What object of cosmic significance was rescued from the flaming ruins of Constantinople by a lone knight? Why was it ripped from its matrix and scattered across the continent as the Western World began its renaissance? Was this one-of-a-kind stone the hidden prize when the fortress island of Rhodes fell to the conquering army of Suleiman the Magnificent? How did this singular gem, compressed in the deepest folds of the earth, make its way to the digital surface of a new millennium?
The one thing we can be sure of is that’s it’s here and being tracked with all the resources of our age. The stone will never be lost again because it is less an object of wealth or beauty than the secret of secrets. Samson Mondieu, the designated hunter, understands that. And he knows just who among the latest Masters of the Universe will finally claim The Byzantium Stone for his own.
From the publisher:
When in the first chapter of The Byzantium Stone a Greek in post-World War I Constantinople bargains away his birthright, we understand that this strange gem will provide the impetus of David Chacko’s plot. The stone is not simply a beautiful gem, but one that exhibits extreme changeability–or chatoyance. And that, too, becomes a major theme in a novel that has more changes of place and time than the reader can count.
The remarkable thing is that the flashbacks from the present to multiple locations and eras in the past do not become confusing or redundant. Chacko’s story is a chameleon whose tail never breaks off in the reader’s hand. We follow the plot from the island of Rhodes in 1522 to the nearby island of Kos in 1919 as if time is as fluid as the sea between those two patches of land in the Dodecanese. These events lead seamlessly to the journal of Count Adriano Sanguini as it advances the story to the present, where Samson Mondieu, the man who is hunting the Byzantium Stone, falls in love with the count’s granddaughter.
A storyboard of grand proportions would be needed to track all these “changes”–if that were necessary. It’s not. Samson leapfrogs continents and centuries with skill and hardly a blink of the cosmic eye. He knows by the time he reaches Italy that the Byzantium Stone is not so much an object as an obsession that has escalated through every age in this millennium, since the fall of Constantinople in 1204. And he knows that his job is to deliver the obsession–which is now the key to the future–to an obscenely rich man who will employ the stone as a lever to everlasting fame. How Samson passes the baton to the man is the most satisfying part of this very satisfying book.
From the reviewers:
THE BYZANTIUM STONE is a lot of things other than a love story, but it’s not the old-fashioned kind either. Samson, who is hunting a missing manuscript and its centerpiece, a fabulous gemstone, meets Teresa, whose grandfather brought the manuscript into the modern age. The two get together in the Italian lake country, which is as wonderful as you’d expect. When the story breaks off to London, then New York, it literally explodes into the past. In the end we get to know everyone who ever touched this strange stone, and how they lived and loved. And that was plenty. That was enough to make us wonder if we do it best. — The Sage of Morton Street
The Byzantium Stone is a very interesting book that moves between ancient and modern and East and West. You don’t have to believe all the stories you hear, but you have to pay attention to the direction they point. It’s always toward the money. Scarcity drives this book and a rare gem is a symbol of it. So just keep your eye peeled for who’s got the cash in the end. — SaritaSD
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