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Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming
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2,352484,135 (3.42)85
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.
  1. 20
    Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier (Sylak)
    Sylak: Another story involving a complex central character worth a good read.

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Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Bond is shimmied into a diamond smuggling ring, taking the place of the man who carries the diamonds from London to New York City, where he meets the bosses. Believing Bond to be a new recruit, he's sent to Saratoga Springs to collect his fee at the horseraces, where he gets involved in race fixing. From there, he's sent to Las Vegas to cheat at cards, all the while being watched by his new employers. ( )
  mstrust | Mar 13, 2019 |
I'm reading these books in order and they are getting progressively more disturbing. Ian Fleming is a powerful author. The movies, while entertaining, don't always do the stories justice. ( )
  bcrowl399 | Feb 20, 2019 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian Flemingprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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