Cover image for Diamond boy
Diamond boy
Williams, Michael, 1962- , author.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
Physical Description:
384 pages : maps ; 22 cm
"When Patson's family moves to [the] Marange region of Zimbabwe, he begins working in the mines, searching for blood diamonds, until government soldiers arrive and Patson is forced to journey to South Africa in search of his missing sister and a better life"--
Reading Level:
Young Adult.

HL 820 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.5 13.0 170671.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



My father says that a journey should always change your life in some way. Well, when you have nothing, I suppose a journey promises everything.
"Diamonds for everyone." That's what fifteen-year-old Patson Moyo hears when his family arrives in the Marange diamond fields. Soon Patson is working in the mines along with four friends, pooling their profits for a chance at a better life. Each of them hopes to find a girazi , a priceless stone that could change their circumstances forever. But when the government's soldiers come to Marange, Patson's world is shattered.
Set against the backdrop of Zimbabwe's brutal recent history, Diamond Boy is the story of a young man who succumbs to greed but finds his way out through a transformative journey to South Africa in search of his missing sister, in search of freedom, and in search of himself.
A high-stakes, harrowing adventure in the blood-diamond fields of southern Africa, from the critically acclaimed author of Now Is the Time for Running .

Author Notes

Michael Williams is a writer of plays, musicals, operas, and novels, and is the Managing Director of Cape Town Opera in South Africa. He is the author of several books, including the highly praised young adult novels Crocodile Burning and Now Is the Time for Running . He has written operas for young people based on African mythology as well as the libretti for symphonic operas that have premiered around the world. He finds writing fiction to be the perfect antidote to the drama of keeping an opera company alive in Africa.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When Patson's impoverished Zimbabwean family travels to their country's Marange diamond fields in search of a new life, nothing but trouble awaits them. The father's promised job as a teacher doesn't materialize, and both he and Patson find themselves working as miners. Their lives are suddenly at further risk when the military assumes control of the fields. Patson flees and steps on a land mine, losing most of his left leg. Still, against all odds, he must journey to South Africa to rescue his little sister, who has been abducted. In hot pursuit is his bête noire, Commander Jesus, head of the forces that took over the mines and murdered hundreds of miners in the process. Why the evil commander is pursuing Patson can't be revealed here, but suffice it to say, high stakes are involved. Williams' fast-paced, tension-packed story is filled with cliff-hangers, perils, and improbabilities that are occasionally overwhelming and push the story, at times, dangerously close to melodrama. In the end, though, this is a satisfying and eminently readable novel from the author of Crocodile Burning (1992).--Cart, Michael Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Williams turns in a riveting tale about 15-year-old Patson Moyo, who becomes a diamond farmer, working in the Marange diamond fields of 2006 Zimbabwe, to help provide for his family. Patson risks life and limb, hoping to find common ngodas or ultra-rare girazis-diamonds that could change his life for the better. But when the army moves in and takes the fields for themselves, Patson's freedom is stripped away. A rapid string of brutal tragedies follow, including death and dismemberment, and Patson's only hope for survival is to follow his younger sister to South Africa, aided by a mysterious Congolese mercenary. All the while, he is relentlessly hunted by a powerful military leader who thinks Patson is the key to finding girazis. Williams draws from real events to bring this harrowing story to life, infusing Patson's narrative with terrifying accuracy. Along the way, the story crosses over with Williams's 2011 novel, Now Is the Time for Running, though readers need not be familiar with that book to be gripped and horrified by the troubles facing Patson and his nation. Ages 12-up. Agent: Wendy Schmalz, Wendy Schmalz Agency. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Patson Moyo's life is perfectly ordinary. He is on the cross-country team with his best friend, Sheena. His father, a teacher, is often a little dreamy but a wonderful storyteller. His perky little sister, Grace, loves to play games on his cell phone. Patson never would have guessed that his smart, university-graduate father, who had won the Outstanding Teacher Award four years in a row, can barely make ends meet, due to government corruption and the massive devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar. Egged on by Patson's stepmother, Sylvia, the Moyos decide to improve their situation by traveling to Marage where Sylvia's brother lives and it is claimed that there are "diamonds for everyone." The power of Patson's story is rooted in the very mundane rites of daily life that even modern American teenagers will find familiar-the emoticon-filled texting between Patson and his sister, the angst and anxiety of a kiss between friends-juxtaposed with the real and menacing danger of the brutal whims of corrupt army officers and traitorous fellow miners. Diamond Boy is a companion novel to Williams's other book about war-torn Zimbabwe, Now Is the Time for Running (Little Brown, 2013). Readers of his past work will find a few familiar characters here, but even readers new to Williams's fiction will be similarly engrossed by his deft, unflinching prose. Teens will be left haunted by Patson's harsh yet essentially hopeful journey, where greed, despair, luck, and wonder intertwine on the diamond fields of Marage.-Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.