From Russia, With Love
This book begins with the story of Donovan Grant, psychopathic killer and traitor, who defects to the Soviets. They, unlike other forces, welcome and use these types. The beginning chapters are filled with accurate background. You wonder how a newspaperman like Fleming acquired this knowledge. In Chapter 5 the Soviet High Command has decided to reach out and touch one of their enemies. Various targets are discussed until they decide on James Bond as the object of scandal and death. Destroying a hero will damage the morale of this Service. Bond must be lured to a foreign country where he will be killed and disgraced; the planners devise a scheme that meets their needs. The book shows Fleming's knowledge of Russian, learned before he reported on a Moscow spy trial in 1932.
James Bond is between assignments, tending to administrative matters. The Director calls him and tells of a situation in Station T concerning a Soviet code clerk and a cipher machine. Bond will accept this gambit, but wonders if it is a trap. Kerim shows Bond the sights of Istanbul. They visit a gypsy band and observe their primitive justice. Chapter 18 has plenty of action! The attackers were told to spare Bond. Who can tell why? When Bond returns to his room he finds Tanya; she tells how she will bring the cipher machine to their compartment on the Orient Express. The next day they meet for their return to England. On the train Bond suspects there is some sort of plot connected to their travel by train. But he ignores this suspicion. When Bond find Darko Kerim dead in his train compartment he realizes something is happening. But all seems well when the train reaches Italy.
Bond seems to recognize a man sent by M. Captain Nash gives the proper password and countersign. But there is something about him that doesn't ring true. Woken from sleep, Bond faces a new threat in the sleeping car. It seems almost hopeless, but Bond improvises a shield against danger. Nash's own weapon is used against him. Bond wins again, the girl and the cipher machine, and important information about Paris. Rosa Klebb is captured, her career is over. But she kicks one last time and Bond has a problem.
This story shows how Fleming has improved his writing since "Casino Royale". The popular 1965 film developed more action by not strictly following the book. I think it was better that way.