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Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming
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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Possible they get worse after this, of course, but thus far this is definitely my least favorite James Bond novel. It's just unpleasant on a number of levels. First is that the whole thing is grotty: Bond is sent to America to find the end of a diamond-smuggling pipeline, but he seems to be sneering about everything in the whole country. I mean, Bond is often kind of a classist jerk, but he usually does things that classist jerks like doing and enjoys them; here, he's always grumbling about how much he doesn't like America, doesn't like horse-racing, doesn't like Vegas. It's not very fun to read about.

Second, the bad guys never convince as being in his league given what he's faced down in the last three books. Diamond smugglers? Hardly a threat to king and country. Fleming lays it on a bit thick with a briefing scene early on where M tells Bond how dangerous these American gangs on, which is 1) really over done and 2) kind of weird, given that Bond fought some American gangs two books ago. What Bond goes on to do doesn't seem very 00-agent worthy (the horseracing diversion is particularly pointless), and the pipeline unravels extraordinarily easily. When shortly before his confrontation with the villain, Bond observes that he's "thoroughly bored" and you have to wonder why Fleming wrote that in, since this reader just wanted to agree with him.

Lastly, Bond sinks to new lows in terms of racism and homophobia. I assume Fleming must have taken some flack for Live and Let Die because this book has a scene where Bond 1) explains how much he loves black people, honestly some of his best friends are black people and 2) complains that you can't say the n-word like you used to, because some people just get so offended.* Seriously, Fleming has the audacity to follow a scene where Bond cringes at the very thought of being massaged by a black man with the line, "Bond had a natural affection for coloured people." Like, just own the racism if you're gonna do it! Later on we get a pair of killers, Kidd and Wint, about which Bond's American counterpart (formerly, anyway, as following Live and Let Die, he's gone freelance) Felix Leiter says, "[Kidd] [p]robably shacks up with Wint. Some of these homos make the worst killers." Whoa.

All that said, Fleming can still do good work when it comes to the creation of tension and suspense. The idea that one of the gang leaders is so into Westerns he built his own ghost town, where Bond ends up confronting him, feels like something the movies would do, but it pays off in terms of a harrowing desert escape for Bond and his current love interest, Tiffany Case. I did like the idea of an assassin so terrified of travel he lists his blood group on his luggage (I've no idea what Fleming is on about with a "blood group F," though.)

Bond's interactions with Case make her one of the better "Bond girls" thus far: you can feel the two of them seducing the other as the novel goes, and we once again see (as in Casino Royale) that Bond yearns for a traditional English domesticity he can never have as long as he fights to protect it for others. A funny artifact of reading this 1956 novel exactly sixty years later is that "Tiffany" is supposed to be a weird name (she's named after the jewelers). In the decade I was born, "Tiffany" was in the Top 20 Girl Names in America, so I've always known women named Tiffany. But back in 1956, it wasn't even in the Top 1,000! Apparently it's a pretty recent invention as a first name (inspired by the film Breakfast at Tiffany's), but I had no idea.

* This is told in the form of a flashback to Live and Let Die, actually, but it is original to this novel.
  Stevil2001 | Sep 29, 2017 |
Fleming's novel about diamond smuggling is classic Bond. Beautiful girl, smooth agent, eccentric villains... Fleming's works are notable for the detail he includes, making you feel like you're really there, or at least showing how observant Bond's character is.

The audiobook version is excellent; the reader (David Rintoul) is perfect, having a rolling English accent that just sounds 'Bond-ish'. The voices for other characters are excellent as well, with even relatively decent (though not perfect) accents for the American characters. ( )
  yrthegood1staken | Feb 28, 2017 |
Bond is assigned to follow a diamond smuggling ring from London to the
USA to find out who is organizing it. Part way along, he decides to speed things up by disobeying his Mafia handlers which almost gets him killed a number of times. After the deaths of six gangsters, he stops the diamond trafficking from Africa to New York and Las Vegas plus rescues a very beautiful woman from a life of crime.

It has been years since I last read a Bond novel but still found it a fast and fun read. ( )
  lamour | Jan 17, 2017 |
"Slowly the sting slid home into its sheath and the nerves on the poison sac at its base relaxed. The scorpion had decided. Greed had won over fear."

I won't copy all of the opening scene of Diamonds Are Forever, but this is one of the reasons why I keep reading this series - Fleming's ability to write nature scenes is phenomenal. They even make up for his writing about what passes for romance in these Bond novels. But I'll get to that later.

In Diamonds Are Forever, James Bond is tasked to investigate diamond trafficking that funds the American mafia. There are plenty of typical Bond capers which include passing himself off as someone else, getting entangled with a woman while undercover (haha) and converting her to the right side (i.e. Bond's side), blowing things up, gambling, and trying to foil the bad guys while Bond is being rescued himself by his friends.

As you know, I'm not a huge fan of James Bond himself, but in this novel he actually acknowledges how much he owes to his friend Felix Leiter. In fact, we get to know quite a bit about Felix - he has a sense of humor and he is happy to challenge Bond's snobbery. He's straight-talking, homophobic, but can be tactful, and he doesn't burn bridges. Leiter drinks just as much as Bond, which is probably another reason why they are friends.

Anyway, the cast of supporting characters in this book is what I enjoyed most. We have Leiter, and we have Tiffany Case, who is not a push over like her film counterpart but a pretty strong and independent woman with a tough past that leads her to reject other people, especially men.

Throughout the book I actually wondered how scenes might be written differently if they were told from her perspective - I would also have hoped that this might give me a clue about what on earth attracts her to this "Bond person" that she knows is lying to her on their first meeting. But alas, the book follows the adventure of James Bond....and so we get his perspective, which is - surprisingly - less sexist and less patronising than in the previous books.
Yeah. I know. That is not saying much. We still get Bond pondering in the following way:

"But was he prepared for the consequences? Once he had taken her by the hand it would be forever. He would be in the role of the healer, the analyst, to whom the patient had transferred her love and trust on her way out of the illness. There would be no cruelty equal to dropping her hand once he had taken it in his. Was he ready for all that that meant in his life and his career?"

Yeah. I know. Like she needs him to heal her and save her and .....ugh. But, as I said, it looks like he's come a long way since Live and Let Die where he described Solitaire as his "prize".

The characters I enjoyed most were, as in the other books, Bond's evil counterparts, except that in Diamonds Are Forever, the best baddies are not the criminal masterminds but their two henchmen: Wint and Kidd. They are such an unlikely duo, and yet, so evil. There is a scene in a spa that will stick in my memory for quite some time....

( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
Dia­monds are For­ever by Ian Flem­ing is the fourth novel fea­tur­ing British Secret Ser­vice agent James Bond, 007. The book was first pub­lished in 1956.

James Bond is assigned an under­cover inves­ti­ga­tion of a dia­mond smug­gling oper­a­tion from Sierra Leone to the United States. The oper­a­tion is headed by the Spang broth­ers, two mobsters.

Aided by Tiffany Case, Bond’s con­tact to the smug­gling ring, and Felix Leiter, Bond’s CIA con­tact, the agent dis­cover the many cor­rupt activ­i­ties of the mobsters

Dia­monds are For­ever by Ian Flem­ing was not as mem­o­rable as the nov­els before it. I enjoyed the sto­ry­line and that the char­ac­ter of James Bond grows, but the rest seemed to be a bit slow and less interesting.

Mr. Flem­ing could not write Las Vegas, the city seems to be lack­lus­ter in his writ­ing and the Vegas mob is no match for Bond. M, Bond’s boss, seems to think that the mob­sters are worse than the Rus­sians, I half expected him to either be jok­ing (unlikely) or get fired for being unable to read the enemy (he didn’t).

The one thing that does go for this book is that Mr. Flem­ing actu­ally devel­ops the female lead, really, the effort shows. Tiffany Case is a well-rounded char­ac­ter, with a per­son­al­ity and a won­der­ful sense of humor. One can see why Bond is smit­ten by her and enjoys her company.

The first half of the book is not very excit­ing, and sec­ond half of the book gets much bet­ter, but not enough the save the whole. A mediocre book which was, appro­pri­ately, made into a very mediocre movie, the two have very lit­tle in com­mon, but it is a sweet coincidence.

For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com ( )
  ZoharLaor | Mar 18, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fleming, IanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kellerman, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, DamianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To J.F.C.B. and E.L.C. and to the memory of W.W., Jr. at Saratoga, 1954 and '55
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With its two fighting claws held forward like a wrestler's arms the big pandinus scorpion emerged with a dry rustle from the finger-sized hole under the rock.
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Book description
James Bond surveyed the glittering diamonds that lay scattered across the leather surface of M's desk and wondered what it was all about.

The quiet grey eyes were watching him thoughtfully.

Then M took the pipe out of his mouth and drily gave Bond details of the assignment of which even M was afraid. And Bond walked out of the Headquarters of the Secret Service into his greatest adventure.

supersonic John Buchan - Listener

the best thriller of the season - Birmingham Post
Haiku summary
Double Oh Seven
fights American gangsters
who smuggle diamonds.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142002054, Paperback)

"Listen, Bond," said Tiffany Case. "It’d take more than Crabmeat Ravigotte to get me into bed with a man. In any event, since it’s your check, I’m going to have caviar, and what the English call “cutlets”, and some pink champagne. I don’t often date a good-looking Englishman and the dinner’s going to live up to the occasion."

Meet Tiffany Case, a cold, gorgeous, devil-may-care blonde; the kind of girl you could get into a lot of trouble with—if you wanted. She stands between James Bond and the leaders of a diamond-smuggling ring that stretches from Africa via London to the States. Bond uses her to infiltrate this gang, but once in America the hunter becomes the hunted. Bond is in real danger until help comes from an unlikely quarter, the ice-maiden herself …

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:18 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

British secret agent James Bond assumes the identity of a captured courier and solicits the help of gorgeous Tiffany Case, the diamond smugglers' American go-between.

» see all 14 descriptions

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