ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 13

Fast-paced tale packed with gems of knowledge

By Ayesha Inoon

Combining adventure, mystery, intrigue and romance in a story that spans three continents, Nihal de Silva's first published novel 'Chatoyancy for the Tiger’ is a clever blend of fact and fiction. The story revolves around the world’s largest Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eye – a valuable gemstone that has been discovered in Ratnapura.

Initially owned by a wealthy gem connoisseur who plans to launch the gem in a spectacular ceremony, the Cat’s Eye is also coveted by terrorist organisations – the Al Qaeda to fund their activities, and by the LTTE leader as a symbol of fortune to boost their flagging morale.

As the terrorists make an attempt to snatch the gemstone during the launch, it disappears in the ensuing confusion, triggering a transcontinental chase across Europe and Africa and leading up to an ingenious scheme to eliminate the LTTE. Weaving the story together is the romantic love story of Nicole, a stunning model flown in from London for the launch, and her billionaire client.

What make the story more than just another exciting tale, are the fascinating descriptions of gemstones that are woven in as well as certain geographical details. The author’s comprehensive knowledge of gemmology is revealed as he describes the chatoyancy effect of the Cat’s Eye, and how it is achieved, as well as information on other valuable gemstones and how gem mining is done in Sri Lanka. The descriptions are inserted into the story in such a way that they do not detract from the continuity of the fast-paced tale. The reader is also given an insight into the rich geographical variety of Sri Lanka. From Colombo to Nuwara Eliya, from the lush wilderness of the Sinharaja Forest and Adam’s Peak, to the war-ridden North, as the settings change, clear pictures of the different environments are painted with words.

Further enriching the tale are details of various locations where the action takes place abroad – the exotic scenes in the East African nation of Tanzania and diverse sophisticated areas in London such as Chelsea.

With theories of how terrorist plots are formulated, descriptions of military establishments such as the SAS of the British Army, and action packed clashes between terrorists and their adversaries, the book is sure to keep you absorbed right up to its unexpected climax.

The author, Nihal de Silva, has spent several years abroad, mostly in London, where he had the distinction of being the first Sri Lankan to achieve the status of Chartered Statistician and also worked for the United Nations. He is currently Director and Country Manager at the Lanka Market Research Bureau. His childhood love of creative writing and weaving intricate plots was rekindled by the launch of the British Council’s Write Clique, for which he submitted several pieces.‘Chatoyancy for the Tiger’ is his maiden effort in novel writing and is available at all leading bookstores islandwide.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.