Death Is Forever

Death Is Forever

by Elizabeth Lowell

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Dear Reader,

Sometimes, if you're very lucky, you cango home again. An earlier version of thisbook was titled The Diamond Tiger andcame out in 1993 under the nameAnn Maxwell. When my present publisheroffered me the opportunity of going back tothe novel under the name Elizabeth Lowell,I admit that I hesitated. In the years sincefirst publication, the diamond trade haschanged so greatly that it would beimpossible to update the facts in the book without destroying the very story that hadcompelled me to write in the first place.

But like the diamond trade, my style oftelling a story has also changed over theyears. I decided to revisit the novel becauseI loved it and hoped my new readers wouldas well. Death Is Forever is my favorite kind of story, combining elements of danger, greed, trust, secrets, passions, and death. Enjoy!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060511098
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/30/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 348,106
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.16(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell has more than eighty titles published to date with over twenty-four million copies of her books in print. She lives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband, with whom she writes novels under a pseudonym. Her favorite activity is exploring the Western United States to find the landscapes that speak to her soul and inspire her writing.

Date of Birth:

April 5, 1944

Place of Birth:

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


B. A., University of California, 1966

Read an Excerpt

Death Is Forever

Chatper One

Northern Territory, Australia

"Two people died getting this to me."

Cole Blackburn looked at the small worn velvet bag in Chen Wing's hand and asked, "Was it worth it?"

"You tell me."

With a swift motion Wing emptied the contents of the bag onto the ebony surface of his desk. Light rippled and shifted as nine translucent stones tumbled over one another with tiny crystalline sounds. The first impression was of large, very roughly made marbles that had been chipped and pitted by use. Nine of the thirteen stones were colorless. Three were pink. One was the intense green of a deep river pool.

Cole's hand closed over the green marble. It was as big as the tip of his thumb and surprisingly heavy for its size. He rubbed it between his fingers. The surface had an almost slippery feel, as though it had been burnished with precious oils. He turned the stone until he found a flat, cleanly chipped face. He bathed it with his breath.

No moisture collected on the smooth green surface.

Excitement stabbed through Cole. Without a word he walked to a liquor cart that stood against a nearby wall. He picked up a heavy leaded crystal glass and glanced at Wing, who nodded. Cole brought the green stone down the side of the glass in a single swift stroke.

The stone scratched the glass easily and deeply. The stone itself wasn't marked.

At random Cole picked up other stones from the desk and drew them down the crystal surface. New scratches formed. The stones themselves remained untouched. He pulled a well-worn jeweler's loupe from his pocket, angled the desk light to his satisfaction, picked up the deep green stone, and examined it.

The sensation was like falling into a pool of intense emerald light. Yet this was not an emerald. Even uncut and unpolished, the stone held and dispersed light in ways that only a diamond could. It shimmered between his fingers with each tiny movement of his hand. Light flowed and glanced among the irregularities in the stone's surface and gathered in its luminous depths. There were no fractures and only two very minute flaws, both irrelevant to the diamond's value. They lay just below the surface, where they would be cut and polished out of existence.

Cole looked at several more stones before he put his loupe back in his pocket and said, "White paper."

Wing opened a desk drawer, extracted a pure white sheet of Pacific Traders Ltd. letterhead, and slid it across the desk. Cole pulled a small chamois bag from his pocket and removed a rough diamond that he knew was of perfect color. Uncut and unpolished, the stone had a natural octahedral shape. It looked almost manmade next to the worn, irregular stones from Wing's bag.

Cole spaced the diamonds across the surface of the paper. One of the stones changed color subtly, becoming more coral than pink. The other pinks deepened to a lovely clear rose. Most of the white stones took on a blue sheen that exactly matched Cole's diamond. One or two showed a very faint yellow cast to their white, a color shift that only an expert eye would have detected or cared about.

And the green stone burned more vividly still, an emerald flame against snow.

Cole lowered the loupe and studied the green diamond with both eyes again. It still glimmered with an internal fire that was both hot and cold.

Years before, in Tunisia, he'd seen a stone that was nearly the equal of this one. The smuggler who owned the rough claimed it had come from Venezuela. Cole didn't believe it. But before he could raise enough cash to buy the truth, someone had sealed the smuggler's lips by cutting his throat. The smuggler's death hadn't shocked Cole. When it came to diamonds, a man's life was valuable only to himself, and his death could easily profit any number of people.

What did surprise Cole was that these diamonds had cost only two lives. He'd never seen a handful of diamonds to equal the ones resting on the white paper, drawing their color from the peculiar circumstances of their birth rather than reflecting their surroundings.

Cole picked up his own exemplar diamond, put it away, and examined the dark velvet bag that lay collapsed across the desk's ebony surface. The velvet was old, so old that the passage of time and the hard surfaces of the diamonds inside had worn the cloth to near-transparency in places. The velvet didn't care. It was dead.

But the stones weren't dead, not in the same way. They shimmered with light and time and man's insatiable hunger for the rare and valuable.

"What do you want from me?" Cole asked, watching the diamonds with brooding gray eyes.

For a moment Wing thought the question was directed at the stones. Though he'd known Cole for many years, the Hong Kong businessman didn't claim to understand or predict the American prospector's complex mind.

"Are they diamonds?" Wing asked.


"No chance of deception?"

Cole shrugged. The motion made light move over him. Raw black silk gleamed in his sport coat. His hair was the exact color and luster of the silk. His skin had been weathered in the wild places of the world. Fine lines radiated out from his eyes, legacy of a life spent squinting into the light of a desert sun or the flare of a miner's lamp. Above his left temple a scattering of silver showed in his thick hair. He looked older than his thirty-four years. By every measure that mattered, he was.

"There's always a chance of deception," Cole said. "But if these were made by a man, he'll be the ruin of every miner and diamond mine in the world." Wing smiled.

Death Is Forever. Copyright © by Elizabeth Lowell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Death Is Forever 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Lowell I very good for giving in depth information on a subject and keeping up the suspense.
frances40FR More than 1 year ago
What a great book.. I loved the characters, I loved the chemistry between the characters and it was touching at the same time. You really cared about these characters and the love scenes were spectacular!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Ms. Lowell's books and have enjoyed every one. Death is Forever was just as good the second time around (sneaky ..the original was Diamond Tiger penned under Ann Maxwell). This fast pace adventure/intrigue/love story would be good no matter what the title. The story is packed full of action and suspense, no wishy/washy characters in this one. Good read.
puttsplace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Erin Shane Windsor is left a legendary diamond mine in western Australia by a great-uncle she never even knew she had. But the old man took the secret of the mine's location to his grave. All he left behind were cryptic clues written in verse -- and some very dangerous enemies who'd like nothing better than to claim the mine themselves. To help her, Erin hires Cole Blackburn, a geologist with a mysterious past who has his own reasons for wanting to find the treasure. From glamorous San Francisco and London to the hauntingly beautiful Australian outback, this sensational romantic thriller takes you on an unforgettable roller-coaster ride.
VirginiaGill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just added the electronic version of this book to my Nook. This book is one I tend to reread at least once a year, it calls to me from the bookshelf. While all the books in this series are great reads this one is just a fabulous read and never gets old. The setting, the industry, the intrigue, ahh...bliss!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have at least 3 copies of this book: paper, audio & ebook; I might even have bought 3 paper copies of this because I've read it so many times they've fallen apart. An excellent read with twists & turns & unexpected detours that are really "in the plan". A love story of survival & discovery & well worth a reader's time & energy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't object to authors reissuing previous books but I do object when the title is changed leading the unwary to think they're buying a new book! This is just a con.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrs Lowell is one of my favorite writers because you can see the scenes as if you were there. This because of the very long entry before you get into the story is probably my least favorite of all her books. Still an excellent book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a writer, I am at a loss for words. This book is crap. This is supposed to be a love story, yet the main (male) character comes off as creepy and irritating. The main characters were so poorly written. I made it about half way through and will not be picking it back up. If you are still considering purchasing this piece of junk, I'll save you the time. A quote from this so-called book: Him: "Are you ok with all of this blood" Her "I think so," Him: "You should be, you get your period every month." Enough said. Thank goodnes it was only $1.99 on the nook.
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Supurb writing! Absolutely grabbing! One of my favorites!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Death is Forever is one of my favorite Books. I enjoy this writer a lot and think you might too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bcuz i got in trouble for talking.