The Russian agency SMERSH plans to assassinate the British super agent James Bond since he helped to eliminate Le Chiffre and because they need a spectacular demonstration of force now. Colonel Rosa Klebb selects beautiful Tatiana Romanova as a bait knowing that Bond easily falls for pretty women. In Istanbul, Tatiana contacts the British intelligence agencies under the pretence of having fallen in love with Bond and wanting to collaborate with them. She also offers the decoding machine Spektor in which the English are highly interested. Since the Russian refuses to board a plane to London, they take the Orient Express on their way back – accompanied by a number of spies.
Actually, Ian Fleming does not offer too much plot in his fifth novel about the British MI6 agent. The main story takes place on the train where Bond, Romanova and Bond’s Turkish partner Kerim are repeatedly attacked and Bond manages to escape due to Q’s spectacular inventions. Since the publication took place during the times of the Cold War when the Soviets were the first and most important enemy of the Western world, thus we have a classic plot of that time here – albeit Fleming actually did not use this as often as one might suspect. All in all, I like those old classic spy novels, just like the ones of John Le Carré, but admittedly, Ian Fleming is best in film.