Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Diamond by Julie Baumgold

The Diamond (2005)

by Julie Baumgold

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
382298,882 (2.57)1
  1. 00
    The Sancy Blood Diamond: Power, Greed, and the Cursed History of One of the World's Most Coveted Gems by Susan Ronald (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both books are about important diamonds circulating roughly during the same times. "The Sancy Blood Diamond" is non-fiction, while "The Diamond" is fictional, though it reads more like a history book.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 2 of 2
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Mar 31, 2013 |
Spanning two centuries, this book tells the story of the famous Regent Diamond, and the many historical figures involved with it, including Napoleon Bonaparte, Marie Antoinette, and Louis XIV. The diamond is discovered by a miner in Africa, and falls into the hands of the Pitt family. After cutting the diamond into perfection, the Pitts have a hard time finding a buyer. The stone is so priceless, even kings are unable to afford it. When the stone is bought at last, it goes to France. Going from a court wonder to gathering dust in the treasury numerous times, the Regent survives the French Revolution (when it is stolen by commoners) and the Napoleonic Wars.

This book was written very factually, which an incredible amount of detail. You can tell that little of this book is fiction, and it very often reads like a history book. All of the history fascinated me, and I personally love books presented like this. However, if that is not your taste in reading, this probably is not the book for you.

In the beginning, this book was very interesting. The complex historical depth, with just the tiniest dash of fiction, was very well done. However, the other three quarters of the book grew dull, and there were only a few scenes here and there that interested me. The description of the French Revolution was very good, but it is bordered by pages and pages of yawns.
This isn't exactly a long book, but that doesn't stop it from feeling like it, and the author was often going nowhere. I know that with this type of story, it is not realistic to expect a conventional plot-line. However, this book also lacked vision.

I wanted very much for the Regent diamond to become a sort of character in the book, like the Ring in "The Lord of the Rings." We are always, always aware of the ring's presence in the story. Here, nothing even close. Often, we would be shown events that had little or nothing to do with the diamond, except that such and such person had seen it once in their lives, or something so insignificant as that. I never actually cared enough about the diamond. It almost seemed that the author had used the diamond to just write an account of France's history, and wasn't actually concerned all that much with the jewel.
The Regent was at first portrayed as possibly cursed, which was what intrigued me the most when I read the inside cover. The slave who steals the diamond from the mines cuts his leg open and hides the diamond inside, only to be killed by a man who wants it for himself. At this point in the story, the author says that the diamond "already had blood on it." A curse is mentioned here and there, but this possible aspect of the story dwindles away after a few pages.

All in all, this book was a little below average. ( )
1 vote joririchardson | Nov 26, 2010 |
Showing 2 of 2
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
On October 16, 1816, on the foul island of Saint Helena, in the middle of precisely nowhere in the South Atlantic Ocean, I watched the emperor's hair being cut.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743264819, Hardcover)

The Diamond is a brilliant, dazzling historical novel about a famous diamond -- one of the biggest in the world -- that passed from the hands of William Pitt's grandfather to the French kings and Napoleon, linking many of the most famous personalities of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and serving as the centerpiece for a novel in every way as fascinating as Susan Sontag's The Volcano Lover or Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.

Rich with historical detail, characters, and nonstop drama, the story centers on the famous Regent diamond -- once the largest and most beautiful diamond in the world -- which was discovered in India in the late seventeenth century and bought by the governor of the East India Company, a cunning nabob, trader, and ex-pirate named Thomas Pitt. His son brought it to London, where a Jewish diamond-cutter of genius took two years to fashion it into one of the world's greatest gems.

After hawking it around the courts of Europe, Pitt sold the diamond to Louis XIV's profligate and deeply amoral nephew, the Duc d'Orléans. Raised to glory by this fortune, Pitt's grandsons would rule England and devote their lives to fighting the very Bourbon kings who wore their diamond, the enduring symbol of the rivalry between France and England.

The diamond was worn by Louis XIV, Louis XV, and by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. A beautiful blond whore placed it in her private parts to entice Czar Peter the Great on his visit to Paris. A band of thieves stole it during the bloodiest days of the Revolution. Found in an attic, it was pawned for horses for Napoleon's first campaigns. Napoleon redeemed the diamond and, though his wife Josephine craved it, set it in the hilt of his sword, where it appeared in many of his portraits. After his fall, his young second wife, Marie-Louise, grabbed it when she fled France. The Régent was hidden in innumerable secret places, used by Napoleon III and the ravishing Empress Eugenie to impress Queen Victoria, and finally ended up on display in the Louvre museum, where it remains today, then and now the first diamond of France.

Julie Baumgold, herself the descendant of a family of diamond merchants, tells this extraordinary story through Count Las Cases (author of Le Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène), who writes it in his spare time while in exile with Napoleon I. The book is in Las Cases's words, those of a clever, sophisticated nobleman at home in the old regime as well as in Napoleon's court. As he tells his story, with Napoleon prodding, challenging, and correcting him all the while, they draw closer. The emperor has a kind of love/hate relationship with the diamond, which represents the wealth and fabulous elegance of the French courts as well as the power for good or evil that possessing it confers on its transient masters. He thinks of it as his good luck charm, but is it? For the diamond has its dark side -- murder, melancholy, and downfall ever shadow its light.

A glittering cast of characters parades through The Diamond: a mesmerizing Napoleon and the devoted Las Cases, stuck on Saint Helena with their memories; Louis XIV and his brother, the dissolute Monsieur; Madame, the German princess who married Monsieur; the Scottish financier John Law and Saint-Simon, who sold Pitt's diamond to Madame's depraved son; the depressed Louis XV; and Madame de Pompadour. Here too are the families, the Pitts in England and the Bonapartes in France; the men of Saint Helena; nobles and thieves; Indian diamond merchants and financiers -- nearly everyone of interest and importance from the late seventeenth through the early nineteenth century.

Written with enormous verve and ambition, The Diamond is a treat, a plum pudding of a novel filled with one delicious, funny, disgraceful episode after another. It is grand history and even grander fiction -- a towering work of imagination, research, and narrative skill.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A tale based on the history of the Regent diamond is told from the perspectives of an exiled Napoleon and his biographer and traces the gem's discovery, journey through the courts of Europe, and ownership by Napoleon before his fall.

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
4 wanted
1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (2.57)
2 4
3 2
4 1

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,425,029 books! | Top bar: Always visible