Saturday, October 30, 2010

SM5S Review: The Pindar Diamond by Katie Hickman

A fun way to add variety to review formats this meme was created by Alipet at That's A Novel Idea.

Jenners at Life...With Books  has the Mr Linky each week so we can share our posts .

1 book I read: The Pindar Diamond by Katie Hickman
2 words that describe the book: Historical intrigue
3 settings and/or characters I met:
  • Venice 1604: Paul Pindar is a merchant who, devastated by the loss of his betrothed, is gambling away his fortune and heading for financial ruin. When rumours of a spectacularly rare diamond, The Sultan's Blue, begin to circulate he becomes convinced that the jewel is somehow linked to his lost love and obessed with obtaining for himself.
  • Annetta: Has found refuge in the convent in which she was once a lay worker after escaping from life in a harem . She now has a large dowry of jewels which will enable her to become one of the privileged choir nuns although her spirited nature doesn't make her a suitable candidate for the religious life.
  • Maryam and her troupe of circus tumblers who travel around the country entertaining the villagers. In a small fishing village they discover a mute young woman who was rescued from the sea by the fisherman and has since given birth to a deformed child. The villagers consider 'the mermaid' to be unlucky and Maryam is persuaded to take her away with the performers.
4 things I liked/disliked about the book:
  • I always enjoy reading about how convent life was in different times. It seems so sad that so many young women were placed there not because they had a vocation but simply for their family's convenience. There is some nice detail of the ways they filled their days and of the social order within the walls. With her recently aquired dowry Annetta plans to live like the noblewoman and flout as many rules as be like Suor Caterina who "
...wore her black veil pushed back high over the crown of her head, showing her blond hair beneath, two curls pinched out either side. She wore high-heeled pattens on her feet, and a bodice pulled down so low it revealed the curve of her small breasts, and a ruby and diamond crucifix hung from a gold chain round her waist."
  • I also enjoyed the story of giantess Maryam and her troupe. The author has a great storytelling writing style and their adventures with the mermaid added an almost fantasy element which was very entertaining.
  • I didn't care for Paul Pindar, his courtesan, gambling and obsession for the diamond and  17th century Venice didn't come to life at all.
  • At the beginning I felt as though I was reading three different stories that would eventually link through the diamond......which they do.....but I hadn't realised that this was a sequel to an earlier book called The Aviary Gate which I haven't read. I might have felt more connection to the characters and enjoyed it more if I had. The ending seemed rather rushed and inconclusive which makes me think there is another to come.
5 Stars or less for my rating:

I'm giving The Pindar Diamond 3's nicely written , it makes pleasant light reading but it didn't have enough plot and character substance or historical background for me.

Year of the Historical Challenge


  1. This is a terrific concise review. What a shame that the setting didn't come to life for you. And in Venice! Such a wasted opportunity. :-)

  2. I seem to have been living in Venice lately so it didn't really matter. :-)