From Russia, With Love.
"To Una who will at last get to the end!": First edition of From Russia, With Love; inscribed by Ian Fleming to his real-life Miss Moneypenny
From Russia, With Love.
Item Number: 133890
London: Jonathan Cape, 1957.
First edition, first state of the fifth James Bond novel and what Fleming considered one of his best books and listed in Life magazine as one of US President John F. Kennedy’s top ten favorite books. Octavo, original cloth with gilt titles to the spine, gilt rose and gun emblem to the front panel. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Una who will at last get to the end! from Ian Fleming.” The recipient, Una Trueblood, whose surname was later appropriated by Fleming for the character of Mary Trueblood in Dr. No. Una started working in 1948 at Kemsley Newspapers and The Sunday Times where she was soon appointed secretary to Ian Fleming, where he worked throughout the 1950s. She recalled that Fleming “always said he only wrote Casino Royale, the first Bond book, because he was on the plane to Jamaica and he read such a bad, boring thriller that he thought he could do better himself.” He would write the Bond novels during his annual stays at Goldeneye, his home in Jamaica, thereafter sending the manuscript to Una for typing up. The character in Dr. No named after Una is Mary Trueblood, secretary to John Strangways, the head of the British Secret Service’s Caribbean station, a position echoing that of Una to Fleming. Mary however met a gruesome end, stabbed to death. Recalling a visit to Una made in 2008 the writer Adam Thorpe noted that “The fictional Mary Trueblood has many features in common with her real-life namesake; she’s described in Dr No (1958) as “elegant” (three times), “pretty” and a “good-looker.” Near fine in a very good first issue dust jacket. Jacket design by Richard Chopping. An exceptional association copy.
"Described in the Times Literary Supplement as most brilliant, the book was a great commercial success and helped to launch Fleming as a best-selling novelist It ended with Bond seriously wounded and nearly killed by fugu poison from the sex organs of the Japanese globe-fish While the ending was not quite Sherlock Holmes and his apparently fatal last struggle with evil at the Reichenbach Falls, Fleming had provided himself with an opportunity to remove his hero. He was not, however, to take it. There was public agitation when 007 was reported dead. Bond was irreplaceable" (Black, 27, 30). "This is a very highly sought after title, as it is generally considered the best novel in the series and the best of the movies, as well" (Biondi & Pickard, 44). Made into the 1964 film of the same title with Sean Connery as Bond and Lotte Lenya as ex-KGB agent Rosa Klebb.