. Note the use again of a variation on the word “spectre”.
Bond doesn’t even appear until a third of the way through the book and the start of the novel, focusing on the Russian plot, sometimes drags. But once Bond is introduced Istanbul and then the Orient Express provide colourful backdrops to the story.
From Russia, With Love was the book that helped James Bond become established in the United States. When Life published an article about JFK’s reading habits, it appeared on his list of ten favourite books. Fleming couldn’t have asked for better publicity and US sales of all his books surged.
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