"Diamonds for everyone"--That's what fifteen-year-old Patson Moyo hears when his family arrives in the Marange diamond fields. Soon Patson is working in the mines along with four friends in the Gwejana Syndicate--teen diamond miners, pooling their profits for a chance at a better life and hoping to find the priceless stone that will change everything. But when the government's soldiers come to Marange, Patson's world is shattered.
Set against the backdrop of President Mugabe's brutal regime in Zimbabwe, Diamond Boy is the story of a young man who succumbs to greed, but finds his way out through a transformative journey to South Africa in search of his missing sister, in search of freedom, and in search of himself.
SPOILER ALERT: Patson finds three large diamonds in the mines and secrets them away in his sneaker. Eventually, he will lose the lower half of one leg to a landmine in the fields. After a bush amputation to save the rest of his leg, he travels to South Africa, handicapped in this way, believing he has lost his diamonds. Readers ultimately learn (along with Patson) that the diamonds were hidden in the stump of his leg the whole time.
An Amazon.ca Best Books of December 2014 for Children and Teens Selection
* "A compelling novel that brings home the desperate lives of exploited poor, and Diamond Boy will give every civilized reader pause...More than simply a good read, Diamond Boy is a multilayered, teachable novel with a variety of approaches and is highly recommended for middle and high school collections."
—VOYA (starred review)
* "[A] riveting tale...Williams draws from real events to bring this harrowing story to life, infusing Patson's narrative with terrifying accuracy. Along the way, the story crosses over with Williams's 2011 novel, Now Is the Time for Running, though readers need not be familiar with that book to be gripped and horrified by the troubles facing Patson and his nation."
—Publishers Weekly VOYA (starred review)
Michael Williams is a writer of plays, musicals, operas, and novels, and is the Managing Director of Cape Town Opera in South Africa. He is the author of several books, including the highly praised young adult novels Crocodile Burning and Now Is the Time for Running. He has written operas for young people based on African mythology as well as the libretti for symphonic operas that have premiered around the world. He finds writing fiction to be the perfect antidote to the drama of keeping an opera company alive in Africa.