The Tavernier Stones by Stephen Parrish (Book Review)
A DEADLY WORLDWIDE RACE, A CENTURIES-OLD PUZZLE… When the body of seventeenth-century mapmaker Johannes Cellarius floats to the surface of a bog in northern Germany with a 57-carat ruby clutched in his fist, the grisly discovery ignites a deadly twenty-first century international treasure hunt to unearth the fabled Tavernier stones. The hoard reputedly contains some of the world’s most notorious missing jewels, including the 280-carat Great Mogul diamond and the 242-carat Great Table diamond.
AND UNIMAGINABLE TREASURE Scrupulously honest Amish-born cartographer John Graf teams up with outlaw prospector and gemologist David Freeman in a ferocious race to find the treasure and break a secret code that will unravel the centuries-old Tavernier stones mystery. But other fortune hunters, opportunists and criminals alike, are in hot pursuit of the mismatched partners—and they’ll stop at nothing to possess the legendary jewels.
For a first novel this is a terrific beginning for an up and coming author. There were instances within that made me laugh until I could barely breathe as Mr. Parrish’s wry wit came forth. He deftly wove detailed descriptions of cartography and gemology in with the sub-plots of the other characters, bent on discovering the jewels for themselves at any cost which added to the suspense. All of the characters were well rounded and true to their natures: John Graf, though naïve about some things, had good common sense to guide him through some tricky situations; David Freeman, jewel thief extraordinaire, and his girl friend, Susan Saint-James. The good guys were put to the test to come through and the bad guys were very, very wicked.
This book has everything I love to read and lose myself in: adventure, crime, mystery, historical aspects and suspense combined with codes, maps and treasure. I especially liked the detailed background of mapmaking and gemology blended in to give the story more depth. When the ending came I hoped that Mr. Parrish has another John Graf story up his sleeve. This character deserves to live in perpetuity.
I recommend this book whole heartedly. It’s a book that can be read multiple times without losing the humour of the jokes or the suspense that carries through to the end. And the bonus to getting this book is the Treasure Hunt.
The Tavernier Stones website contains an armchair treasure hunt for a real diamond! One carat is waiting for the persevering sleuth who can crack the cipher from clues presented within the English version of The Tavernier Stones and those found on the website. Happy hunting.
Thank you, Stephen, for providing a copy for me to review. It will sit among my other favourite books in my bookcase.