A morning in October 1830 - in the Polish town of Bialystok, then part of the Russian Empire. The day is starting normally for Murad Amrad Galperin, a well-respected member of the town's thriving population of Ashkenazi Jews. On this day however, a sequence of events begin to unfurl that will later culminate in Murad Amrad being accused of the murder of a young Russian Viscount who owes him a considerable amount of money.
Shortly before his death, the Viscount secretly gave Murad Amrad a gold bejewelled box topped with a priceless diamond as collateral against his loans. It belonged to his mother, the Countess, and was not his to give, but Murad Amrad assured him of its safe return once his debts were repaid. After the Viscount's body is found however, and the Russian authorities seek to make him a scapegoat, Murad Amrad is reluctant to reveal the presence of the jewel box for fear of incriminating himself further. Assisted by his friends and the rabbi, and seeing no other option, he decides to flee, taking his extended family and the jewel box with him. At a time when harsh discriminatory legislation was forcing thousands of Jews to leave their homes and seek employment elsewhere, and when the repercussions of the Polish rebellion against the Russian authorities was still reverberating around Eastern Europe, the Galperin family set out on a journey that ultimately transforms their lives. But there's a cost to pay.
Set amongst the turbulent history of the 19th century, when the mighty Russian Empire ruled much of Europe, and the Ottoman Empire the Middle East, The Diamond Fund is a story of human resourcefulness under enormous pressure, the hardships of reinvention and the pain of loss. The reader is taken through decades and great distances from Poland to Palestine and beyond, meeting some extraordinary characters along the way. This book explores the complex mingling of global and family history and will appeal to all readers of historical fiction, as well as those interested in the politics of Europe, Russia and Palestine during the 19th century
Philippa Annett was born in 1950. She has always enjoyed writing, but it was the journey made by her forebears nearly two centuries ago that was to become the inspiration for The Diamond Fund. In researching this novel, Philippa visited Bialystok in Poland to create a detailed and believable account for the protagonists. And having travelled widely and spent some years of her childhood in the Middle East, she was able to draw on personal and cultural knowledge to connect with the characters' later experiences in Palestine. Philippa lives in Somerset with her husband and many animals. She is currently working on her next novel.