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Publisher's Summary

Diamonds are being smuggled on a formidable scale from Africa to America via Britain. 007's assignment is to break the smuggling ring. It's a dangerous mission that takes him to the racecourse and mud-baths of Saratoga Springs, the gaming tables of Las Vegas, the ghost town of Spectreville, and beyond. The Spangled Mob threatens to be too much even for Bond, but help is at hand in the shape of co-conspirator Tiffany Case.

This audiobook includes a bonus interview with Damian Lewis.

Blackstone Audio, Inc. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under license by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd

©1956 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

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  • Carol
  • Massachusetts
  • 11-04-14

Bond. But not very good Bond.

This is not Bond in the white dinner jacket, flicking his gunmetal Ronson lighter onto his Turkish cigarette as he beats the bad guys and beautiful femmes at chemin de fer and anything else they care to play. Instead of Monte Carlo and the rugged capitals of Europe, or the sun-drenched Caribbean islands that are Bond's usual haunts, this book has Our Spy tracking down diamond smugglers in the U.S. -- which is fine while he's in New York City, but James Bond in Saratoga Springs (shudder), Las Vegas (double shudder), and a Nevada ghost town (giggle) as he brings down Jack and Seraffimo Spang and their "Spangled Mob"--well, sorry, Ian Fleming this one just didn't work for me.

There are no fun toys or gadgets in this one. And Bond, with supercilious disdain for (ethnic slur) criminals, does some really stupid things. The only things that save him are (1) the Spang brothers do even stupider things and (2) Bond girl Tiffany Case, having gone over to the Good Guys almost instantaneously after meeting James once, frees him when he's held prisoner by the mob bosses she's served for years. What a surprise!

The early Bond books are well written, atmospheric period pieces. This one, the fourth in the series, was published in 1956; one of the most interesting descriptions was of Bond's London to New York flight, a 12-hour journey complete with meals, booze, and sleeper seats in the days before jet engines hit the commercial airways. Once in New York, Bond's idea of an elegant dinner date starts with pate and three martinis, followed by steak with Bernaise sauce accompanied by a bottle or two of wine, and topped off with dessert and champagne. Women--even a strong women like Tiffany, who's by far the best character in this episode--are arm candy in black velvet cocktail dresses.

It's a different world, and of course a world highly romanticized by Fleming, but I enjoyed the novels in my younger days, am a huge fan of both the early (Sean Connery) and recent (Daniel Craig) cinematic incarnations, and have enjoyed several of the audio renditions by Simon Vance. This new release of all the novels in audio form, each read by a different well-known British actor, is an intriguing concept. Damian Lewis, with his uncanny gift for flawless American accents (as anyone who's seen him as "Homeland's" Sergeant Brodie knows), was a perfect choice for narrator. He moves between British, American, and American ethnic accents so fluidly you're unaware of it, you just know immediately which character is speaking. I just wish the material had been more worthy of Lewis's art.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Lewis gives the best performance so far but...

Damian Lewis does the best job that I have heard so far in the updated Bond series, which means he out does Dan Stevens and Bill Nighly (who were both quite good). In spite of Lewis' performance, the story lags a bit. I think I am just less impressed by the stories that take place in America.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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One of the best Bond novels

I've been going through all the Flemming Bond novels and this one really stands out! Lewis offers a great performance that really brings the calm and collected side of Bond that brings the book up a notch. The story is down to earth and believable with some great action sprinkled throughout. If you're a Bond fan this is a must, not all of Flemming's Bond novels are home runs but this one surely is!

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So much better than the movie...

Not even close to the movie. I can't believe how different and how much better this book is versus the movie. Now I know what Sean Connery meant when he said the tail was wagging the dog.

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Good not great

The book was well performed but I finished this one feeling unfulfilled. I'm doing the series in order and this was the first one to leave me feeling short changed on the ending.

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Well plotted chase

This book like many other Bond novels is almost a spy detective series. Smarter than the movies. A little slower. But have great depth of characters.
I've been listening to the series in order starting with casino Royale and love the progress and intrigue.

Ending is a bit rushed after the cruise -- but overall great.

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Another great story from Fleming

I'm hooked. Every book so far has led to another fantastic entry to the legend of bond. Damian Lewis does a great job acting the roles, but something is odd about the reading that I just can't put my finger on. Otherwise, loved it.