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Diamonds are Forever (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 3 Jun 2004

85 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (3 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141187530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141187532
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 494,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Fleming was born in 1908 and educated at Eton. After a brief period at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he went abroad to further his education. In 1931, having failed to get an appointment in the Foreign Office, he joined Reuters News Agency. During the Second World War, he was personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty, rising to the rank of Commander. His wartime experiences provided him with a first-hand knowledge of secret operations.

After the war he became Foreign Manager of Kemsley Newspapers. He built his house, Goldeneye, in Jamaica and there at the age of forty-four he wrote Casino Royale, the first of his novels featuring Commander James Bond. By the time of his death in 1964, the James Bond adventures had sold more than forty million copies. Dr No, starring Sean Connery, was released in 1962 and the Bond films continue to be huge international successes. He is also the author of the magical children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The novels of Ian Fleming were immediately recognised as classic thrillers by his contemporaries Kingsley Amis, Raymond Chandler and John Betjeman. With the invention of James Bond, Ian Fleming created the greatest British fictional icon of the late twentieth century.

(The picture is reproduced with the permission of the copyright owners, Ian Fleming Publications Limited and the Ian Fleming Will Trust)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Diamonds Are Forever, Ian Fleming's fourth Bond novel, has all the hallmarks of a classic 007 adventure and whilst it lacks some of the strength and depth of other books in the series it nevertheless has much to recommend it. The plot concerns a ruthless syndicate known as the Spangled Mob who are running a diamond smuggling pipeline out of Africa into the USA. This is costing England millions of pounds and James Bond is sent to investigate. A promising set up, but it soon becomes apparent that the syndicate's only aim is to get rich and as Bond novels go it is slightly disappointing that this is the sum total of the villains' project.

On a more positive note, Tiffany Case is an excellent Bond girl who plays an integral part in the book. The relationship that develops between her and Bond is highly convincing and well-observed and the book is rich in dialogue between the two. On the topic of marriage:

Bond: "Most marriages don't add two people together. They subtract one from the other."

Tiffany: "But it depends what you want it to add up to. Something human or something inhuman. You can't be complete by yourself."

As suggested by the syndicate's comparatively (in Bond terms) modest ambitions, Diamonds Are Forever lacks a really good principle villain, but it does have well-portrayed minor contenders in the form of the duo Wint and Kidd, two violent and ruthless killers. There are some tense moments in the novel and although there is no real action until well over half way through it, once it starts, it is almost non-stop until the end.

One of the outstanding features of this adventure remains the way Fleming wrote the character of Tiffany. Her relationship with Bond adds humanity and life to Diamonds Are Forever. --Jamie Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Probably the most forceful and driving writer of thrillers in England (Raymond Chandler ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
I first read this when I was in my teans and now I am in my mid-forties I thought it was time for a revisit. I'm a Bond fan, love the films and have read all the various books from Fleming through to Benson and I have to admit I was surprised how much I had forgotten about this book, my memories having been tarnished by the film and the more modern versions of Bond.
Initially I was astonished how old this book was (1956!) and this is more of a detective story with a Bond that is over confident and too casual at times who is at odds with the emerging American mob.
In many ways it does show its age, and this adds to the charm.
Well worth reading to remind oneself where and how it all started...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ms. R. L. A. Amelan VINE VOICE on 18 Oct. 2012
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Well, I never thought that Bond in print could be quite this exciting. Brought up, as I was, on the film versions, I had always associated him with fast and impossible car chases, rather unbelievable villains with splendid cats and bad puns.

With a backdrop of this, Fleming's original text came as quite a surprise. Here was a thoughtful James Bond who felt chivalrous towards women and had a conscience and, what was more, the characters were as well fleshed as they would have been had they appeared in the cinema, even somewhat better.

Diamonds are Forever concerns the activities of a diamond smuggling ring and starts with a "pick up" from a desert which I found most atmospheric. We then move to London where Bond is given the job of infiltrating the criminal circles and discovering who is behind it all and ends up shipping the stones across "The Pond" as a carrier. As his elbow, is the lovely and psychologically damaged Tiffany Case.

Once in the States, the plot moves fast and we go from rigged races to killings and torture scenes. Eventually, of course, Bond wins through, uncovers the villains and all is well. Naturally, he gets the girl. Putting in an appearance in this book are those nasty killers, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd and they are every bit as wicked as in the films. Of course, being proper baddies, they end up dead.

The story is well portrayed by Damian Lewis and I can heartily recommend this audio book for that long car journey. You can even boo the bad boys as you go.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 19 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
Published in 1956, this is the fourth outing in print for Ian Fleming's spy James Bond. Here Bond is sent out to follow a diamond smuggling pipeline and to close it down. Inserted into the pipeline undercover, he has to deal with ruthless American Gangsters the Spangled mob, working his way through various scrapes with fixed horse races, hot mud baths and runaway steam locomotives before finally getting to the brains of the operation.

It is written with all of Fleming's verve and eye for detail. The opening paragraphs are adsorbing, and the big set pieces, especially the locomotive chase, are thrilling and breathtaking. These are the real strengths of the book. However, it does have a weakness in that the plot really isn't up to much, and the villains are less than impressive. Fleming tries to talk them up, but there is never really any feeling of threat or danger. And the plot does have a few holes in it. In all, these weaknesses are overcome by the strength of Fleming's writing. Even with unimpressive villains and a weak plot it is still an exciting read. Fleming had a real flair for adding in little descriptive touches that really build a vivid image in the mind's eye and transport the reader to the scene, I always find it adsorbing. On balance, 3 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bee of Good Cheer VINE VOICE on 25 Oct. 2012
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have to admit, living as I do in a TV-less world, I had wondered what all the fuss about actor Damian Lewis was about. This audio book goes some way to explaining why he is so highly rated. His reading is pitch perfect and his ability to render the different accents of the characters is remarkable. He even makes a pretty convincing woman when he voices Tiffany Case.

The story isn't perhaps one of the most thrilling in terms of big dramatic set pieces, but this suits the audio-only medium well, and allows the listener to focus on Fleming's prose, which is as no means as bad and formulaic as some people make out. The opening description of the scorpion is very well drawn and evocative, for example - but I could see that it might be irritating for people wanting to dive straight into the action. One word of caution about the language - it very much reflects usage of the time, and there is quite casual use of words that some people may find offensive.

And engaging and absorbing listen.

(One small flaw re: the cover - and it isn't Damian Lewis's ill advised moustache. The cover doesn't list running times or chapter headings, so it can be quite difficult to find one's place.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. C. McGinlay VINE VOICE on 10 Aug. 2013
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The plot of "Diamonds Are Forever" is not the best one Ian Fleming ever wrote, which probably explains why the producers of the Bond movies waited for so long before turning it into a film - and even then discarded much of the story. There are some character names in common between the two versions, such as Tiffany Case, Shady Tree, Mr Wint and Mr Kidd, but don't expect to encounter Blofeld or his laser satellite here. Instead we have dual villains, the American gangster brothers Jack and Seraffimo Spang.

Examining the book when one is more familiar with the film (or vice versa), there are several scenes and settings that the two fleetingly and surprisingly share, such as the scorpion at the very start of the novel, the diamond-smuggling dentist in Africa, a deadly mud bath, the casinos of Las Vegas, Tiffany's underwear-clad introduction, and the trip she and Bond take aboard the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth. However, Fleming explores many very different locations, including Saratoga Race Course, an old Western ghost town named Spectreville (nothing to do with Blofeld's SPECTRE, by the way), and Sierra Leone.

Ironically, all this globetrotting, which actually has a lot in common with the style of the movie series that would follow, is the book's undoing. It feels more like a series of episodic events than a well-defined plot. As a result, it does go on a bit. The train track sequence seems as though it could be the climax of the narrative, but it isn't. So does the subsequent ocean liner bit (which was in fact appended by the author, after he had finished the rest of the manuscript), but that's not the end either.
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