Book Review: The Diamond Hunter by Fiona McIntosh

The Diamond Hunter…

About the Book:

When six-year-old Clementine Knight loses her mother to malaria during the 1870s diamond rush in southern Africa, she is left to be raised by her destitute, alcoholic father, James. Much of Clementine’s care falls to their trusty Zulu companion, Joseph One-Shoe, and the unlikely pair form an unbreakable bond.

When the two men uncover a large, flawless diamond, James believes he has finally secured their future, but the discovery of the priceless gem comes at a huge cost. A dark bargain is struck to do whatever it takes to return Clementine to a respectable life at the Grant family’s sprawling estate in northern England – while the diamond disappears.

Years on, long-buried memories of Clementine’s childhood in Africa and her beloved Joseph One-Shoe are triggered, as she questions who she can trust. To solve the mystery of what happened to her loved ones all those years ago, she must confront a painful history and finally bring justice to bear.

From the harsh desert of Africa’s Kimberley diamond mine to the misty, green plains of northern England, The Diamond Hunter is a breathtaking adventure story about trust and betrayal, the ultimate quest for truth, and a love that is truly priceless.

My Thoughts:

The Diamond Hunter is a rich and full story in the tradition of a grand Victorian family saga. I really enjoyed this latest release by Fiona McIntosh. There is so much happening within the pages of this story, yet, it’s all perfectly paced with a stellar plot that had me entranced from start to finish.

‘She felt instantly illuminated and free. It was as if a door was yawning open and she was being ushered through it – back to childhood, the butterfly her guide. She could smell Africa; she could taste it on the wind and hear the haunting sounds of the wilderness in her soul. It was spring in Kimberley and butterflies were emerging to paint the air with their bright orange wings. As a child she had always thought that a famed artist must have come up with the elegant design painted on their wings, the orange striking against the black and white tips.’

There were characters within this story that I loved, some that I hated, and some that had so many shades of grey to them that I couldn’t settle on anything other than empathy. You know you’re reading a special book when both the characters and the plot stand out as exceptional. I loved the history that this story builds from: the diamonds, Africa, female emancipation, the emancipation of slaves; all set against a backdrop of the British Empire in the Victorian era.

‘Don’t feel bad, feel driven – take action. There’s always room for more compassion in the world.’

Inspired in part by the author’s own childhood, I felt that this story had a realistic edge to it that nudged it over the line from being a good book to a great one. Issues were portrayed with both historical accuracy and sensitivity, a delicate balance that only very skilled writers seem able to accomplish. It’s no wonder Fiona McIntosh is one of Australia’s favourite authors with a long waiting list for her masterclasses. She sure knows how to craft a brilliantly captivating story. Highly recommended.


Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House Australia for providing me with a copy of The Diamond Hunter for review.

About the Author:

Fiona McIntosh is an internationally bestselling author of novels for adults and children. She co-founded an award-winning travel magazine with her husband, which they ran for fifteen years while raising their twin sons before she became a full-time author. Fiona roams the world researching and drawing inspiration for her novels, and runs a series of highly respected fiction masterclasses. She calls South Australia home.

The Diamond Hunter
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Released November 2019

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