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Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond Novels) Paperback – December 31, 2002

4 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews
Book 4 of 45 in the James Bond 007 Series

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"The Short Drop" by Matthew FitzSimmons
Meet the assassin The Washington Post calls "a doozy of a sociopath" in this debut thriller from Matthew FitzSimmons. Available on Kindle and in paperback.

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mr. Fleming is in a class by himself...immense detail, elaborate settings and continually mounting tension, flavored with sex, brutality and sudden death." —Daily Mail

About the Author

Ian Fleming (1908-1964), creator of the world's best-known secret agent, is the author of fourteen James Bond books. Born in London in 1908 and educated at Eton and Sandhurst, he became the Reuters Moscow correspondent in 1929. In the spring of 1939, Fleming went back to Moscow as a special correspondent for the London Times. In June of that same year, he joined Naval Intelligence and served throughout World War II, finally earning the rank of Commander, RNVSR (Sp.). Much of the James Bond material was drawn directly from Fleming's experiences as an intelligence officer. Later, Fleming became a consultant on foreign affairs for the London Sunday Times, by which time he had become far better known as the creator of James Bond.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142002054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142002056
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #521,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER marks the point in the James Bond series where Ian Fleming begins to tinker with the absurd. Later in the series, Dr. No is killed by falling guano, and Blofeld holds up on a Japanese "suicide island." In DAF, Bond takes a mud bath and fights a gangster who dresses up like a cowboy. Fleming writes that the gangster "should have looked ridiculous, but he didn't" in his western regalia. Funny, his description reads like he looks ridiculous.
All of Fleming's Bond books are worth reading, and DAF is no exception. But this isn't his strongest work. The theme switches from gangsters to western to Agatha Christy-esque cruise-ship drama. It doesn't really all hold together. Fleming also keeps introducing new villains. He is most effective with Wint and Kidd, who have an ominous presence throughout the book. Fleming perfects the ominous presence with Donovan Grant in his next book, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, but Wint and Kidd are adequately eerie and threatening.
Less effective are the Spang brothers. The Spangs seem to be the embodiment of Fleming's inability to make up his mind about who his villain was going to be. What little personality these characters have (along with appearance and even one of their names) changes almost every time they are mentioned. They don't catch on as other Bond villains do, which is perhaps why they didn't translate even in name into any Bond movie.
Another flaw of the book, and to some degree the series, is that Bond seems to be going along for the ride in DAF. He forgets or doesn't notice the most obvious clues (and is surprised by Wint and Kidd), lets his guard down at the mud baths, and generally doesn't prove why he's so special. He and the girl, Tiffany Case, come close to falling in love...but why?
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Format: Paperback
This fourth book in Fleming's series doesn't quite hold up to the three previous Bond novels. The problem is that Fleming tries to create a far more complicated plot while at the same time fitting it into the 220-page formula of the previous Bond adventures. The end result feels like a pat adventure in which everything is bundled up in far too quick a fashion. The resolution of Bond's relationship with the ever-present female foil is oddly dropped in the final chapter. Are we to believe the two of them rode off happily into the sunset? Settled down and had children? Does she appear in the series' fifth novel? Who knows... like so many other elements in this particular entry, these questions and more are left unanswered. It's a shame. After the tight plotting and good character development of Moonraker, Fleming uncharacteristically dropped the ball on this particular one. Perhaps the publishers were pushing him too hard to meet a deadline. Diamonds could have been a classic, given the plot Fleming was playing with. Unfortunately, he falls a carat or two short.
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Format: Paperback
One almost gets the impression that both Ian Fleming and Bond were coasting on their reputations in this book. The plot is about comparatively low stakes for a spy novel, the pace is leisurely, Bond is oddly passive (Felix Leiter and Tiffany Case save the day as often as Bond does) and not particularly clever (at one point he almost blows his mission because he apparently got bored waiting for something to happen to move it along), and the villains and action sequences are just not that memorable, at least not in a good way. Strangely enough, that means that the book suffers in comparison both to the movie (which, while hardly five-star, had some quirky, memorable moments) and John Gardner's later Bond novels, which dig deeper into both the characters and the settings of the world of 007. While not actively bad, DAF does little to show you why Bond became a literary or cultural phenomenon. Donald J. Bingle, Author of Forced Conversion.
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Format: Hardcover
A regrettable sense of ennui permeates Diamonds are Forever, Ian Fleming's fourth novel featuring British secret agent James Bond. It is obvious that Fleming was starting to grow bored with his most famous creation and, as a result, Diamonds are Forever lacks the thrill-ride atmosphere that distinguishes the best of Fleming's books. For the first time, Bond deals with villians outside of the realm of the Soviet Union and the Spangled Mob, a rather anonymous group of American gangsters, never come across as worthy adversaries. While Bond, himself, is drawn with the usual finnesse (and displays a grimly cynical outlook that stands in stark contrast to his previous appearances), the rest of the characters -- with one important exception -- are rather forgettable and Bond's mission (to stop a jewelry smuggling ring) is rather pedestrian. However, this book does feature one truly exceptional feature and that is the character of Tiffany Case. A ruthless, yet at time touchingly vulnerable, smuggler, Case is one of Fleming's strongest female characters and her romance with Bond is the book's highlight. As opposed to the other women who populate many of Fleming's books, Case comes across as a truly capable heroine in her own right and it is easy to see why Bond ends up truly falling for her with an intensity to match his feelings for Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale and, later, Tracy in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Even if the book's plot is less than enthralling, it is impossible not to get caught up in the fate of Tiffany's and Bond's dangerous romance and to not hope the best for both of them. Fleming is often criticized as being a sexist but in Tiffany Case, he creates a fascinating female character who can proudly stand against the cardboard femme fatales that have populated so many Bond-influenced spy thrillers since. In the end, whatever the book's flaws, just the chance to make the acquaintance of Tiffany Case makes this book worth the read.
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