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

4.0 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews
Book 4 of 45 in the James Bond 007 Series

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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 (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John B. Maggiore on May 23, 2002
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: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These are the ultimate action books and are very great reads. I tend to read fast and can get through one of these in about 2-3 days time. Very action packed. If you like the movies do yourself a favor and read the books. The books get into more detail and are a little different story wise than the movies. The story line NEVER gets boring and will keep you right on the edge of your "seat" at times. I currently only have 4 out of the 13 left to read. I can see myself reading these over and over again. CLASSICS never DIE!! And neither does BOND.
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Good, fun. mindless reading. Curl up in an easy chair and enjoy, but don't look for this book to be like the movie . . . it isn't. Some of the same characters and basic plot lines, but action and activities are anything but predictable. James Bond seems like he wants to do things just to get into trouble with the Bad Guys. He takes a casino for thousands of dollars so they will try to kill him? He trusts a Female villain thinking his charm will win her over to the good side? Well, it works in the book. Fast paced, suspensefull, and fun to read right down to the last page.
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If I were a woman, I might conduct a séance, and then throttle the spirit of Ian Fleming. He's not a bad guy, mind you, but just once, I'd like to see a female character give James Bond a run for his money. So far I'm still waiting for a return on my initial investment. And I know this is one investment that probably won't pan out, but I can still hold onto a faint glimmer of false hope.

Vesper Lynd did come close, but she ultimately failed when paired next to Bond's wit and charm. Tiffany Case, however, pales in comparison. But you don't read James Bond to gain profound insights into the female psyche, unless you want to end up several miles in the wrong direction with a broken radiator and a flat tire.

I do find it interesting that once again Bond is tortured, and once again the reader completely misses out on the experience. Mr. Fleming must have decided that he couldn't top the scene in CASINO ROYALE, which brought a whole new meaning to the word punishment, so he decided to not even try. Life, though, proves a whole lot more interesting and fun and exciting, when you toss a cement wall in the middle of the highway every once in a while.

While I enjoyed DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, the main bad dude felt a bit nebulous, almost like an evil presence more than an evil person. And while the action was present and accounted for, it felt a bit less than full throttle, and the scenes seemed to end much too quickly.

I've enjoyed the Bond study thus far, simply because of his vast influence, and I'm happy to continue my journey, but I am thankful there's no test at the end.

Robert Downs
Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
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