Saturday, January 28, 2006

From Russia, With Love

I haven't read many of the James Bond books. From Russia, With Love is said by some to be the best one in the series.

It's striking how relatively little Bond actually does. Darko Kerim, the Secret Service's Head of T (Turkey) Station, seems to get a lot more done in terms of spying and killing and derring-do. It's as if Bond is his sidekick for this book instead of the other way around. Bond has the task of banging the Russian girl, but to no productive purpose: she doesn't reveal crucial information to him, for example.

Bond is swept along by events. He's easily fooled and generally goes along with everything SMERSH has planned for him. The excuse is that he wants to find out what SMERSH is up to. Bond doesn't figure anything out until it's too late and the villain is explaining it to him.

At a critical juncture, a gun disguised as a book goes "Click! Click-click-click-click." Apparently this is meant to indicate that the book-gun is actually firing bullets. I found this to be a confusing sound effect.

The book ends with a cliffhanger, which I wasn't expecting.


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