Cover image for The love of stones
The love of stones
Hill, Tobias, 1970-
Personal Author:
First US edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Picador USA, [2002]

Physical Description:
396 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"First published in Great Britain by Faber and Faber Limited"--T.p. verso.
Format :


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Burrowing through the goldsmiths' quarters and hidden archives of London, Tokyo, and Istanbul, Katharine Sterne is on the trail of a ruby, diamond, and pearl brooch once worn by Queen Elizabeth I. Interwoven with the tale of her hunt is that of a pair of Iraqi Jewish brothers who traveled to London two hundred years earlier with fortunes made from an unearthed jar of priceless stones. Spanning two continents and six centuries, The Love of Stones follows three very different people, each consumed by the same desire--possession of the legendary jewel--which binds their stories together in an irresistible quest.

Author Notes

Tobias Hill was born on March 30, 1970 in London, England. He is an award-winning British poet, essayist, writer of short stories and novelist. Hill was educated at Hampstead School and Sussex University before spending two years teaching in Japan. Hill's early work appeared in magazines such as Envoi and The Frogmore Papers and published four collections,Year of the Dog, Midnight in the City of Clocks, (influenced by his experience of life in Japan) Zoo and Nocturne in Chrome & Sunset Yellow.

In 1999, Hill published his debut novel, Underground. The Love of Stones (2001), Hill's second novel, earned wider recognition. Hill's third novel, The Cryptographer, was published in 2003. Tobias Hill's fourth novel, The Hidden, was published in January 2009. He made the Ondaatje Prize 2015 shortlist with his title, What Was Promised.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Katharine Sterne is a modern-day huntress who is fixated on acquiring the long-lost medieval jewel called the Three Brethren. Named for the three great rubies flanking its enormous central diamond, the Brethren has graced the shoulder knot of a duke and the regalia of English queens, but the stones will know no single master as they elude all who try to harness their beauty throughout the centuries. Sterne is only one of many admirers intoxicated by the splendor of the piece, following it from Europe to Asia as a full-time occupation and at great personal peril. Hill conveys Katharine's all-consuming obsession with finding this jewel by writing her as a willful one-dimensional character, living from a back pack and moving from one exotic locale to the next in a spellbound state of determination. This novel is definitely an impromptu lesson in gemstones and a fascinating account of a jewel's movement through history. Hill is quite successful at breathing life into an inanimate object and demonstrating an intriguing obsession of a different kind. --Elsa Gaztambide

Publisher's Weekly Review

Diamonds may be forever, but tracking down a 15th-century set of rubies is fraught with minute-to-minute tension for jewel dealer Katharine Sterne in British writer Hill's latest, a remarkably accomplished and literate novel that incorporates both historical and intriguing thriller subplots. Obsessed with finding a legendary stone set called "The Three Brethren," Sterne starts her search in Turkey, where she must first locate a rich, eccentric British woman who teases her with a lead about the whereabouts of the gems. As Sterne's quest continues, Hill introduces a parallel historical subplot dealing with the provenance of the stones. A key part of the collection's history is traced through the journey of Salman and Daniel Levy, Iranian jeweler brothers who emigrate to England, where they work on an important project for Queen Elizabeth I. Masterfully juxtaposing alluring historical detail and exotic locales as he narrates the story of the gems, Hill sends his protagonist on a globe-trotting adventure that culminates with Sterne's trip to Japan, where she unearths the final clues while trying to stay one step ahead of a nefarious, unnamed third party. Hill does a better job of bringing history to life than he does the driven but emotionally repressed Katharine Sterne, while the Levys fare better as a more lively counterpoint to the stone's fascinating and illustrious history. The dexterous combination of historical scope, lush yet precise storytelling, and twist-and-turn subterfuge and intrigue makes this sophisticated novel both challenging and edifying. (Jan.) Forecast: While Hill has previously published a novel (Underground) and a short story collection in the U.K., this is his first book to appear in the U.S. Picador's bookstore promotion contest, whose winner will receive a gift from Tiffany's, and an eye-catching jacket featuring Queen Elizabeth should attract attention to what could be one of this season's sleepers. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved