Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The names Bond.....James Bond

OK first off spy thrillers are not my usual genre. I tend to find them far fetched and not all that thrilling, the only reason I read this is because I am making my way through the Penguin decades classics.

After saying that it is Bond, James Bond. I was curious to read a novel to see if the films are any different and to see how well James Bond has translated to the screen.

From Russia with Love has quite a simple straight-forward plot. The Russian secret service department S.M.E.R.S.H devise a scheme to increase their reputation and decide to assassinate Bond. The first third of the book is set in the USSR and follows the development of the plot and the various villains involved. All the characters introduced are given huge back stories which include their early life, motivations and how they came to be part of the service. This makes for some quite interesting reading and for me was the best part of the book.

Unfortunately (and I can’t believe I’m able to say this) the book takes a slight downturn when Bond is finally introduced in chapter 11. Yep Bond almost ruins his own story ;)

Let me elaborate. In the first few chapters the reader is introduced to 'Red' Grant, an Irish born psychopath and murderer who started out killing animals as a child before moving onto local girls then somehow winding up as the top executioner for S.M.E.R.S.H. Then there is the beautiful but naive MGB Corporal Tatiana Romanova (note the surname), who one day is hauled into the leader of S.M.E.R.S.H's office, questioned on her previous sexual experiences before being told that she is leaving Russia to seduce a man she has never met (although she did hit the jackpot seeing as that man is Bond)

These are interesting stories and characters so imagine what its like to then move from the USSR to London to find Bond living a somewhat boring life being looked after his elderly housekeeper while he broods about his latest lost love. I’m sorry but I would much rather read about the villains than how reliable Bond’s housekeeper is or how long he likes his eggs boiled for! (Three and a three quarter minutes in case you are interested) Bond’s contact in Istanbul has more of a sex life FGS.

Obviously From Russia with Love is part of a long series of books so perhaps something happened to Bond previously which made him into abit of a bore here but boring he was.

Despite that it was still a very entertaining book with the usual fights, far-fetched plot lines and the villain spending a good half an hour telling the entire plan to Bond before getting around to trying kill him. It was fun and at one point even a copy of War & Peace saved Bond's life (I did mention far-fetched already)

Verdict – fun but I prefer the films. Unsure if that's because of the Daniel Craig factor though.

Posted by Jess


  1. Pierce Brosnan is my favourite Bond. I like him since the days of Remington Steel, so when he became Bond, I was exhilarated! :)

  2. The only Bond book I've read is Casino Royale and it's one of the few occasions where I've preferred the movie to the book.

  3. Oh the Daniel Craig factor... that's a pretty big factor. One of the reasons I started watching the newer movies consistently. Haven't ever read one of the books though...

  4. Daniel Craig is lovely, but Sean is the Bond for me, having grown up in time to catch Diamonds are Forever on the big screen. I read all the books as a teenager and have always been a Bond fan. The books do have some great lines though - the opening and closing lines of Casino Royale are classic - It starts: “The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning.” and it finishes: “Yes, dammit, I said “was”. The bitch is dead now.”

  5. JoV - he was a good one, I think my mums favorite in fact.

    Myke - I was tempted to read that on when the movie came out but didnt bother in the end. The movies look far cooler than the books.

    Brenna - if you ever see one it'll be interesting to read but otherwise stick to the films!

    Annabel - I think everyone loves the Bond they grew up with, Connery is certainly my dads Bond. After saying that I certainly dont like Roger Moore LOL