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The French Blue: A Novel of the 17th Century
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The French Blue: A Novel of the 17th Century

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Between the years 1630-1668, the French gem merchant, Jean Baptiste Tavernier made six voyages to Persia and India. His true exploits by land and sea go far beyond the ink and paper exploits of fictional adventurers. Tavernier met and did business with some of the world's most powerful princes and romanced some of the most beautiful women.
Hardcover, 1st., 584 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Brunswick House Press (first published 2009)
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Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chrissie by: Lauren Teitelbaum

I finished the book last night. This was for me a four star book. It is an adventure story about Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's life. It is historical fiction. I preferred the historical aspects of the story. Descriptions of people and places and customs were done magnificently. I was less drawn to the plot of the story. I enjoyed reading the separate episodes. I loved the chapter about Princess Jahamara and the Kama Sutra. You smile. Sex was delightfully depicted. This book is filled w
Oct 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Misfit, Chrissy, Tara
The French Blue is a fascinating debut historical fiction novel. It is about Jean Baptiste Tavernier, the son of a cartographer, who finds his fortune as a gem trader. The novel is drawn from Tavernier's own memoirs of his travels, mixed with knowledge of gemstones, genuine historical research, and some imaginative storytelling to tie together Tavernier's life and fill in gaps in the historical record. It is quite lengthy, but grabbed me in instantaneously, thanks to marvelous prose and electrif ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Apr 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Lance
Recommended to Tara by: Chrissie, Lauren
Having given up this book previously due to my own lack of interest, I was convinced by numerous friends and some tantalizing references to finish it. I should have left well enough alone, but now I can be completely fair in my review and rating. My opinions below remain the same. Every woman in this book EXCEPT Jean's mother and Anne of Austria comes across as a "Bond" girl. NOT FOR ME. Madeleine, having been a strong and likeable woman at first is a greedy and unlikeable (I'm thinking 5 letter ...more
I did read the e-book from Amazon, not a hard copy. 17th century gem trade and all the elements involved. I thought it was wonderful. For me, it was a rather an adventure-biography in sort of the same way as was Marco Polo's journeys in reading them many years ago. I believe it was Harold Lamb's accounts, and I never really forgot them. I think, also Theodora of Byzantium. Gentle, non-judgemental, historically accurate although things could go over my head without my recognizing every little thi ...more
Robyn Hawk
Sep 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing

The French Blue is being promoted as the back story of the Hope diamond...but this book is so much more!

Through the telling of the life of Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Richard Wise gives us a glimpse into life in the 17th century. Sure, Wise covers the nobility that you all ready know about...but he also brings to life the daily life of the peasant, the retailer, the stone cutter and the miners he meets along the way.

It is no surprise that the son of a cartographer would develop a wanderlust, a need
Kara Jorges
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I count myself lucky that I was invited to be part of the advance reader pool for this novel. It’s a rich tapestry of a story that drew me in as I read and stayed with me long after I finished. Before picking it up, I had never heard of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and hadn’t given the royal jewel collections of the world and how they got to be so much thought. Now, I have been both educated and enriched.

Tavernier was the son of a Parisian mapmaker in the 1600’s and grew up with wanderlust. As a youn
Jun 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was a gem trader in the seventeenth century who completed six voyages through Persia and India and is perhaps most widely remembered for his discovery of The French Blue; an enormous blue diamond that was eventually recut into The Hope Diamond. Tavernier's life and astounding adventurers form the basis of Richard W. Wise's historical fiction work The French Blue: An Illustrated Novel of the Seventeenth Century.

Wise did a magnificent job in choosing the subject for his boo
Ronald Roseborough
There are a few books that you feel you have to rush through to see what will happen next. Then when you have finished, you wish that it could have continued. This is one of those books. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, was a traveler, merchant and gem trader extraordinaire. In the mid 1600's, he left his native France to travel to Persia, India, and the Far East to search for the world's rarest gems. During his six voyages, that spanned over thirty-six years, he met and traded with kings, princes, shah ...more
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book should have been titled something more along the lines of "The Life and Adventures of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier" as it was more about him and only a little bit about the diamond known as the French Blue. I had expected a story about the diamond itself, which started out as the Great Blue but ultimately became the Hope Diamond. So it was disappointing that it took 500 some pages to even get to Jean-Baptiste acquiring the diamond. And the book ends with the sale of the diamond to King Loui ...more
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a historical fiction novel about a gem merchant during the 17th century who made several journeys to the east and discovered the diamond that would become the hope diamond. The stories are really interesting and based on several books published by Tavernier myself. It is a unique glimpse at the life of a European merchant during the 1600s. Its an enjoyable read and one that reads very quickly. However I thought the writing could have been better and there were several typos including as ...more
Interesting historical novel about the man who discovered the Hope Diamond. Apparently based on his own books, bestsellers at the time. Enjoyed learning about different gemstones and the gem trade. Illustrations added a lot to the story. Ending seemed rather abrupt - I would have liked to know something about his life once he gained his peerage and settled down, but perhaps nothing more IS known.
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
A thrilling, swashbuckling read. The main reason I gave it 4 stars is because there are occasional spelling errors (using "peeked" instead of "peaked" to describe a man's appearance, for example) and there's an entire line missing between two pages. Also, the narrative gets a bit disjointed towards the end, but the beginning and middle more than make up for it. If you like reading historical adventure, I'd highly recommend this.
Bertha Pierce
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous novel filled with little known facts and anecdotes about one of the world's oldest vocations, the gem trade.

I enjoyed traveling with Jean Baptiste through the adventurous days of the 17th Century.

I read Richard Wise's first book, Secrets of The Gem Trade and all I can say is that he has grown with practice.

Highly recommended to those interested in fact filled adventure yarns.
Dec 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Gem dealers make their money during the negotiation, not on the quality of their goods. Richard Wise does a fine job of exposing the art of the deal. He also brings history to life and throws in a bit of romance. I found the book pretty intriguing. I have always wanted to know more about the man who unearthed the now named "Hope" diamond from India 400 years ago. An excellent read.
Suzanne Krueger
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
The story of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier,an adventurer, traveler and gem trader. Covers his life and travels and discovery of the gem known as 'The French Blue'(Hope Diamond). Set in the 17th century, each chapter is a tale of it's own. I especially liked the Middle East settings (Persia and India); eerie, mysterious and sumptuous and Paris before and during the reign of Louis XIV.
Barbra Luce-turner
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
My weekend of the Fourth of July read---as a former hsitory teacher, it had a strong appeal to me and as someone fascinated by the "curse" of the Hope Diamond reading about the diamond from centuries before. The characters are stronged limned and I think most readers can relate to and engage with more than one of them. Lots of surprises in this book.
Dec 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a novel that has a great subject and is quite gripping despite a relatively flattish prose. A panorama of 17 century France and various Asian countries and following an extraordinary (and true in outline) tale I enjoyed it a lot though I wished the prose would have been less pedestrian. Still at least an A- and recomended
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"The French Blue is a great adventure. If you are interested in both a terrific, spellbinding read and learning the history of gems and one of the oldest trades known to man from one of the world's great experts, I can't recommend the book highly enough."
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
THE FRENCH BLUE swept me away, and I really enjoyed this historical novel. (Now after reading the title, I can't stop thinking about what can I learn from Jean-Baptiste Tavernier as a businessman; this guy had guts!)
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A rare diamond of an historical novel! Travel Asia and the Middle East with Jean Baptiste Tavernier in search of diamonds, rubies and pearls.
Debbie Sarvis
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
So many books, so little time. I had this book on my To Read list for 9 years, at the time it was not in my local library, and not available in my local bookstores. I kept it on my list as I have had a fascination with the Hope diamond since I was a young girl. I can clearly remember what it looked like and how it was displayed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. Finally, I located this book on Thriftbooks for the princely sum of $3.49 I felt a bit guilty that Mr Wise would not get much ...more
A pretty fascinating story--I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I might! I didn't really know anything at all about the Hope Diamond, and this definitely got me interested in learning more about its history. I'd also never heard of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier; that guy led quite a life! I loved all the engravings and sketches and diagrams included in this book, and especially liked that they appeared in the body of the book instead of in a separate appendix; they really added to the story.

I had
Dec 15, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a Goodreads giveaway and I am really glad that I won it! It was a great history lesson full of adventure.
The content, history, and grandeur of this novel makes me want to give it a four star rating. There were some great moments, like when Tavernier first traveled to Persia, when he met Madeline for the first time, or when he finally found the French Blue and succeeded in selling it. I found the last 3rd of the book hard to put down. I think it is amazing to know that this man lived and
Mel Mayberry
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier traveled extensively throughout the Europe, the Middle East and Africa in search of gems worthy of his clientele, including King Louis XIV. Finally culminating in acquisition of the "French Blue" diamond of over 100 carats (which later was to become the Hope Diamond), Tavernier's search for the finest gem in the world was completed. Although the book is filled with vivid descriptions of the places and people Tavernier visited in his travels, this reader was distracted by ...more
Jun 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked the book but it was a little slow moving at times. The cultural references were interesting as were the gem trading references. However, there was a lot of detail involved in the writing that was sometimes kind of confusing. Once you got involved in the story, it was great, but the tempo of the book kept on speeding up and slowing down so it was hard to keep the momentum going. All in all though the book was very interesting.
Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: xpired-2010-read
This was one of the best books I've read in a while. It had everything-travel, intrigue, love, and the global search for beautiful gems. An intriguing story written well with a lot of good characters.
May 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful adventure story, blending fact with fiction. Anyone interested in early gem trading will enjoy this journey.
Christy Cook
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
A little dull
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Richard W. Wise is the author of three books. His latest, and second novel, Redlined, a literary mystery/thriller set in 1970s Boston.

His previous books include: Secrets Of The Gem Trade, The Connoisseur's Guide To Precious Gemstones. First published in 2003, the book became a critically acclaimed best seller. The revised and expanded second edition was published in November,

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