- 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: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 797,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Diamonds are Forever (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 3 Jun 2004
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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
"The remarkable thing about this book is that it is written by an Englishman. The scene is almost entirely American and it rings true to an American. I am unaware of any other writer who has accomplished this" (Raymond Chandler)
"James Bond is one of the most cunningly synthesized heroes in crime fiction" (Observer)
"A brilliant story that maintains the promise of an extremely clever introduction" (Manchester Evening News)
"Once again Ian Fleming has brought it off" (Birmingham Post)
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Top Customer Reviews
The book also showcases Flemings skill as a travel writer with a depiction of mafia dominated 1950's Vegas that conjures up the sound and smells of that bizarre town with all its gaudiness and the desperation of punters chasing the "easy" money. Through the middle strides Bond tough, but by no means immortal, constantly suprised by the ingenuity and cruelty of the mafia men he goes toe to toe with and even periodically afflicted by self doubt and agonising between love and the life of the secret agent.
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...
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.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bond is back, baby! As you might have been able to guess from the title of this novel, which shares its name with one of the films in the franchise, this book is another one of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by SocialBookshelves.com
Always feel after reading the book then afterwards watching the film that even though I enjoy the films maybe they should have not deviated so much from Ian Fleming original book... Read morePublished 2 months ago by gary toombs
"Diamonds are Forever" - the fourth of the James Bond novels. This edition features an intro by Giles Foden who writes "clearly, by the time of this novel, Fleming had... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tim Roast
Always good to read the original story rather than the movie take. It has been said that Bond in the books can be misogynistic but the relationship development with Tiffany would... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Damian Lewis does a fine job in converting my least favourite Bond book into a story I really enjoyed listening to. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Greystone