Author: Louis L'Amour
Length: 3 h, 5 m
Published by Random House Audio, 2015
Genres: Drama, Adventure
Mike Kardec has traveled a long way to escape haunting memories of the Korean War. The ex-Marine finds himself in the jungles of Borneo, working on oil rigs scattered across the island. He is befriended by a young native man named Raj, who works with him in the oil fields and teaches him about local culture and beliefs. Mike already knows about the supposed wealth of diamonds which can be found in the island's interior, and he soon learns about a magnificent diamond in the posession of a notorious pirate named Jeru.
When an American scientist and his beautiful wife arrive on the island to begin a diamond hunting expedition, Mike offers to be their guide. The jealous husband declines Mike's offer of help and ignores his advice regarding the dangers of Borneo. When the couple sets out on their own to find rare diamonds, it's up to Mike, Raj, and Raj's grandfather to find the pair before they fall into the hands of head-hunting natives.
Set in Sarawak in 1955, this story is filled with intriguing characters, a little romance, and a lot of action! Produced as an audio drama, it includes stellar voice-acting from a 21-member cast, as well as original music and sound effects. Arranging all of these elements together in a seamless, cohesive production is the real challenge of audio drama and Beau L'Amour, Louis' son, has done a masterful job of creating this listening adventure.
Neither the sound effects or music overpower the dialog. Instead, they complement the narration and help pull the listener into the story. In fact, this production was so compelling that I could not listen in the car because I couldn't pay attention to my driving. Also, the car speakers did not do justice to the sound. I highly recommend a quiet spot with a good set of earphones to fully appreciate the music and sound effects - believe me, you don't want to miss any of it!
What it took to create this audio drama also makes for a good story. From the time that Louis's son found the unpublished story after Louis' death, to it's metamorphosis from a printed story to a movie to an audio drama, it's obvious lots of love and attention has accompanied this story through the years. If you would like to read more about the history of The Diamond of Jeru, an excellent web site has been created which shares all of the details at http://thediamondofjeruaudio.com/
In the past, when Louis L'Amour's name is mentioned, I've always thought of the Old West - but that's not the case anymore. Now, I will think of lush rainforests, gurgling rivers winding through uncharted jungle, and -- DIAMONDS!