In the dusty Australian outback, a priceless treasure lies under ancient silt stone and sand: opals that gleam with rainbow fire and spark greed and betrayal in the hearts of men.
Kelsey Donovan doesn't care about opal. She arrives in Coober Pedy to look for a different treasure, the precious jewels of family and belonging. But when Kelsey finds Jake Donovan, the father she's never known, she is almost too late. Jake is in a coma, hovering between life and death after a mysterious cave-in at the Rainbow Fire mine that he owns with a stranger named Dillon Ward.
And who better to benefit from Jake's death than his partner?
What can Kelsey do for the father whose love she's always craved except safeguard what belongs to him? She sets out to protect the Rainbow Fire from Dillon himself, and to discover the truth behind her father's accident.
Sometimes though, the most precious of treasures isn't found in mines or in rewriting a difficult past, a painful lesson Kelsey learns almost too late.
After all her struggles, could the greatest of treasures be standing right in front of her?
I hadn't been in Australia long before I realized I had to see the heart of the country. With an uncharacteristic burst of adventuring spirit, I signed up for a two week camping trip into the outback with several dozen strangers. I waved goodbye to my husband and children and set out to see more of the land I had already fallen in love with.
Several days into our jolting bus trip we landed in Coober Pedy in South Australia, where many of the world's opals are mined. By then we were all old friends. We slept in a dugout, noodled for opals, laughed with the miners at the local pub. Of course, I also bought opals. How could I not?
I still wear them, tiny little opal chips with brilliant red lights dancing inside them. I treasure them, but I treasure the memory of the trip even more, and this book, which it sparked inside me.
Since all the German films made from my books were filmed in New Zealand, and since there are no opal mines there, the producers changed the screenplay to one about sunken treasure. I was delighted how much of the story they kept intact anyway. And the sunken treasure they searched for?
An opal, of course.