Friday, July 2, 2010

"The Tavernier Stones"

Stephen Parrish is a cartographer and gemologist. He applied the Page 69 Test to The Tavernier Stones, his first novel, and reported the following:
The Tavernier Stones is the story of a modern day treasure hunt to find the Lost Tavernier Stones of popular European folklore. On page 69 I show early conflict between two of the treasure hunters, partners who serve as antagonists in the novel. This scene is representative because I like to put all characters in some kind of conflict with one another, no matter their relationship.

Page 69:
"Red spinel was often confused with ruby; such stones were known as balas rubies. Perhaps the most famous balas ruby is the so-called Black Prince's Ruby, a 170 carat spinel in the center of the Maltese Cross on the British Imperial State Crown. Its history is murky; no one knows how it came to the Tower of London, where it shares the crown with Cullinan II, the Second Star of Africa ... and 2,800 other diamonds."

"You're drooling, Frieda."

"Oh, if security weren't so tight..."

"Well, you studied stealing in college. Breaking and entering must surely have been part of the curriculum."

"Finance, Mannfred. I studied finance."

"A rose by any other name."

"Well, let's talk about your major: classics. On a ranking of most useful subjects to least useful subjects, yours would place just about ... oh my, it falls off the list altogether!"

"If it weren't for historians—"

"But you didn't study history, you studied Greek and Roman mythology. You studied events that never happened, documented in languages no one ever speaks. If you had really studied history you might be able to help me with this research. Speaking of which ... where are the maps?"


"Now, don't get petulant. Your ways are impractical, just like your choice of major, and you know it. If you were a little less idealistic you'd have a political party of your own by now, instead of a handful of unemployed friends who throw rocks at public speakers and can't even score a hit."

"You're one of my friends, Frieda."

After a moment of silence Blumenfeld said, "I prefer to see myself as your mentor." She opened a notebook and signaled for Gebhardt to crouch on the floor next to the coffee table. Once he did, it was hard for him to concentrate on anything but the chains dangling from her glasses; they did a synchronized dance each time the old woman bobbed her head.
Browse inside The Tavernier Stones, and learn more about the book and author at Stephen Parrish's website and blog.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue