Originally published in 1956 in the United Kingdom, Diamonds Are Forever is the fourth installment in the insanely popular 007, James Bond series. The titular character was created by author Ian Fleming back in 1953 with the publication of Casino Royale, which became a film thrice. The first was an episode in the American television show Climax! aired through CBS, second was a 1967 film featuring David Niven as Sir James Bond, and the 2006 film with Daniel Craig on his first outing as the suave debonair spy.
The novel’s overall plot is still relatively current, as the issue with diamond smuggling (blood diamonds) is still an ongoing issue in West Africa. In this novel, MI6 uncovers a diamond smuggling pipeline from Africa to the US run by a mysterious ABC character. Bond assumes the identity of a captured courier named Peter Franks and meets the US contact, Tiffany Case, in New York. He runs some errands for the local mob, associated with the pipeline, and acquires the help of Felix Leiter.
Leiter, who had worked for the CIA in Casino Royale and Live and Let Die, is now working for the Pinkertons, after he was deformed by a shark attack in Live and Let Die. Leiter has a wealth of knowledge on the situation, which Bond uses effectively. He travels to Las Vegas under orders delivered by a gang member of the Spangled Mob (ran by brothers Jack and Seraffimo Spang), named Shady Tree. Bond is reunited with Tiffany Case, who is a dealer at a blackjack table, and paid off. Bond, however, disobeys orders and gambles the money at another table.
Bond is eventually captured after a car chase through Las Vegas (which the description of the city was spectacular), and brought to a location that mimics a Wild West town. It plays on the fascination of the Wild West by Seraffimo. The ghost town itself (Spectreville) played as Spang’s own holiday resort. Bond is suspected as a plant and tortured. With Case’s help, he escapes on a rail-car and kills Spang.
During the trip back to London via passenger ship, Case and Bond are compromised by two assassins of the Spangled Mob named Wint and Kidd. He dispatches the two to make it look like a murder-suicide. Once in London, it is hinted that Tiffany is taken by MI6, while Bond goes to Sierra Leone to “close the pipeline.”
This marks the sixth Bond book I’ve read. Well, seven if you include the short stories Octopussy and The Living Daylights, of which The Living Daylights is probably my favorite. In reading this novel, I was not disappointed in Fleming’s ability of storytelling. Many people know James Bond by the cheesy one-liners and Sean Connery accents, but the literary figure is so much more interesting. By this novel, Bond has found the body of the woman he loved on the bed she committed suicide on, found out his love interest was actually engaged, been dragged across a coral reef behind a boat. In Diamonds Are Forever it seems to leave you wondering what will become of the new love interest in Tiffany Case.
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