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The Love of Stones Paperback – 4 Feb 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (4 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057120998X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571209989
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.7 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 537,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

"The lives of stones are the lives of the dead; which always lead back, never ahead." So says Katherine Sterne, a woman whose life is devoted to searching for a single jewel. "The Three Brethren", a brooch fashioned from rubies, diamonds and pearls has been in existence since the 15th century, passing through the hands of Europe's monarchs and, in spite of its exquisite beauty, leaving a trail of bloodshed and ruin in its wake. Captivated by the jewel's dark history, Katherine finds herself on an increasingly perilous quest to discover its current whereabouts. Searching the hidden quarters of modern-day London, Istanbul and Tokyo, she enters a world steeped in greed and ambition, a world where men are prepared to kill to safeguard the Brethren's secrets.

Two hundred years earlier, in 1833, a pair of Iraqi Jewish brothers leave Babylon, possessing only the clothes on their backs, and a hoard of precious stones. Arriving in London, they become jewellers to the new Queen, Victoria, and discover that friendship and loyalty are the most precious commodities of all.

Part love story, part historical thriller, The Love of Stones is a compelling excursion into the enduring qualities of human obsession. There is always a danger that novels so meticulously researched can become too heavy on the detail, neglecting the need to entertain in favour of lecturing the reader. But Hill's narrative is constructed with craftsman-like care, balancing the treasure-trove of fact with a story rich in insight and, ultimately, hope. --Matthew Baylis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'A bold and intricate novel, a complex tapestry that ranges across time and space, but with a single theme: the manipulative power of exceptional jewels.' Penelope Lively, Independent 'A compelling thriller... Slicing through six centuries in a single sweep, the historic structure on to which Hill has crafted a gripping yarn binds together his themes about greed and ambition, and about our urge to possess the past in a vain quest for immortality.' Naomi Gryn, The Times

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a book which vortically sweeps the reader (gratefully) in. The literary craft and emotive language carries the reader on, eager for the next phase of the alternating storylines, reaching for the crest. However, before this author's obvious talent has allowed itself the apex, it falters. The last part of the novel disappoints, not only in the evolution of the storyline, but also strangely in its language. It may be that the reader becomes used to the poignant and refreshing style, or it may be that this reader lacks a higher sensibility. But this novel in its closing left me unsatisfied. Notwithstanding that, the experience of reading this book was a gratifying one.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Terry Stanfill, real name on 25 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought this book with trepidation. My own novel, The Blood Remembers, (completed in 1994 and only recently published) is also about a woman's quest and at its heart is a spinel, the balas ruby of The Love of Stones. As in Hill's novel there are also two historical threads interwoven with and paralleling a present day story. We must all be tapping into the vast collective where ideas and images rising simultaneously from the unconscious overflow into the imaginations of writers and artists.
In reviews from The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, as well as the Amazon.com site, the only flaw in this gem of a novel seems to be the inclusion (to use gemological terminology) of its protagonist, Katherine Sterne. If Sterne is not a lovable character, at least she is an interesting one. As I turned the book's well-written pages I kept asking myself, "Since when must we like the protagonist?" At first I'd wanted to be cheering for Katherine, but before long I was following her quest in fascination. Kate Sterne is not as mad as the collector of John Fowles' eponymous novel, but total self absorption, toughness and sang-froid can be traits of a collector's obsessive personality gone awry. The author, in describing the diamond might very well be describing his Kate--obviously the cold, driven character he intended her to be. In this way Hill keeps Sterne's quest from becoming yet another "sentimental journey."
"On the Moh scale of hardness the diamond is ten...but this is deceptive. For one thing diamond is the only gem which will combust, burning with a clear, quick white flame. It is as if the crystal were somehow organic...like skin and bone. And diamond is brittle as bone. There is hardness but no flexibility, and brittleness is an unforgiving quality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blanc on 27 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
What makes life worth living? Love of family, fulfilling ambition or the possibility for self-understanding?

The lives of a nineteenth century Mesopotamian jeweller and a twentieth century jewel hunter intersect, as Katherine Stern travels back in time to the origins of an intriguing crown jewel, only to track it forwards, coming ever closer to the meaning of her own loneliness.

This novel has something for everyone: there's whole worlds of detail, atmosphere and character ranging from medieval Europe to postwar Japan; the exquisite writing typical of all Hill's stories (and this one is as different to the others as always) and a shifting sense of visceral human need and values that constantly prompts the reader to question their own viewpoint; and yet all held together by an unlikely personal journey and, finally, the prospect of real love.

The complex plot, moving between nineteenth and twentieth centuries, orient and occident, empire and metropolis, demands attention - not one to put down lightly, though you're not likely to want to - but, while constantly challenging, like all good books it's about the journey not the conclusion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this novel last Spring and was captivated, by the characters, the evocative history, how this works with the modern day narrative and, above all, by the beautiful writing...
A fabullous read!
To those reviewers below, if you want to read about the Koh-i-Noor, i can recommend Chasing the Mountain of Light by kevin Rushby - a terrific travel book, which touches on some aspects of its history.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 July 2002
Format: Paperback
I only bought this book because Tobias Hill is judging a fiction competition I was planning to enter and I was interested to see what kind of fiction he wrote. I thought this was an exceptional novel and images and passages are still lingering on in my mind many weeks after finishing it. The prose is simple, poetic, fluid and beautiful and I personally found it very easy to relate to the characters, especially Katherine and Daniel. Other reviewers have criticised the apparent lack of established motivation for Katherine's quest for the Three Brethren but in my opinion this is a strength, not a weakness. In fact I found it a refreshing change from much contemporary literature, which sometimes over does its exploration of characters' psyches in its attempt to account for their every action. An obsession without grounding is both more realistic and more powerful than one that is mapped out in endless psychological detail. I was almost obsessed by the Three Brethren myself by the end. I also thought Hill did an excellent job of writing from a female view point - not every author is competent at adopting the perspective of the opposite gender. And to write competently and empathically about such a passive character as Daniel demonstrates great skill. I particularly liked Hill's character descriptions taken from portraits - it's almost as if he could see deeper into the souls of the sitters than did the original artists. Finally, Hill has a way of pacing his prose that forces you to read slowly - as a confirmed speed reader this was a new and satisfying experience for me and one I hope to repeat. As another reviewer said, the novel is not flawless, but that is definitely part of its charm.
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