Overview: Our main character, Marco Gentolini first discovers jade on a visit to a Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Bendigo. This Temple is home to the largest carving of a single piece of gem quality jade in the world. The jade was imported and Marco is curious why Australian jade wasn’t used. As a student journalist, he decides the story behind jade in Australia may be worth telling. Australia is said to have only low quality jade: black and dark green, with no translucent green or white which Asians value most highly. So the experts say.
On his way to a jade mine in Cowell, South Australia, Marco takes on Tom Owen, a passenger down on his luck, mostly self-made, though a person with quirky stories. Tom is more cautious in his approach to life compared to Marco, a typical Gen Y-er. As Marco and Tom seek out key people and key places in the jade game in Australia, they hear whisperings that naturally occurring white jade may indeed exist in Australia. Their quest soon becomes more earnest and their odd chemistry allows them to follow a trail of clues towards a supposedly impossible goal. They meet dead ends and false trails, but they refuse to give up.
Personal Comments: After writing one book on jade, I had so much momentum, I didn’t want to stop. And it was a great excuse to travel, to visit Bendigo, Broken Hill and Cowell, as well as Tamworth. I now feel committed to writing the third leg of a jade trilogy. I hope it happens, though I don’t know when. These things can’t be forced. Meanwhile my jade collection continues to grow.
A note on the cover: I quickly grabbed an image of The White Horse of Uffington in preparing a cover for my first printing, . I felt that image well supported the title and theme of the work. Much later, I stumbled across a wonderful account of this important monument. Much of what I say here is drawn from Guy Underwood’s Patterns of the Past published in 1969. This 350 feet long turf-cut landmark is sprawled over the Berkshire Downs. It is located on a significant geodetic point in the landscape (the namely the location of a blind spring where many lines meet). One theory says it goes back to Neolithic times. Another suggests it is a memorial to Alfred the Great’s decisive battle against the Danes in 871AD. Underwood claims the feature in its original creation was a dragon ie a serpent with legs, though some commentators say the figure was altered from time to time. Since earliest times, horses have been regarded as sacred to the Mother Goddess- all a nice embellishment to the themes I was pursuing. As a side note, Underwood goes into great detail into the complexity of geodetic features which were taken into account in the delineation of the figure. It indicates a deeper understanding of the land and its ley lines than many of us would be aware.