Once Upon A Romance

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The Tavernier Stones by Stephen Parrish

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Cover art: The Tavernier Stones Reviewer: Michael Smith
Title: The Tavernier Stones
Author: Stephen Parrish
Publisher: Midnight Ink
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-2056-2
Release Date: May 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Mystery/Suspense
Year/Setting: Present Day
Overall Rating: 3.5
Sexual Content Rating: None (References)
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Moderate
Stephen's Website: www.stephenparrish.com


The main character, John Graf is a cartographer or map maker. The story begins with the discovery of a 16th Century cartographers’ body of Cellarius in a German bog clutching an enormous ruby. This inspires a worldwide interest in finding the rest of the Tavernier Stones.

There are multiple groups obsessed with the search. John Graf has left his Amish family in Pennsylvania and is living in the English world. He joins forces with a pair of thieves; David and Sarah to utilize their special talents. In the same city, Barclay Zimmerman is searching for one Tavernier stone, which he is obsessed with. In Germany, a pair of scoundrels, Frieda Blumenfeld and Manfred Gebhardt are also on the trail. Finally, the police detective, Gerd Pfeffer is also searching for the stones. All of the characters are searching for their own reasons of fame or fortune.

Mr. Parrish leads the reader down various paths in unraveling the puzzling story. Though I could not understand the detailed content added of John’s shunning and David’s jewel antics, Mr. Parrish provides an inspiring story of redemption and the importance of family that is explained at the end. Midway in the story, there is a section providing an in depth description of how to unravel a Vigenere cipher. I felt this provided too much detail, in so much, that I skimmed it until the story resumed.

Mr. Parrish does a great job in the last portion of the book, drawing you into the story when all of the parties meet in a German city to wait for the treasure location to be revealed from Cellarius’s map and cipher clues. This section kept me on the edge of my seat. There is a neat twist involving John Graf’s relation to the Tavernier Stones, but this is not revealed until the final chapters. Also David and Sarah’s future is revealed. It is a funny example of what goes around, comes around.

This book turned out to be an enjoyable reading experience. The Tavernier Stones in Mr. Parrish’s first book and I feel he dealt with a difficult subject. With the promise of more mystery and intrigue, I look forward to his next book.

Michael

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