The Gem Merchants

The Gem Merchants

by Ray Ferguson

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Mark Branson, a young British emerald buyer, has every reason to remember all these facets as he journeys from the sedate, gentlemanly world of Hatton Garden,
London’s center for precious stone trading – to the deep African bush in search of these glittering green gems.

Mark knows only too well that anyone caught emerald trading would land in jail with little or no resource to any Embassy. Armed only with his lucky emerald,
given to him by an African mine owner, and his quick-witted inventive mind,
he has to learn swiftly who to trust, who to bribe, and who to avoid.

In a world where jewels are expensive and life is expendable, he encounters hard-
drinking Irish missionaries, smooth double-dealing Indian money dealers, hostile Afrikaners, and tantalizing local women – not to mention the trigger-happy Zambian
Police and Army.

Based on the author’s own extraordinary experiences in gemstone trading, Mark’s exploits have a ring of authenticity that cannot be faked.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781483511719
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication date: 10/01/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 285
File size: 1 MB

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The Gem Merchants 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
RichardWise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Ray Ferguson's exciting new novel The Gem Merchants, the young protagonist Mark Branson has achieved what every gem dealer dreams of. He is on the scene at the time and place of a major gem strike. In this case, the place is Zambia just as a major cache of emeralds has been unearthed.Branson, the gem buyer for a small London firm, manages to purchase a king's ransom in rough emerald crystals, but to hold on to them and get them out of the country, Branson must navigate his way through a series of obstacles including greedy politicians, sadistic military men and a grasping Indian gem dealer .The book is realistic and well paced. Ferguson show an adept hand in character development and a good sense of place. No mere cardboard cutouts, his characters live , breath and are quite believable. Along the way, the author, himself a gem dealer currently living in Madagascar, teaches us a good bit about the gem trade and how it operates across the world. I highly recommend The Gem Merchants to anyone who is interested in a fast paced, entirely believable and authentic account of the adventurous side of the international gem trade
trekie70 More than 1 year ago
Mark Branson is a young gem trader, specifically emeralds. He spends most of his time on the "Continent" in Zambia searching for that one elusive emerald that will set him up for life. This is not an easy task, however, because everyone else is also after that one emerald and will do anything to eliminate the competition. Mark must elude the military on a daily basis in order to make the best deals he can with the local tribes to mine for the emeralds. When a young lady at a mission commits suicide, her brother, an officer in the Zambian military, sets his sights on revenge and Mark is his first target. Mark must try to escape back to England with his emeralds or his next breath may be his last. The Gem Merchants by Ray Ferguson is about the profitable and often bloody precious gem trade. At one time and perhaps still, so-called "blood diamonds" were a huge problem that few knew about until the feature film of the same name. I was hoping that this book would be similar to the movie-it was not. Unfortunately, at times the story simply drifted from page to page. While the book does demonstrate the author's obvious expertise on the subject of precious gems, it lacks focus toward a specific goal. Whereas in a murder mystery the goal is to solve the murder and apprehend the criminal, this book offers few clear clues as to how it might end. I was expecting a much better book than it turned out to be. I encourage this author to try again but I cannot in good conscience this book more than 2 out of 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The back cover of the book says it all: "Mined, Stolen, Bought, Sold, Coveted, and Killed For!" This describes in a nutshell the life gem trader Ray Ferguson lived for many years before writing "The Gem Merchants," a fascinating story about a young man engaged in the perilous occupation of emerald trading in Africa. Mark Branson understands all too well the dangers he faces each time he travels from the sedate and gentlemanly streets of Hatton Garden, London's center for precious stone trading, to the deep bush country of Africa in search of emeralds. Emerald trading is strictly illegal in Africa and if caught, he can expect to be imprisoned with no recourse to any embassy or in worse case, to lose his life. Meanwhile, he plies his trade armed only with a lucky gem given to him by an African mine owner, a generous supply of money to be converted to local currency supplied by his sponsor, plus his quick and inventive mind. During Branson's journeys in search for gems he encounters a variety of disparate and often hostile characters including hard-drinking Irish missionaries, suspicious and uncooperative Afrikaners, African politicians on the take, a smooth-talking, double-dealing Indian trader, and worst of all, the trigger-happy Zambian Police and Army. His greatest challenge is to learn quickly who to trust, who to bribe and who to avoid. It is a challenge fraught with dangers. As it turns out, Branson's most reliable ally while in Africa is the Irish priest who runs a missionary compound near his base of operation. Father O'Hara provides Mark with a ready source of black market local currency for his gem trading because he believes, "The work of God has to be financed and sometimes it has to be done by devious means." He also offers the compound as a place of refuge when Mark is being pursued or harassed by his enemies. During one of his stays in the compound Mark meets a beautiful young woman named Marian who works there. She quickly falls in love with him and shares his bed whenever she can. But while the compound provides a source of refuge and comfort, his stays there almost result in his undoing. When Rose, another comely resident, arrives at his door late at night filled with hashish-fueled lust he found it too difficult to refuse. The second night, however, he would not let her enter his room. This was a mistake. It seems that Rose's brother was a well-placed official with the secret police. Afterwards she reported his gem trading activities to her brother. It was a classic case of the woman scorned and what happens next almost cost him his life. "The Gem Merchants" by Ray Ferguson is a fine story filled with action, suspense, mystery and suspense; all wrapped in a package of authenticity that can only come from an author who knows what he is talking about. It's a great read!