Wilderness of Mirrors

A Diamond Business Thriller by Linda Davies

Cover of Wilderness of Mirrors by Linda Davies.

Wilderness of Mirrors is now available as an ebook new! from various suppliers.
Robie Frazer is the target - a Hong Kong businessman of legendary wealth, and vast multinational interests, but he has become corrupt, trading arms to the Chinese, extorting what he needs from people by violence and blackmail. MI6 want to trap him and Andrew Stormont is the man chosen to mastermind the operation. The bait - a possible diamond mine in Vietnam. The lure - two women, once friends at Oxford. The first, Eva Cunningham, is an undercover agent and reformed heroin junkie, working as a teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL) in a Vietnamese village near Halong Bay. She has good reason to hate Frazer after escaping death in Singapore.

The second woman is Cassie Stewart, a high-flying venture capitalist in the City; she can provide finance for the mission with the aid of contacts in the Vancouver Stock Exchange. What she does not know is that, along with Eva, she will become a key player in the game to trap Frazer - a game which proves a wilderness of mirrors in which the principal characters cannot be certain who is on their side and which will climax in a terrifying hunt-to-kill pursuit in the Vietnam jungle.

Like the author's first novel, Nest of Vipers, Wilderness of Mirrors is a thriller where the worlds of finance and intelligence collide. This novel is about revenge and redemption, vulnerability and strength, the blinding mirror of beauty, and the conflict between the political agenda of the intelligence services on the one hand and the individual's sense of justice on the other.

Diamonds, Politics and the Intelligence Services

Before the collapse of Communism and the end of Apartheid even ideological foes such as the Soviet Union and South Africa were united by a desire to maintain the prices of diamonds, and despite the opposition of the United States to cartels, western intelligence services had an interest in the continuance of that situation, as explained by these quotations from Wilderness of Mirrors.

"It is a brilliant operation. Over the past 60 years the Central Selling Organisation [of De Beers] has done for diamonds something that eluded the oil producers of OPEC and even the cocaine barons of the Medellin cartel ... and it built a syndicate not for weeks or months but for decades."

"The intelligence services ... are close to De Beers, they exchange favours. Diamond prospectors have a reason to travel the world, into Russia, Angola, South Africa, anywhere."

In the past few years this theme of Wilderness of Mirrors has become more topical. It has become apparent that control of diamond mines is vital to the financing of civil wars in Angola and Sierra Leone, despite attempts by the United Nations to prevent illicit trading in diamonds from such sources.

The Infamous Vancouver Stock Exchange

In the novel, the company established by Granger McAdam to exploit his diamond find in Vietnam is listed on the Vancouver Stock Exchange (VSE) which specialised in the financing of junior mining companies all over the world. However it was also one of the most controversial stock exchanges in the world and had been described as the Sodom and Gommorah of modern day financial markets. Its reputation makes Cassie Stewart's task of raising money to finance a diamond mine more difficult.

"Vancouver has all sorts of dodgy companies on the Exchange, cowboys, fly-by-nights."

"This market's not like London. It's pretty wild, with all sorts of unscrupulous operators, lots of manipulation."

Despite her confidence, Cassie discovers that the Vancouver Stock Exchange's notoriety is not exaggerated! Nevertheless the risks she runs in tangling with the sharks in Vancouver are as nothing compared with those that await Eva when she returns to Vietnam ...

N.B. In reality on November 29th, 1999 the Vancouver and Alberta stock exchanges merged to form the Canadian Venture Exchange (CDNX). The reputation of the Alberta Stock Exchange had been greatly damaged by the BRE-X scandal. It is to be hoped that the CDNX will enjoy a much better reputation than its two predecessors!

Diamonds in Vietnam?

Vietnam has a diamond cutting and polishing industry but, so far, no diamond mines. In May 1995 a director of a local gem company said that "diamonds and emeralds have not been found yet" but less than a year later, on 5th February 1996, the Xinhua News Agency reported that grains of diamonds had been found inside Vietnamese rubies. That was just a few weeks after Wilderness of Mirrors was first published in hardback! In January 2002, Doug Kirwin of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., in a speech at a conference in Vancouver said:

"Indochina is relatively unexplored in terms of exploration drill-based expenditures when compared to neighbouring countries. Potential targets include ... diamond possibilities in Yunnan and Vietnam."

By coincidence the site explored by Granger McAdam, the diamond prospector in Wilderness of Mirrors, was at near Lang-son, just 10 miles from the border with the Chinese province to the east of Yunnan which also borders Vietnam!


Wilderness of Mirrors is available as an ebook new! from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca for the Kindle reader and from Barnes & Noble for the Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo and most other readers. It is also available as a paperback from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and other suppliers.

Foreign Translations

De deal. Amsterdam: Luitingh-Sijthoff, 1996. 318s. ISBN 90 245 2611 6. Both de Deal and another work by Linda Davies that has been translated into Dutch, De Klip, can be ordered from Mangrove.nl.

Les miroirs sauvages. Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1996. 366p. ISBN 2 246 52711 2.

Amazon's French branch, Amazon.fr can supply the Livre de Poche and paperback editions. Amazon's Canadian branch Amazon.ca, can also supply the Livre de Poche and paperback editions.

Die Drachenhühle. Düsseldorf: Marion von Schröder, 1997. 411s. ISBN 3 547 72039 7.

This book can be ordered from Amazon.de, the German branch of Amazon.com.

There was a review, Attraktiver Lockvogel im Dschungel der Hochfinanzen in Berliner Morgenpost 15 April 1997.

Óravíddir speglanna. Reykjavik: Útgáfufélagið Úrval hf., 1996 335s. ISBN 9979 840 38 2.

Il Labirinto Degli Specchi. Milan: Il Sole 24 Ore, 1996. 331p. ISBN 88 7187 708 X.

Pustye zerkala. Moskva: Idz-vo AST, 1998. 461p. ISBN 5 237 00038 x.

Other languages into which translations have been made include those listed below. The names of the publishers are shown in brackets.

Bulgarian (Hermes), Norwegian (Hjemmet), Polish (Amber).

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Last updated 17 January 2013.