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What is the Baglioni sapphire? For Timothy Cross, it is the means to escape his humdrum life at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, but he soon discovers that for others it is the path to wealth and power - and that they will go to desperate ends to find it. 

What begins as an exciting adventure through the buried past of an Italian city soon becomes a desperate hunt that ends in the deepest reaches of distant Africa. Timothy must face his own fears, his murderous enemies and, ultimately, something much darker...

 

I generally find that a lot of the books that are free with my kindle subscription are rather hit and miss, but this one was a real page turner. If you like an adventure story with a hint of the supernatural/mystical (like I do) and some "Indiana Jones"-style historical detail thrown in then you might also enjoy it. It's not exactly great literature, but definitely kept me entertained. 

 

The premise of the story is the existence of a mythical gem stone known as the Baglioni sapphire, and the book follows the adventures of Timothy Cross, an unwilling hero who finds himself caught in the middle of a struggle to find the sapphire. Timothy starts off as an unwitting dupe of the villain of the piece, who also happens to be the vice-master of his Cambridge college, but then ends up finding the courage to thwart the vice-master's plans. The story starts in Cambridge, but winds its way across to Perugia in Italy and then down to Madagascar in Africa. The main action isn't dated, but seems to be late 1990s / early 2000s. However, my favourite bit is the throw back to 1960's Italy and the references to the WW2 action that took place around Perugia.

 

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