Book review: "From Russia with Love" famously was one of President JFK’s top 10 favourite reads. It also inspired the second Bond movie which, being early in the series, is pretty similar to the book.
The book starts from the Russian side. Indeed it isn’t until chapter 11 of 28 that James Bond makes an appearance in the flesh.
The early chapters introduce “Donovan Grant or ‘Red’ Grant – Chief Executioner of SMERSH”, Rosa Klebb and Tatiana Romanova as they form a plot to kill Bond, although Tatiana, or Tania, is more a pawn in the plot than an instigator.
The plot is formed, to kill Bond, the spy who “has at least twice frustrated the operations of SMERSH” (see previous Bond novels for those occasions). He is to be “killed with IGNOMINY” with “great scandal required”, thus making it clear to the spying world that, after making some “stupid blunders, [which] has made the Soviet Union look foolish and weak throughout the world”, SMERSH is back.
Luckily for James Bond fans he manages to survive the plot, or does he? – the book ending in a cliffhanger.
Along the way, Bond displays his analytical thinking and eye for detail, useful traits for a spy, and the book is a thrilling read, with plenty of suspense, especially whilst he takes the Orient Express train home.
James Bond will return in Dr. No.