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Friday, August 17, 2012

Damned diamonds!

This is just a quote from Vivian Crystal, when she reviewed my novel "The Medici Diamonds: Diamonds for the Devil".

Yes, I do write myself and up to now I've completed four novels and one collection of short stories - all of them published by Rogue Phoenix Press in Oregon (

I consider Diamonds for the Devil as my best book yet. It's a story set in early 18th century France (locations are Burgundy and Paris) full of adventure, suspense, swash-buckling action and of course romance.

Diamonds tells the story of Marguerte de Vallencieux, the young daughter of a impoverished count in Burgundy. It's told in two different time settings, as the novel begins in 1721 and then goes back to 1711.

In 1721, we find Marguerite married to an older man, who is now the Attorney General of Paris. The big problem for Marguerite is not the age difference, but the fact she doesn't know a thing of what happened before she married Etienne... According to her brother, who is now the next Count Vallencieux, she has suffered a bad accident and due to it has no memory of the past.

All of a sudden, strange things begin to happen. She becomes guardian of a young boy, who is the nephew of the notorious street robber Cartouche. Etienne is murdered, but was he the intended victim? Can she trust the Marquis d'Aubervilliers, whom she meets in the park?

One event follows the other, and Marguerite's life in in turmoil. And then she meets a man - an outcast, said to have murdered his wife. Strangely, he is the only one she can trust...

I won't spoil by telling how it ends, but be sure to have a good read. It's not what I think myself (I do, obviously) but here is what others say:

"Damned Diamonds!"

Are you looking for a well-written, adventurous mystery with some historical connections to add to the intrigue? Here it is in Nickie Fleming's tale about the Medici diamonds, reputed to be cursed to whoever is the current owner but sought by thieves. In fact, they are willing to murder anyone who possesses these priceless jewels.

The tale begins with a young woman waking up in a Burgundy convent. Unable to remember anything about her past, she is dependent on her brother for her future. She experiences three marriages, fraught with convenience, brutality, and finally passionate love.

Before that dream of true love happens, however, Marguerite (or Margot as she is called by her peers) undergoes horrific nightmares about her unknown past, physical debilitation when the emerging memories strive to surface, a beating that leaves her mentally scarred but determined to protect her well-being at all costs, several murder attempts which wind up accidentally killing several people around her but which fail to remove the intended target, and finally an escape to a safe place where all of her tortured memories begin to emerge.

The returned memory portion of the novel is no less exciting than the previous sections and it is here that the reader discovers how the Medici diamonds have passed from victim to victim as well as the history of the diamonds.

The world of 18th Century France is portrayed accurately with its Prince Regent, Philippe d' Orleans and his court, as well as those constantly vying for his favor. Masqued dances, fashionable dress, the acquisition of riches to gain inclusion in the royal court, the loose marital agreements that allow and even expect affairs of the heart to supercede fidelity in monogamy, the secretive but powerful underworld of the Quartier Saint-Denis, a lost child and more fill these pages with enough action to totally mesmerize every reader. While the plot is certainly a familiar one to most readers, Nickie Fleming is adept at crafting the novel into sections that keep the reader guessing and thoroughly enjoying the progress of Marguerite's insecure journey and that of her friends and enemies.

This is a grand read - buy it and lose yourself in Nickie Fleming's imaginative presentation of France in the 1700s.

Vivian Crystal for Crystal Reviews

The Title and Cover are outstanding as if a curling finger beckons the potential reader.

The plot is revealed in an almost quiet unassuming manner and as I settled into the book I could almost imagine the mystery was being woven through the story as a Navaho Lady would weave her shawl of assorted colors for each character. The author tied the entire story together and there were no loose ends. There were no ho-hum moments and I found myself going back to read again and again until I had finished.

The descriptions of the City, the characters and the time frame present the reader with a comfortable and intimate feeling that they are a part of the story. I must admit that I was wishing for the ending to be as I wanted it to be and when it happened there were some tears of joy. After all I am an Irish-Scottish Lass


A Scottish Lass, for Angel Eyes Reviews (rating: 5 angel eyes on a total score of 5)

Got you interested? You can buy the book, both in paperback or ebook version, directly from the publisher, but it is also available from Amazon.

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