This novel, set in World War II Europe, features a blind French girl and a small, brilliant, German boy-soldier as the main protagonists, although one might also characterize the Sea of Flames, a spectacular blue diamond with a red center, as a co-equal. The book is a huge best seller because it is a compelling story. The writing is elegant without being pretentious. The plot is rather far-fetched, but no more so than most novels that have stood the test of time. I can’t rank it among the very best I’ve read, but it was certainly enjoyable throughout, even riveting at times.
I felt the protracted ending detracted from the story rather than finishing it, but it didn’t spoil the book. It followed the convention of our day in hopping back and forth in time, a practice I do not like. It seems to pervade every medium – movies, television, books. However, it wasn’t particularly difficult to follow. I listened to it on CD’s. The reader was quite good, although not outstanding.