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  • From Russia with Love

  • James Bond, Book 5
  • Written by: Ian Fleming
  • Narrated by: Toby Stephens
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)

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From Russia with Love

Written by: Ian Fleming
Narrated by: Toby Stephens
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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

What listeners say about From Russia with Love

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Bond Novel

In a 'Life' Magazine interview, President John F. Kennedy called this novel one of his Top-10 favorites. He is absolutely right to include it on his list. It's the first novel that falls into the pattern that Bond novels are best known for: cartoonish villains, gadgets, cars, women, and action. Yes, it's ludicrous, but it's genuinely entertaining.
Fully a third of the novel is dedicated to introducing the villains (Smersh - including Chess playing Master-planner Colonel Kronsteen, Executioner Colonel Rosa Klebb, and psychopathic assassin Donovan "Red" Grant); the beautiful love interest (feigned defector Corporal Tatiana Romanova); and the evil plan (lure & assassinate 007 to avenge his successes and to send a message to Western Intelligence agencies). It then proceeds to a well-paced chase across Europe punctuated by sexual conquests, violent encounters, exotic locations, and 'nick-of-time' escapes.

This is an undeniably fun adventure.

The narration from actor Toby Stephens (the bad guy in 'Die Another Day') is commendable. He clearly enjoys the book - reading with marvellous emotiveness and tone. In addition, diction, cadence, timbre, and pacing are all spot-on. The Pièce De Resistance, however, is Stephens's voice-acting: he invariably delivers instantly recognizable characters with highly authentic accents.
The editing falls short at times (overdubs and re-read sections are glaringly distinctive), but the sound engineers hired by Ian Fleming Ltd. do a creditable job.

This installment in the 'James Bond (Celebrity Recordings)' series is one of the better ones. I rate this product 9 stars out of 10.
'From Russia, With Love' showcases why Ian Fleming is popular to people like the American President.. it's well worth the Credit.

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  • Troy
  • 2014-11-18

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?

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2021-07-13

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mark waldman
  • 2018-11-21

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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  • Christopher
  • 2017-05-02

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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  • Moonglotexas
  • 2014-09-21

Loved the narrator, enjoyable Bond

If you could sum up From Russia with Love in three words, what would they be?

Spying in the fifties

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I can't claim as Toby did that I doubted Bond's survival but I did worry about the Bond girl and how it was all going to play out! Wonderfully fun!

Have you listened to any of Toby Stephens’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I haven't but hungry for more! May have to listen to the new Bond just to hear more

Any additional comments?

Lovely step back in time, fabulously entertaining

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  • John A.
  • 2022-12-31

A wonderful book

A great book that I found to be developmental and maturative for a young man coming of age such as myself. I found great relation with the author and protagonist and I further highly recommend this book.

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  • David
  • 2022-12-29

Incredible story and fantastic narrator

My favorite Bond film. The narrator did an amazing job, the characters really come to life

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  • Rose E. Roth
  • 2022-11-23

Toby Stephens is the man

An awesome book! And Toby Stephens does an amazing job narrating! I wish he narrated all the Bond books.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • KellysHero718
  • 2022-10-22

Unmemorable

I remember downloading this title, and it's marked that I Finished it, but I don't remember a single thing about it. Seriously, nothing. That's gotta be a bad sign, right? So I'm marking it in the middle, with a slightly higher mark for Performance, assuming the narrator has a British accent, and I generally like those.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2022-10-15

the worst Bond book

I have read about 6 Bond books and this is the worst one. The story is slow and lame. The ending is atrocious.