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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jolly exciting - hold on to your hat!
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...
Published on 18 Oct. 2012 by Ms. R. L. A. Amelan

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing reading
Diamonds Are Forever is more of a crime novel than a spy story, with Fleming pitting 007 against a gang of American diamond smugglers and gangsters that our hero frequently underestimates with his casual xenophobia ("They're not Americans. Mostly a lot of Italian bums with monogrammed shirts who spend the day eating spaghetti and meatballs and squirting scent over...
Published on 15 Oct. 2012 by Trevor Willsmer


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jolly exciting - hold on to your hat!, 18 Oct. 2012
By 
Ms. R. L. A. Amelan "Rachel" (Wilmslow, Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Sparkles, 25 Oct. 2012
By 
Bee of Good Cheer (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Damian is forever, 10 Aug. 2013
By 
R. C. McGinlay (Ilford, Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
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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.

In the author's favour, Tiffany Case is a strong heroine (described by Raymond Benson as "Fleming's first fully developed female character") and Bond shows genuine compassion for her. Those additional Queen Elizabeth chapters certainly help in the development of this romance, which reads almost like an apology for the rape fantasy of "Casino Royale". Tiffany has been hardened like a diamond, having been gang-raped as a teenager. She has developed an antipathy towards all men, and initially keeps her distance from Bond.

In the audio book's favour, it is performed by Damian Lewis, who, as we know from "Band Of Brothers" and "Homeland", is good at accents, in particular American ones. This proves extremely handy, as there is a diverse array of American characters in this story, including Bond's faithful friend Felix Leiter, Tiffany Case and various eccentric mobsters. If I were just reviewing the novel, I would give it a 3, but I'm adding an extra mark for Lewis's reading, which really makes this work sparkle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diamonds are Forever: Ian Fleming, unabridged reading by Damian Lewis - A decent adventure, but lacking a little sparkle., 19 Nov. 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
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This review is specific to the unabridged audio reading of Diamonds are Forever by Damian Lewis. It may contain some plot spoilers.

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.

This unabridged reading from Damian Lewis is excellent. Produced by Lucy Fleming, Ian's niece, it has clearly been made with much reverence for the book and the character of Bond. Lewis at times sounds a little like David Attenborough (especially in the opening sequence with the scorpion), and has a clear style and a sense of drama that really plays up the strengths of the book, and glosses a little over the weaknesses. It's an enthralling listen. It's about 6 hours long on 6 CDs, collected into a spindle case. I have a few of these audio reading in this range, and they look quite handsome all lined up on the shelf. My only gripe with the series is that the two collections of short stories, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy, have not been included in the series. There is a short interview with Lewis at the end of the sixth disc regarding his thoughts on the book and its themes. All in all a 5 star production of a 3 star book, so I think 4 stars is a fair total.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lewis Sparkles In Fleming's Forth., 12 Nov. 2012
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
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A deadly combination.

Damian Lewis the hot new Brit acting in an American, Top, Barak Obama approved sitcom.
see the Emmy Awards

A Bond Novel and a really well know one at that-
See the Testosterone

Shirly Bassy all a quiver hitting the right notes. See the Viagra

Ok I lied about the last but you get my drift this is a powereful combo and a winner!

Is it any good?
A resounding YES!

Let me explain dear reader why?

Originally published in 1956 this was Fleming's forth Bond Novel. The world of today was whole different country to that of today.
We played on the sites of bombed houses and shops.
My big playground was a bombed and cleared school- large area and flat.
The world was grey and tired World War 2 had just ended and the baby boom was in full flow money was tight the new, war free, world of abroad was something for the Cigarette adverts we saw at the cinema or on the 9 inch square Redifussion Black and white set- the world was monochrome and people read.

Now these Bond novels were a brilliant form of escapism for any red blooded male that liked his men strong, their women weak and on hand. The descriptions of Bonds world of air travel and foreign lands were a million miles away and Fleming knew this and wrote great books.. for their times.
The reader of today is a whole lot more savvy to to the Costas and Uncle Sam's US of A. so are the books still enjoyable?

I would say a resounding YES.

This is a good novel and very well read by Damian Lewis.
Make no mistakes Lewis can do voices and there are 100s in this book.
He has great pace, good humour and reads the books really well.
There I've repeated my adjective.
We all know that Lewis is good from his Band of Brothers and Homeland prerformances but he is equally great as the narrator for this entertaining book.
This is my 4th in the series and I really am enjoying the whole experience.
The added twist is that each book is read by a different actor at the top of the tree from recent `actorial performances and appearances' and the listener is totally spoiled/

I don't need to go into the plot nor spoil it other reviewers have and will no doubt do that a whole lot better and there are only so many descritions of the plot that you want to read anyway?

Recommended.
The Gold Standard!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cast of 100s from the master of vocal disguise, 1 Nov. 2012
By 
Mark Meynell "quaesitor" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
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This series of new audio recordings is a rightful reminder of how skilled a writer Fleming was (especially in the earlier Bond novels). This being only his fourth (published in 1956), it still has all the escapist brilliance of his best, without degenerating into the pastiche and almost satire of his latest books. We still get the fascination with details (of meals, equipment, places), and it is not hard to see how they wowed readers for whom foreign travel was never an option, and opulence the stuff of dreams (rationing of meat only finally ended in the UK in 1954). The almost obsessive description of Bond's flight into New York is unforgettable. But the details never get in the way of the story. And Bond has a human side to him as he is drawn to Tiffany Case in what seems to be more than a matter of his infamous philandering. There is much more to this book than the film (which was only loosely based on it) suggests.

Damian Lewis brings a convincing voice to the book and it keeps us gripped. In fact, his ability to convey a cast of 100s with his enviable portfolio of nicely tuned accents is remarkable (including tough Afrikaner, European businessmen, London coppers, various New Yoik mobsters, men and women etc). After all, in Band Of Brothers [DVD] and Homeland [DVD] he managed to con millions of Americans into thinking that he was really one of them! The only slight disappointment (ironically) is that Bond's own voice gets a little lost (or at least muffled) because he seems to play it quite straight (and is often fairly indistinguishable from his narrator's voice). Still - that is a very small quibble and certainly doesn't diminish the enjoyment.

A great audiobook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing reading, 15 Oct. 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
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Diamonds Are Forever is more of a crime novel than a spy story, with Fleming pitting 007 against a gang of American diamond smugglers and gangsters that our hero frequently underestimates with his casual xenophobia ("They're not Americans. Mostly a lot of Italian bums with monogrammed shirts who spend the day eating spaghetti and meatballs and squirting scent over themselves."). As such, it's closer to the American pulp fiction that Fleming was partial to than the classic Bond story, even turning his former CIA comrade-in-arms into a private eye after the agency has dispensed with his services after his encounter with a shark in Live and Let Die. It's also surprisingly thin on plot, clearly one of the reasons the film took off in such a wildly different direction after a few shared early scenes (though with its Western ghost town and train chase setpiece the book isn't that much more grounded than the film). Instead we get a lot of meetings, a lot of sizing people up and a lot of background information from the Kefauver Report on the mob dropped in heavy-handedly, with the occasional moments of sadism that are a Fleming hallmark, such as the opening chapter where the practical cruelty of nature is abruptly stamped on by the casual cruelty of man. The result is one the lesser Bond novels, and it's sadly not helped by Damian Lewis' reading, which doesn't quite work as well as it should. He's not bad at giving voice to the various characters, though some of those voices (Shadey Tree, I do mean you) are surely more irritating than the author intended, but his narrator's voice feels too comforting for this kind of material, which is more a case of slight miscasting than a failure on his part: it's just a little bit too safe for a Bond novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damian Lewis, a great choice..., 26 Sept. 2012
By 
C. FULLER (Brixham, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must admit I was thrilled to see some of these new readings available on Amazon Vine. I suspect that if you could you would buy all 7. It is also interesting to have 7 different voices reading the individual novels. I think there must be a big difference in delivery as the actors are so different in their background and even ages and one is a woman. I had happy memories of the film version of Diamonds are Forever and that is why I decided on it. I do know who Damian Lewis is and I saw him in the recent version of The Forsyte Saga on television. The readings are very clear and with direction by Enyd Williams famous for the Poirot plays and serials also available on AudioGo I expected things to go well. I found this at 6 discs probably the most I could concentrate on as in the past I have struggled with 9 discs. The concept certainly works and Damian Lewis has an easy going style making listening of a disc at a time just right. The fact that this is an unabridged version does give you the full characterisation and that has to be good. Clearly the visual excitement is not there but then these books were a hit before they were filmed. My only concern is that once more we have no contents page which could surely be provided for each disc and give chapters and a description. Nicely packaged and will make a neat collection and will be ideal for gifts too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Old Favourite Rediscovered, 25 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
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They say the past is a different country and if proof be needed listen to the chapter describing a flight to America from London. Sleeping booths might be back, but smoking? Landing in Ireland for a steak dinner on the way? These original Bond's are very of their time and place and that means charm and shock (there are several jarring non-PC moments),

Damian Lewis is a great reader, as you might expect, and brings the book to life without getting in the way of the characters or story. I'm not sure the David Tennant reading of On Her Majesty's Secret Service will be as successful as I think I'll struggle not keep seeing Dr Who in my mind's eye, but that's for another review.

As a 50 something Diamonds Are Forever is one of my childhood favourites so it was interesting to hear what the original book was like. I had never read any of the Bond books so my whole impression has been created by the movies, like most folk I imagine. In truth I kept mentally comparing the movie with the book, noting the (surprisingly infrequent) overlaps and pondering the differences. For me it is a thoroughly enjoyable period piece that didn't transcend the image of the movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Bond but wonderfully read, 5 Oct. 2012
By 
Peter Warne (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Audio CD)
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It has to be said the Diamonds are Forever is not the best of the Bond books. The plot lacks tension for much of the story and is, overall, a bit thin. Diamond smuggling from Africa, through Europe and to the US where the cargo is off-loaded to an organised crime syndicate out of Las Vegas. The story however, takes a long time to get going (the first 3 discs really) and I was close to packing it up as a bad choice. But it gets better in the latter half when Bond is pitted against impossible odds and comes out the winner with yet another stunning girl. The enjoyment of the product is helped enormously by the reading of Damian Lewis; he doesn't read it so much as act it and he alone could sell this audiobook (but I bet he wished he'd been given a different yarn like Dr No or Goldfinger).

In short, tedious start, better second half and superb acting by Lewis. Recommend choosing another story.
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Diamonds are Forever
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