Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The French Blue by Richard Wise

The beautiful Hope Diamond as it looks today in the Smithsonian Museum

The French Blue Book Trailer

The First Line: A tall walnut case with long slender drawers was set against a whitewashed wall in the first floor shop of the building my father shared with a sail maker.

The French Blue is a biographical novel depicting the fascinating life of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, the man who brought the Hope Diamond to the French Court. Tavernier, the son of a modestly poor map-maker, travels the world in pursuit of the finest gems. His travels take him to Indonesia, Persia, India, Burma, and beyond. During his travels, he encounters dangerous kings and scrupulous and unscrupulous gem merchants, with whom he strikes bargains to purchase rare pearls, diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.

It truly is a tale worth telling. Tavernier travelled the world in a time when it was virtually wrought with peril, exoticness, intrigue. The reader is given a glimpse into life during this century with accurate retelling and brilliant descriptions.

Based upon the actual journals Tavernier wrote during the six voyages he completed during his life, Richard Wise has successfully brought to life the dangers, intrigues, and mystery of the world in the 17th century. Drawing on his own expertise as a gemologist, Mr. Wise is able to lend credibility and vividness to scenes where gems are bartered for and exchanged.

It is an impressive book, one that teaches as well as entertains.

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