Ariel Allison File:
Reviewed by Eric Wilson
Eye of the God by Ariel Allison
"...a sparkling debut..."
The striking cover gives us only a clue to the thieves and historical curses revolving around the renowned Hope Diamond. Alleged to have been stolen from the eye of a Hindu god, the diamond sits in the Smithsonian, and the book's heroine, Dr. Abigail Mitchell, soon finds herself in the sites of the thieves due to her responsibilities at the museum.
Ariel Allison takes readers on parallel journeys. One of these paths follows Abby as she tries to deal with personal, romantic, and professional issues--all of which involve the massive blue diamond. She will discover things about herself along the way, as well as betrayals on a number of levels. The other path follows the diamond from the 1600s to the present, from India to France to our nation's capital. Allison's research is meticulous, and we see ways greed has cursed the lives of the jewel's owners. In the present day, the thieves (part of a group called the Collectors) feed into the same greed, plotting to take the Hope Diamond for themselves, using Abby as a means to get close to their target.
As the historical threads lose some their tension, the modern-day story accelerates, revealing a few surprises along the way. I was reminded of the fun I had watching "The Thomas Crown Affair." Although a number of circumstances seem a little too convenient (for example: a man who can shoot a bow with a great accuracy, yet fails to aim a gun well from very close distance), the book does a great job of bringing all the pieces together, wrapping things up while leaving us interest in a possible follow-up.
With such a sparkling debut, we can only, uh . . . hope a second book is already in the works.
Eric Wilson is the author of twelve novels that explore Earth's tension between heaven and hell, the latest of which is One Step Away, a twist on the story of Job. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters. Visit him online at his website.