Wanting to destroy the friendship between the British and its Western allies, as well as getting some personal revenge, the heads of the Soviet spy organization SMERSH devises a cunning plan. Through their agents Rosa Klebb (one of the most repulsive baddies in the series) and Donovan "Red" Grant (who likes to kill when there's a full moon), and with the unwitting help of a Soviet cipher clerk, Tatiana (Tania) Romanova, SMERSH gets the British to think Romanova will defect to the West from Istanbul with the prized "Spektor" code machine. Provided the agent that brings her to England is James Bond, agent 007.
In reality,the plan is to have Bond and Romanova killed by Grant, making it look like a sex scandal, while a fatally boobytrapped Spektor is delivered to the British. A double whammy that'll destroy the West's confidence in British Intelligence. It's a great, fiendish plan, with Bond walking straight into the Russians's hands.
Fleming's storytelling is more polished than ever. The novel's first ten chapters (!) detail the formulation and development of SMERSH's plan, and why they decide on certain factors. (It's felt Bond's death would be a moral blow to his fellow agents, for example.) We find out details about Klebb, Grant and other Soviet operatives involved, including the cold master planner Kronsteen. And when the operation finally begins, with a bored Bond on his way to Istanbul (in an amusing plane sequence), the reader won't be able to break away from the book.
Highlights include the great character Darko Kerim, London's man in Istanbul and his and Bond's growing friendship; Bond and Kerim's spying on SMERSH's meetings, Bond and Tania's growing romance and the final, brutal confrontation with Grant above the Orient Express. And that last chapter when Bond (MINOR SPOILER) meets up with Klebb, only to... Nope, can't tell you any more!
The best of the series so far, From Russia, With Love is an exciting thriller from start to finish!
Up next: Doctor No!
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