Narrator: Simon Vance
Series: James Bond #5
Published by Blackstone Audio on January 1, 2006 (first published April 8, 1957)
Genres: Spy Thriller
Length: 7 hrs 53 mins
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One of the most thrilling classic novels of the Cold War, featuring the suave, steely James Bond.
Every major foreign government organization has a file on British secret agent James Bond. Now, Russia's lethal SMERSH organization has targeted him for elimination. SMERSH is the Soviet organ of vengeance, interrogation, torture, and death. James Bond is dedicated to the destruction of its agents wherever he finds them.
Far away in Moscow, SMERSH has laid a death trap for Bond with an enticing lure: the irresistible Tatiana Romanova, who draws 007 to Istanbul promising the top-secret Spektor cipher machine. But when Bond walks willingly into the trap, a game of cross and double-cross ensues, with Bond both the stakes and the prize.
I’m officially done with the James Bond books. I enjoy the movies, but the books are just too incredibly chauvinistic and sexist. Usually I can take books for when they were written, but when characters say things like, “All women want to be swept off their feet. In their dreams they long to be slung over a man’s shoulder and taken into a cave and raped.” or when one scene is literally naked gypsy women fighting to the death over a man. Rape was never okay, not then, not now. Our Bond girl, Tatiana, is gullible and too sweet and beautiful and Fleming actually has her ask Bond, “You won’t let me get so fat that I am no use for making love? You will have to be careful, or I shall eat all day long and sleep. You will beat me if I eat too much?”
I want to say at least the plot was good, but I’m not entirely sure I can. There’s the Russian assassin who is maybe the most interesting character. He’s nuts, but he is equally willing to kill men, women, black or white, I’m sure. And he’s after Bond, but first the girl has to lure Bond to Istanbul so that the killing can be a huge incident to demoralize the British Secret Service. There is a lot of lead up – the first third of the book was the Russians. The plot is predictable and more annoying than gripping.