The streak of amazing Bond books couldn’t last forever, even if Diamonds Are Forever (why thank you very much). Ian Fleming seems to have stumbled a little with this one, delivering a story that doesn’t have a concrete villain and a conclusion that falls flat. It isn’t all bad though, so read on to see what’s up…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the back cover is as follows: 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 …
Diamonds Are Forever has Bond traveling to the States, once again undercover, this time as a diamond smuggler. He is tasked with finding everything he can about a diamond smuggling ring and do whatever it takes to stop them. Along the way, he meets a beautiful lady, by the name of Tiffany Case, who is assigned to help him smuggle the diamonds into the States. She gets him in contact with the various leaders of the ring and in doing so, Bond meets up with an old friend, by the way of Felix Leiter, who happens to be investigating something closely related to Bond’s case.
Diamonds Are Forever has problems, so let’s get those out of the way first. For one thing, the story is incredibly simple and doesn’t really go anywhere. Bond just kinda goes along for the ride, becoming lucky for the most part, instead of actually using any ingenuity, that he is known for. There isn’t that many set pieces, except for some interesting parts aboard a cruise ship and a horse race, ending in a tense mud bath. However, come the ending, Bond doesn’t really face off against anyone and we find out that the big villain of the piece, is pretty much a nobody. There is no real back story on this person and once the last page is turned, I felt kinda empty inside. We also don’t get any sort of resolution on what happens to Tiffany Case (you need to wait for the next novel).
Okay, so those are the bad things, but what about the good stuff. Well, thankfully Ian Fleming’s writing is still top notch and even though we don’t get anything grand in this one, he still manages to make the story for the most part, interesting. Also, having Felix Leiter returning, is always an enjoyable thing and I wish he was in more of the books, as him and Bond get along so great. With a fun returning character and the interesting parts I mentioned above, Diamonds Are Forever is in no way a bad book, but very much like a flawed diamond, it might not be perfect, but it’s still precious.
It may look like I listed more negatives than positives above, which is true, but I should stress the overall story isn’t bad. It’s just not as spectacular as some of the other Bond tales. It’s low key and doesn’t reach the lofty heights it could have. With that said, I still recommend checking the book out and giving it a read, as in the end, it’s still a damn good (not great) Bond book.
Rating: 3.5/5 (-1.5 for the simple story that doesn’t go anywhere and an ending that falls flat. +3.5 for still being an enjoyable read and the writing of Fleming is always lovely.)