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Diamonds Are Forever  
First edition cover.
Author Ian Fleming
Cover artist Pat Marriott
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series James Bond
Genre(s) Spy novel
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date 26 March 1956
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Preceded by Moonraker
Followed by From Russia, with Love

Diamonds Are Forever is the fourth novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series. It was first published by Jonathan Cape on March 26, 1956.[1]

In 1971 was adapted into the seventh film in the EON Productions film franchise, the last film in that series to star Sean Connery as James Bond. It was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.


Plot summary

1964 Pan Books printing.

The novel takes place just over two months from the end of Moonraker, which ended with James Bond taking a short holiday in France to recover from injuries received on that assignment. When Diamonds Are Forever begins, M, acting on information received from Special Branch, tasks Bond to infiltrate a smuggling ring, which is running diamonds from African mines to the United States. Bond's job is to travel down the "pipeline" as far as he can and find out who is behind it all.

Using the identity of Peter Franks, a country house burglar who decided to become a diamond smuggler, he meets a mysterious "go-between" named Tiffany Case, with whom he eventually falls in love. Bond discovers that the smuggling ring is operated by a ruthless American gang called "The Spangled Mob", which is run by the brothers Jack and Seraffimo Spang.

As Bond learns, the pipeline begins in Africa where a dentist would pay miners to smuggle diamonds in their mouths which the dentist would extract during a routine appointment. From there the dentist would take the diamonds and rendezvous with a German helicopter pilot. Eventually the diamonds would go to Paris, and from there to London. In London, Tiffany would get an assignment from a phone contact only known as ABC, she would then meet with "the hire" (in this case, Bond masquerading as Peter Franks) and explain to that person how to smuggle the diamonds to New York City. After an attempt to pay Bond surreptitiously through a rigged horse race in nearby Saratoga fails, the pipeline leads to Las Vegas where Bond finally receives his payment through a rigged blackjack game. Seraffimo Spang owns the Tiara hotel, headquarters of the Spangled Mob, and an old Western ghost town, named "Spectreville", that he has restored into his own private vacation retreat. (Spectreville actually has no connection whatsoever to Bond's nemesis SPECTRE, which appears later in Thunderball and is established at the start of the James Bond film series in Dr. No).

2002 Penguin Books edition.

Felix Leiter plays a major part in the story, assisting Bond with inside information on crooked horse racing. They find that they are both investigating the same people. Leiter has left the CIA due to injuries sustained in Live and Let Die and is working for Pinkerton's as a private detective. It is through Leiter's actions they make sure the rigged horse race plot fails, so that Bond can then demand his still outstanding payment from the Spangled Mob.

Bond disobeys his orders by continuing to gamble in the casino after "winning" the money he is owed in a rigged gambling game. Spang suspects that Bond may be a 'plant' and has him captured and tortured (a "Brooklyn stomping" administered by Wint and Kidd, hired enforcers for the Spangled Mob). However, with Tiffany's help he escapes from Specterville aboard a railroad pushcar with Seraffimo in pursuit aboard an old Western train. The train is rerouted to a side line and Bond shoots Seraffimo Spang before the resulting crash.

Leiter then helps them get to California, and from there to New York.

Bond and Tiffany then travel back to London aboard the Queen Elizabeth. However, Wint and Kidd kidnap Tiffany, planning to kill her and throw her overboard, but Bond rescues her and then kills them both. For precaution, he makes it look like a murder-suicide.

Jack Spang (who turns out to be the mysterious ABC) shuts down his diamond smuggling pipeline by killing its participants. He himself is killed when his helicopter is shot down by Bond, right where the story started, in Africa.


  • Tiffany Case: A diamond smuggler who Bond uses to infiltrate the smuggling ring. Case was gang-raped as a teenager and, as a result, has developed an antipathy towards men.[2] Despite this, she falls in love with Bond.
  • Jack Spang: The true master mind behind the operations and plans pulled by the Spangled Mob. A ruthless and cunning man, he goes by the aliases Rufus B. Saye and ABC.
  • Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd: Assassins and enforcers under the employment of the Spang Brothers. They go by the aliases W. Winter and B. Kitteridge. Wint is a ruthless and brutal sadistic killer who enjoys his work, while Kidd is a more calm and serene person. Kidd is a silent character in the novel.
  • Ernest Cureo: The friendly and trustworthy taxi driver who assists Bond in Las Vegas, after being recommended to Bond by Felix Leiter.


In 1971 the novel was adapted into a film starring Sean Connery as Bond. It had little in common with the novel, with the most notable difference being Ernst Stavro Blofeld as the villain, instead of the Spang brothers. While the book featured a straight-forward diamond smuggling plot, the film featured the diamonds being used in a laser satellite. Though many of the book's characters appear in the film (including Tiffany Case, Felix Leiter, and Shady Tree) they often have little in common with their screen counterparts besides their names.

Fleming's original novel was adapted as a daily comic strip which was published in the British Daily Express newspaper and syndicated around the world. The adaptation ran from August 10, 1959 to January 30, 1960. The adaptation was written by Henry Gammidge and illustrated by John McLusky.[3] The James Bond 007 Fan Club published a reprint of the strip in 1981. Diamonds Are Forever was published again in 2005 as part of the Dr. No anthology by Titan Books.

Related works

Diamond smuggling was a topic of great interest to author Ian Fleming. In 1957 Fleming wrote a non-fiction book on the subject, titled The Diamond Smugglers, which was published in the same format as his Bond novels and, as a result, is often erroneously listed as a Bond book.

Additionally, an aborted commissioned novel, Per Fine Ounce by author Geoffrey Jenkins was to be the first James Bond continuation novel. The book was completed circa 1966, but was never published. Claims have been made, notably by Andy Lane and Paul Simpson in their book The Bond Files, that the subject of Per Fine Ounce dealt with diamond smuggling.

Differences between printings

Different printings of the novel feature slightly different wording. The Berkley printing claims to contain the same text as the original hardcover printing. The differences are insignificant and have no impact on the plot. For example, in the Berkley printing, Felix Leiter asks Bond if he still has his 00 number "that licenses you to kill" whereas the Penguin printing says "that allows you to kill".

Publication history

The following is a list of English language editions of Diamonds Are Forever;

  • Diamonds Are Forever (1971)


  1. ^ MI6 :: The Home Of James Bond 007
  2. ^ Fleming, Ian (1956). "ch. 8". Diamonds Are Forever. MacMillan.  
  3. ^ "Diamonds Are Forever". Retrieved 2009-07-04.  

External links



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