If you like the Tunnels Series by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams then take a look at this… A special stone hidden in a quiet cove in Cornwall more than 200 years ago, is the object of a desperate search by two opposing factions. When Harry and his school friends discover a code whilst holidaying in the cove, they assume it will lead them to hidden treasure. But dark forces, with seemingly supernatural powers, are working against them. The teenagers soon find themselves caught up in a deadly battle, and will be lucky to escape with their lives, let alone get their hands on the treasure.
Richard Smith found inspiration for “The Darziods’ Stone” in Cornwall, where half of the story is set. He said that research is very important. So, for “The Darziods’ Stone”, he stayed at a cove in Cornwall after looking for one in books and on Google, eventually opting for Polkerris, (Par PL24 2TL) on the southern coast, a perfect place to base his fictional cove on. While he stayed there for a number of hours, he constantly wrote down his observations and feelings about the cove. So, you can be sure that when he wrote about his characters’ feelings and emotions in the story, he did so with conviction!
Therefore, weaving a story on writing what you love and know – even if it means going to the spot to get the feel, really helped to create a very ‘real’ background, as is the case of the cove and its often eerie descriptions in “The Darziods’ Stone”, which has quite and interesting and diverse plot, as I discovered. Also, ‘There’s nothing like a good mystery to unfold when you like conspiracy theories,” Richard Smith says, and that he has certainly done in “The Darziods’ Stone”!
Review heading: A Mystery Stone and Finding Peace
17 October 2017 Paperback 398 pages
“Categorised as Young Adult>Mysteries & Thrillers>Fantasy & Supernatural/Mystery & Detective, this story certainly lives up to its categories! The Darziods’ Stone begins with a backstory and a fair dose of Historical Fiction, against a background of a quiet cove in Cornwall. The plot is set in motion during 1798 when Captain Wragg, Master of HMS Samson, a frigate in service of the Royal Navy, decides to stash away some captured goods for himself and a few of his crew members. Right here in the beginning, the story draws the reader in, because he also has eight so-called Alchemani – savants – as captives. Their leader, Alain De Richelieu, has discovered that a certain stone has great powers, and he wants Captain Wragg to give it back. Unfortunately, the captain has no intention of doing so. When the two opposing sides have a confrontation – and the author gives nothing away about its outcome at this point – really moving the plot and only hints at the possibility that the modern-day cove in Cornwall – cloaked in mystery and all sorts of scary legends – has something to do with that fateful night in July 1798: perfectly done for the author’s intended target market – teenagers, but really anyone who enjoys a decent mystery/thriller which keeps you on the edge of your chair!
The modern-day story rolls into action at this very same cove in Cornwall when five teenagers – frustrated and bored when considering their vacation prospects – go camping at this cove with one of the teenager’s parents and an older sister. Before long, they begin looking around and as is typical of a group of daring youngsters, they discover a map, which changes everything. Suddenly, their holiday changes from boring to thrilling and dangerous. The plot unfolds progressively as the teenagers make startling discoveries and confront opposing sides – who are the good ones – not clear yet, as is the reason for wanting the stone – who is to be trusted? All the teenagers want is to find a treasure, but they discover much more as the tension builds and they are targeted by some unknown forces.
Niggly negatives for me: I do not like to see even a smattering of strong language such as using the F… word in literature which will be read by younger people; there were a few punctuation errors* in the second half of the book as well as one or two words repeated which distract from the overall enjoyment of reading this story. (*These have now been corrected).
Pluses for me: The plot is intriguing – young teenagers battling against a mysterious and sinister group until they meet the good guys – A.J. and Willow – at which point they embark on a search which puts their lives at risk; the conduct, speech and motivations of the teenagers, their secret agent friends, and the dark forces are all well-developed, making for most believable characters; the plot picks up speed and moves at such a pace that there is not a moment of boredom anywhere; descriptive scene setting is good and enhances the tension which can be expected from many of the situations which follow; the real life setting in Cornwall is very appealing and descriptive, as are the descriptions of Stonehenge and London; not excessive violence, rather a story of friendship and loyalty, putting own desires on hold for the greater good – especially when the time comes and each of the teenagers have to make a choice; the plot moves at a fast pace – necessary if you want to satisfy your reader target market; the multi-faceted story has a surprise ending and just enough elements of Science Fiction to keep the story fresh until the last page.
The length of the book is good value for money as is the use of black and white illustrations throughout, adding interest to the settings of a well-researched story and put together with much deliberation, which shines through whenever the plot takes an unusual or unexpected turn; a highly recommended read, not just for younger readers, but also older readers who enjoy a fast-paced thriller with unexpected twists and turns, but without the excessive violence or explicit sex scene scenarios often present in books for adult readers. I was first introduced to The Darziods’ Stone by a fellow book club member and was gifted a paperback copy, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.”
Richard Smith’s motto is: NEVER GIVE UP: IT CAN HAPPEN! And his first book, “Time Trap”, and now “The Darziods’ Stone” is proof of that. Born in London, the youngest of three children, Richard has loved writing stories since he was 10; and regularly got top marks for his essays at school – where his favourite subject was English. After leaving school, he worked in a succession of dead-end jobs. None brought him as much satisfaction as writing – which he kept up, with his mother’s constant encouragement. Richard credits her father, a taxi driver, who enjoyed writing as a hobby, for his talent with words. Researching and writing “The Darziods’ Stone” took seven years, including several periods of inactivity, but with his mother’s words – “never give up!” – ringing in his ears, he pulled out all the stops and completed it with a flourish.
Even though Richard Smith admits that his writing is sometimes very sporadic – he writes when he gets the urge to do so – but when he goes on a charge, he sometimes writes every day for more than a fortnight. He believes it’s important to always have a notebook for ideas and reminders, which come in handy during such writing spurts.
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