Saturday, February 11, 2012

From Russia with Love

From Russia with LoveFrom Russia with Love – Ian Fleming
Evan’s ESS = 7 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG-13 (Violence, Adult Content, Sexual Content, Nudity, Narrow Escapes) 

Why: We knew going into this one that it would be difficult to ignore the expectations set by the movies franchise.  Still, there were questions we needed answered...  Would Ian’s Fleming’s Bond live up to the likes of Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig?  Would literary Bond’s Martini be ordered with the same confidence and single-mindedness as seen on screen?  Would Bond’s ability to escape during a prolonged and overly detailed bad guy exposition be just as satisfying in novel form?  Hmmmm...

Early on, James Bond is identified as the target of a well organized Russian organization bent on taking over the world.  *cue thematic and equally ominous laughter* Add a highly attractive female as bate and it would seem that the fate of MI6’s favorite child would be all but sealed.  Not so fast!  Foiling the plan will take every bit of Bond’s survival instincts and award winning smile.  Will he perish in his attempt to save the world?  The ending might just surprise you....

We are happy to report that the literary James Bond met our expectations.  Yes, there were a few things we questioned, like why was our hero found wallowing in a profound state of paperwork when he was finally introduced?  What the heck!  He’s supposed to be out shooting bad guys and playing games of high stakes poker, not filing TPS reports...  Still, our overall experience was positive and for the most part Bond was just as cool a character in page form as he is on the screen, although he does get injured a little more.  Oh, and some of his one-liners were a bit lacking. 

Once From Russia with Love got going, the plot was very suspenseful and filled with a cast of great bad guys (and girls).  The scenes on the Orient Express were especially entertaining, although between Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie, this train doesn’t seem like the safest way to travel.  Anyway, we thought it was awesome that the highly trained, efficient, no personality, assassin had a copy of a P.G. Wodehouse novel at one point.  Actually, the only parts of the novel that annoyed us was the occasional politically UN-correctness.  At one point the female lead actually encouraged James to beat her if she ever ate too much and got fat.  Really? 

We do hope to continue reading more James Bond in the near future and thanks to a rare helpful tip from our research department, will be giving Casino Royale a try next, which is supposed to be book 1 in the series.  Any other James Bond aficionados out there?


  1. I really enjoy the Bond novels, but there are a lot of hard-boiled/dated/embarrassingly un-PC elements along with the action and intrigue. Live and Let Die might be the worst one in that regard, at least for horribly racist comments. As you probably noticed in From Russia With Love, the Bond books have a bit more continuity than most of the movies. It's not vital to read them in order, but doing so gives you some overarching plot threads about Bond's career and love life. I really liked Casino Royale. I hope you do too!

  2. I've always wondered about these books. I can't believe my hubby hasn't read any of them. Glad to know they are worth the time.

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