Richard Holmes takes the reader into the little-known world of the black opal: the volatile nature of the business and the people who mine and sell this product of the earth. Descending into a three-foot diameter shaft six stories down, shared by poisonous spiders and snakes, to chip at rock is not something the average person would find appealing. The "Wild West" nature of Lightning Ridge and its part-time inhabitants will appeal to the American reader, however.

Robert Fulton, Ph.D
Monroe, NC
March 25, 2005

Richard W. Holmes of North Carolina is a frequent visitor to Lightning Ridge and has written a trilogy of short stories in the form of three books. Bryan Cook has done an imaginative job of illustrating the books in pen and ink, and his covers entice you to pick up the books and read them.

The themes of the three booklets are interwoven with the main characters, one being a crusty outback woman (Kate) and the other a would-be miner (Rusty) and others that give a true-to-life animation to these stories written in and around the Lightning Ridge opal fields.
Richard has been very observant and when he describes the interior of the mines and the lay-out, it is very obvious the stories are written with a first hand knowledge of opal mining.
I found the three books delightful to read and it answered my delimma of what to suggest to visitors to get hold of when staying in a motel. They are a must for any tourist visiting the gem fields to get the real flavour of the place. (Hopefully these books can still be found for sale at the Ridge motels/shops).
I heartily recommend reading them in the sequence they were written and when you are finished reading them you want Richard to put pen to paper again and write as many more credible yarns as he can come up with.
His driving desire is now to have a film made on the basis of the books and with persistence he may well achieve his dream.

By J Milton
Metal Stone & Glass

Click here to visit the Metal Stone & Glass web site.

Read the October 2007 Rock & Gem's Book Review of Richard Holmes Trilogy in their News and Reviews section Pics & Pans.

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