Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Tavernier Stones by Stephen Parrish (Book Review)


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.

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.

Book Format: Paperback, 371 pages
Publisher: Midnight Ink Books

Author website: Stephen Parrish

Published: May 1, 2010

Available at:



chapters indigo.ca


David Cranmer said...

A very interesting plot and that is an intriguing tie-in with the real life treasure hunt.

Thanks for the review.

laughingwolf said...

thx barbara, i've known steve for several years and look forward to reading his book... as well as others

Charles Gramlich said...

I've been hearing good things about this one.

Frank Baron said...

Sounds like a perfect, summertime read. Thanks Barbara.

Barbara Martin said...

Once I started this book soon after its arrival it kept me interested to the end. A day on the edge of my favourite chair, and then I reread it. I love this book. The humour remains fresh even on the second reading.

Ronda Laveen said...

I first read about this book on a literary agent blog, It looked good there and I am happy to read a good review. Thanks.

AFlyOnTheWall said...

Barbara - have you read the Richard Wise "The French Blue"?

I loved that one - will have to check this one out!

Robyn Hawk

Richard Levangie said...

Sounds terrific, Barbara... it has all the elements of a rousing good read, and I'm looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

Interesting book and I enjoyed exploring your links regarding it, including Stephen Parrish's website. I have lost your email address Barbara, so will answer your query to me here. The Thylacine, as your research would clarify, is sadly considered extinct (hunted to extinction).The last thylacine died in captivity in the Hobart zoo in the 1930s.There is footage available (YouTube) though a great deal of mystery and scepticism surrounds footage of supposed odd sightings.The quest of discovering a thylacine captures the imagination of Australians as our bushland on the mainland and Tasmania is so thick and inhospitable, not easily accessed in parts, that it could be possible, but not probable...so no I have not sighted a thylacine,though others may have claimed to, to mixed responses.

Bernita said...

It’s a book that can be read multiple times
For me, that is the true test for a great book.