Diamonds Are Forever is a spy classic that brought James Bond back to the U.S.
On the trail of a diamond smuggling pipeline, originating in Africa and moving through London on its way to New York and Las Vegas, Bond goes undercover as a diamond mule. He works with the beautiful but damaged Tiffany Case, hoping to use her connections to infiltrate the vicious Spangled Mob. Old pal Felix Leiter, a former CIA operative who’s moved on to Pinkertons, helps out along the way. Bond has a misadventure at a Saratoga Springs horse race before landing in Sin City. A battle of wits with the head of the Spangled Gang leads to a desperate showdown in a reclaimed desert mining town. A climactic encounter with a pair of brutal killers aboard the QEII puts a dramatic flourish on the caper.
Diamonds Are Forever was one of Ian Fleming’s earlier Bond works. By the time of its publication, Fleming had done a good job of establishing the super spy and his world. There was a depth to the characterization that’s not always evident in Bond’s film translation. In Fleming’s hands, Bond wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes and had blind spots. The fun is in seeing how Fleming extracted his hero from the mad scenarios where the author had deposited him.
The period descriptions are always one of the best parts of these classic Bond novels and Diamonds Are Forever doesn’t disappoint. Fleming provided a detailed look at the life of a high end international vagabond. The details are a vital part of transporting readers into Bond’s highly stylized world. Fleming also had a knack for sketching out brutal action sequences and clever bits of spycraft. As always, seeing Bond navigate an undercover assignment while essentially acting like himself was one of the more entertaining aspects of the story.
Keep in mind that Diamonds Are Forever, like most of the Bond series, is decidedly pre-PC. Bond expressed some gender and racial attitudes that were period-accurate but could be difficult for some modern readers to swallow. But that’s a part of revisiting period genre works and it doesn’t detract from how entertaining the novel is otherwise.
This Bond reprint series is a gift for the character’s fans. Diamonds Are Forever is as enjoyable as the earlier outings.
Originally published at thunderalleybcpcom.ipage.com on June 10, 2016.