"The magic held me in its grip from the very first page. What a mysterious, sexy, and startling world Steiber has created. This book passes my ultimate test — I didn't want it to end!"
R.L. Stine
Author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series

"Gods, shape-shifting tricksters, and mortal lovers form the intersecting facets of Ellen Steiber's A Rumor of Gems in a contemporary setting at once strange and familiar. Fans of urban fantasy — and gem lovers everywhere — will enjoy it!"
Jaqueline Carey
New York Times Bestselling Author

"Steiber's prose is as multifaceted, dazzling, and flawless as any gem."
Holly Black
Author of Valiant and The Spiderwick Chronicles


Published by Tor Books, a division of St. Martin's Press
$25.95 ($35.95 CAN)
ISBN: 0-312-85879-5

"City and mountains, shape-shifters and fashion designers, the god of love and the gold of thieves, intrigue, and supernatural danger, A Rumor of Gems has them all — plus characters you really want to spend time with. A sophisticated and sensual treat."
Delia Sherman
Author of Porcelain Dove or Constancy's Reward

"A compelling and original novel full of subtle and sometimes erotic magic . . . Alasdair and Lucinda are the real gems here, and the city of Arcato itself places Ellen Steiber in the company of authors such as M. John Harrison, whose richly imagined cities prove endlessly intriguing."
Gregory Frost
Author of Fitcher's Brides

"Steiber's knowledge of gemstone lore makes for rich and unusual fantasy background. I hope to see more of the city of Arcato."
Emma Bull
Author of War for the Oaks

"A Rumor of Gems marries the fantastic and the mundane in a wild, intriguing way. Steiber's characters have complex shadows and powers, mixed motives and longings. Her sparkling imagination makes this book a treasure."
Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Author of A Stir of Bones

"The city of Arcato holds masks and shape-shifters, tricksters and true love, dragons, and a glittering hoard of amethysts and topaz, rubies, and moonstones. Steiber weaves her spell with all this and more, to create a beautiful, dazzling, magical novel."
Lisa Goldstein
Author of The Red Magician and The Alchemist's Door

"Gods, dragons, and jewels all work wonders in Ellen Steiber's A Rumor of Gems, a savvy, sassy fantasy whose characters swig espresso and use the same slang you do — which makes her lustrous pearl-and-amethyst-charmed world all the more credible."
Anneli Rufus
The East Bay Express


"The port town of Arcato, located in the modern world, experiences a rebirth of magic owing to the appearance of gemstones that confer the power of spells on those who find them. As gods and chaos-bringers throw the city into a panic, a few seemingly random individuals find their lives intertwined as they attempt to makes sense of a world suddenly bereft of reason and logic. YA author Steiber's first novel for adult takes a fresh premise and adds to it a cast of unusual characters and a rich, 'real world' setting that makes the tale both credible and compelling. . . . "

Library Journal


"A prolific writer of young adult and children's fantasy successfully essays adult fantasy in a character-centered story of daily life and occasional crisis in Arcato, a city ruled by the magic residing in gems that are not mere, passive instruments but volitional entities. Eleven-year-old Michael Fortunato may have blood on his hands as a result of the gem's influence. Lucinda de Francesco wants nothing to do with magic, gems, or gods, but can she avoid them? Alasdair the shaman, on the other hand, actively seeks out the gems to draw on their powers, sometimes with more zeal than caution. Antique dealer Sebastian Keane is actively seeking Lucinda and is willing to take all the help he can get from wherever he can get it. The results of these characters' interactions are complex . . . but told in superior prose. Steiber quite possibly inaugurates a series but, in any event, adds respectably to the fantasy shelves."



". . . featuring an intriguing setting – the enchanted yet tawdry port city of Arcato, in which gods pose as mortals . . . and shape-shifters veer between human and animal forms. . . . The one constant is the jewelry, exquisite gems that possess subtly sentient powers. . . ."

Publisher's Weekly


"Steiber spins an unusual, contemporary yet timeless fantasy of the city of Arcato, where shrines are everywhere and gods and other beings, from many cultures, walk the street. A strange mood is on the city, not diminished by the rumors of gems turning up in odd places — and the rumors are real. The man Alasdair has an odd affinity with gemstones and scatters them wherever he goes, despite his best efforts to contain them. Lucinda, a fashion designer's assistant, doesn't believe in gods or magic or love, until she gets caught up in a trickster's wiles. Alasdair and Lucinda reluctantly end up working together to stop the dark force threatening Arcato. It's almost a romance — Lucinda and Alasdair both have love-related problems — but this unpredictable novel takes some poignant, painful turns that make it much, much more."

Carolyn Cushman, Locus Magazine

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