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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yep, it is a classic
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...
Published on 21 Jun. 2004 by Nick Brett

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Diamonds are Forever: Ian Fleming - A decent adventure, but lacking a little sparkle.
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...
Published on 19 Nov. 2012 by Victor


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yep, it is a classic, 21 Jun. 2004
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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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
3.0 out of 5 stars Diamonds are Forever: Ian Fleming - A decent adventure, but lacking a little sparkle., 19 Nov. 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Diamonds Are Forever - James Bond's Fourth Adventure - A Diamond Maybe Forever? - But This Is Lacking, 1 Feb. 2014
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A change of direction for in Bond in his fourth outing as he takes on American organised crime in the shape of the Spangled Mob who are smuggling diamonds from Southern Africa via London to the United States which is having an impact on the markets.

This story involves gambling in casinos and race meetings Bond travels across the United States. Along the way Bond meets his friend Felix Leither by fate on the Street. Leither is no longer with the CIA following the injuries he received (In Bond's second adventure - Live and Let Die). He is now working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Leither updates Bond on the Spangled Mob and that he is working on corruption in horse racing.

There are some thrills in the Nevada dessert and on the liner crossing the Atlantic. In general this story is slow paced and the two brothers that head up the Spangled Mob lack the charisma of Bond villains. Their two heavies Wint and Kidd are good.

Bond's love interest Tiffany Case has a good part in this and her background and current activities are well described in another well written book by Ian Fleming.

However, in general this lacks something all round.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diamonds Are Forever - An Enjoyable 007 Thriller, 27 July 2006
I think this may be the most underrated James Bond book by Ian Fleming. It literally is a thrilling read. While not his very best, it is a true gem, just with some rough edges.

Tiffany Case is one terrific leading lady by Fleming, one of his better ones, I think. A woman with a strong wall surrounding her for the most part, and one that you do not get to call all the shots with. She goes through quite a change in the story from being the frosty version we meet with Bond's alias of Peter Franks to the much happier one during their nighttime escape and Queen Elizabeth trip.

If there is one problem with this book, it is the obvious one, the villains. Yes, they are hardly some of Fleming's best. Jack and Serrafimo Spang, the beginning and end of the pipeline from England/Africa to the USA, while described as being some of the toughest of the bunch, and made out to be quite the villains, are never given enough actual time in the book to show off exactly what they are. Serrafimo gets a few minimal scenes with Bond, and Jack is....to save for spoilers...hardly in the book much at all. Wint and Kidd are fairly good though. They receive a general amount of time to be shown as a threat to Bond, as odd as they both may be.

The location switching is often claimed as a huge fault of this book, I even used to always harp on that myself, but I've come to see that it really doesn't bother me much at all. London and the USA are done fairly well for me, and I really, really love the moving around in this book. I like reading about the Tiara in the US, and the House of Diamonds, it just feels like a James Bond book.

Very excellent little aspect in this book...

A strong story overall, at times it gets murky, such as in the horse racing, and that sort, but I don't think anything in this story detracts too heavily from the overall plot.

Death is Forever. Diamonds are Forever. And this book is Forever. 4/5
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4.0 out of 5 stars Death is forever. But so are diamonds., 12 April 2015
By 
SirChutney "@sirchutney" (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
And so my project to read all of the original series of James Bond novels in 2015 continues! Diamonds Are Forever is the fourth book by Ian Fleming and was initially published back in 1956. In the book Bond smashes a diamond smuggling operation, the pipeline of which originates in the mines of Sierra Leone and ends in Las Vegas. Along the way Bond meets and falls in love with one of the members of the criminal gang, Tiffany Case.

It was interesting to compare the plot of the book to the 1971 movie of the same name. In the novel there’s no Blofield clone or Blofield in drag, no moonbuggy and no exploding oil rig. Tiffany Case is portrayed as intelligent, strong and a survivor and is probably Fleming’s most fully fleshed out female character so far but in the movie she is portrayed as shallow, dumb eye candy.

Bond’s character is expanded further in Diamonds Are Forever and builds on the details revealed in the previous three novels. Bond actually falls in love with Case, the first time he has done so since Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. We also get to see his sensitive side too. After learning about Tiffany’s back story from Felix Leiter, Bond is surprisingly rather sensitive. He becomes protective and treats her sympathetically and delicately. Typically, he knocks women about a fair bit and is generally a misogynistic swine. He also steps in to defend an innocent woman (a manicurist) who is being verbally and physically abused: good for him!

As expected there is a degree of unacceptable language used, but thankfully nowhere near the excruciating level that was present in Live and Let Die. Jews, Italians, blacks and homosexuals are all mentioned in a very derogatory manner. Also, the villains were somewhat feeble: Jack and Serrafimo Spang were described as being the hardest of the criminal gang but are never given enough time to prove this. Perhaps it would have helped to have Bond’s torture scene portrayed as unlike Casino Royale the incident is skipped. I thought that it was a shame as it was one of the best parts of Casino Royale and gave the reader an insight into how Bond thinks and acts when he was under pressure and in significant distress.

The book also describes a lot of travel in a fair amount of detail; multiple locations are visited, for example New York City, Saratoga Springs, Las Vegas, etc. and while I’m sure this was of interest to readers in the 1950s who never set foot outside of the UK it meant that there was no real geographical anchor to the story. But it is interesting to hear Fleming’s observations and musings on the USA and the American way of life from a mid-fifties perspective.

Fleming’s action set pieces are full of tension and excitement and are what really makes the book. The ones earlier on, for example the mud bath scene are better than the ones later on, the train chase through the desert for instance. Unfortunately, yet again we get drawn out gambling scenes explained in excruciating levels of detail. I have to confess that this tends to bore me and in Diamonds Are Forever we have the added “thrill” of not only card playing but horse racing too.

So in summary, probably the weakest of the Bond novels so far with too much exposition about the mechanics of diamond smuggling and I felt that Bond succeeded in his mission primarily by luck and violence alone. Yes, it has the usual ethnic and racial faults plus we get far too much detail on the minutia of gambling (yet again) but it’s the first novel where Bond is actually nice to women. Criticisms aside it was still exciting, plus it contained enough action to keep me entertained. Like the name of the novel itself: this book is a gem albeit perhaps not the most sparking one.

I’m enjoying reading the Bond books, especially as I know the movies so well. James Bond will return!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bond 4: a real slice of mid-fifties America in vivid detail, 21 Aug. 2014
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
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With 007's fourth adventure, Fleming returns Bond to the USA for most of the action, affording the reader a really vivid travelogue style book packed with observations about the States in the mid-fifties. The plot itself is no great shakes - Bond gets involved in trying to track down a diamond smuggling operation that stretches from Africa, through Europe and on to Las Vegas and the west coast of the States - and at times seems to go nowhere fast.

Fleming is particularly good at set piece action in this book, especially the chapter set in the mud room, which still bristles with tension and suspense no matter how many times you've re-read the book. But, as became typical as the series progressed, Fleming seems to tire of all the effort he's made in the early stages of the book, and the last third of Diamonds Are Forever falls away badly, with a train chase through the desert and a finale set on the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship heading back to England.

It's way, way better than Moonraker, but not quite as tight and taut as the one that follows - From Russia, With Love, which for many enthusiasts is perhaps the high point in the series. But you can see Fleming developing the formula here, the writing remains bright, direct and crisp in that journalistic style he was well-known for, and over fifty years on this is still an enjoyable enough read.

The Kindle version is well-formatted with no silly errors, and the recent update of some of these e-book versions with introductions from contemporary authors (available as free updates if you ask) makes the Kindle series attractive and competitively priced.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but missing that spark, 13 July 2011
By 
Jim J-R (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Diamonds are Forever (Paperback)
Diamonds are Forever is probably the weakest of the four James Bond novels I have recently re-read. Bond is roped in to track the pipeline that delivers stolen diamonds from African mines to American consumers - once again something fairly outside his given remit as a double-oh agent.

The plot is fast-paced and exciting, but the characters don't seem to have the richness or texture of those in the previous novels (with the exception of Tiffany Case of course, who could be said to be the real focus of this book). The enemies are fairly loosely defined around single characteristics and there are so many that come and go that it's hard to get a good fix on them.

Perhaps I just find it difficult to relate to this novel as, like Live and Let Die, it is set in the US, and my experiences make me more receptive to the European stories, but apart from the racetrack sequence this novel seems to be missing the level of detail and picture-forming description that made Casino Royale such an enjoyable read.

I can't condemn this as a bad book though. Despite my misgivings it is well written, has a beautifully, if simply, structured plot and features a lot of the classic Bond elements. The only thing missing is that little spark that should set Fleming's masterpieces above the rest of the thriller genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.......forever!!!, 18 Jun. 2010
By 
Woofit "Barksandbytes." (Northamptonshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Fleming was well into his stride by this 4th installment and this is a slick, entertaining novel that keeps you interested from the first page to the last. It stands up well against it's predecessors and is hugely enjoyable. The characters are excellently drawn and, in some cases all the more loathsome for it, and they never lack motivation or display out of character behavior. I, unlike Fleming, find myself struggling for (review) originality at this fourth attempt. Great book, great read and I'll leave it at that.
Top marks Mr.Fleming.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good but lacks a really hateable villain, 7 April 2000
By A Customer
Diamonds are forever is a worthy follow up to Moonraker. The two main criticisms I have are that there is no-one really to despise other than a diamond smuggeling company and secondly the scenery rarely changed from the American desert. However I did find that with this book is I actually felt for girl Tiffany Case. It has speed, sex appeal, everything apart from a really nasty bad guy that makes a excellent Bond novel. I look forward to reading its follow up "From Russia with love".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ian Fleming packs a punch!, 16 Jun. 2002
Though the book does lack a clear villan it is an excellent Bond book. Ian Fleming writes wonderfully and tells vivid details. He describes a scene in the Saratoga mud baths fantasticly. From the African desert to the Saratoga race track to a billionaire's ghost town this book packs a punch.
"Death is forever. But so are diamonds"
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