100 books like Koh-I-Noor

By William Dalrymple, Anita Anand,

Here are 100 books that Koh-I-Noor fans have personally recommended if you like Koh-I-Noor. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of 11 Harrowhouse

Matthew Hart Author Of The Russian Pink

From my list on stealing diamonds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I live in New York City, where I write thrillers about diamonds. My interest began when news broke of a diamond discovery in the Canadian Arctic. A reporter looking for a story, I climbed on a plane the next day. The discovery made Canada the world’s third largest diamond miner—one of the stories told in my non-fiction book, Diamond: the History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair. I went on to write about diamonds for many publications, including Vanity Fair and the London Times, until finally, seduced by the glitter of the possibilities, I turned to fiction. The Russian Pink appeared in November 2020. The next in the series, Ice Angel, comes out in September.

Matthew's book list on stealing diamonds

Matthew Hart Why did Matthew love this book?

I have a special fondness for 11 Harrowhouse, the 1973 thriller that spins the tale of a huge theft of rough diamonds from The System, a fictional London diamond powerhouse modeled on the real-life De Beers. When I started writing about diamonds, De Beers was still the Darth Vader of diamonds—all-powerful, feared, despotic. More than eighty percent of the world’s rough diamonds poured through its London headquarters at 17 Charterhouse Street. In the novel, thieves thread a hose from the roof into the diamond vault, and hoover up the loot. In reality, a different method was used to steal diamonds from De Beers’s London fortress, which I described in my non-fiction book, then re-tailored for my own purposes in The Russian Pink

By Gerald A. Browne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 11 Harrowhouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An American courier and his lover are selected as the key operatives in an international diamond swindle


Book cover of The Light of Day

Hugh Greene Author Of Son of Darkness

From my list on mysteries chosen by a thriller writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written medical textbooks and research papers, but have a passion of writing thrillers—as Hugh Greene I have written the bestselling Dr Power mystery series which follows the forensic psychiatrist Dr Power and Superintendent Lynch as they solve murders and explore the minds that executed these crimes.

Hugh's book list on mysteries chosen by a thriller writer

Hugh Greene Why did Hugh love this book?

Ok, it’s an old thriller set in the pre-Internet, pre-mobile phone, pre-EU world of the 1960s. It’s a piece of twentieth-century clockwork, but it delivers suspense! The amoral protagonist can’t summon help by phone or Google his adversaries to gain an advantage. He must work to gain leniency from the Turkish authorities by acting as a double agent, delivering weapons to a gang of potential terrorists so that he might spy on them. The writing has a sharp precision and crisp wit.

By Eric Ambler,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Light of Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Arthur Abdel Simpson is a failed journalist and soon-to-be failed thief, embittered by memories of his unhappy childhood in England and eking out a living in Athens. When he spots a newly arrived tourist at the airport, he offers his services as a private driver and sees an easy chance to make some money by illicit means. But the out-matched Simpson soon finds himself embroiled in blackmail and driving a highly suspicious car to Istanbul. When he is stopped by the Turkish police, it seems his luck can't get any worse - but this is just the beginning . .…


Book cover of To Catch A Thief

Matthew Hart Author Of The Russian Pink

From my list on stealing diamonds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I live in New York City, where I write thrillers about diamonds. My interest began when news broke of a diamond discovery in the Canadian Arctic. A reporter looking for a story, I climbed on a plane the next day. The discovery made Canada the world’s third largest diamond miner—one of the stories told in my non-fiction book, Diamond: the History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair. I went on to write about diamonds for many publications, including Vanity Fair and the London Times, until finally, seduced by the glitter of the possibilities, I turned to fiction. The Russian Pink appeared in November 2020. The next in the series, Ice Angel, comes out in September.

Matthew's book list on stealing diamonds

Matthew Hart Why did Matthew love this book?

This is another great diamond yarn where the movie by Alfred Hitchcock is better known than the book. A series of high-end robberies is plaguing the French Riviera. Police suspect that retired jewel thief John “The Cat” Robie may not be as retired as he claims. They come to arrest him. Robie escapes. To prove his innocence, he persuades an insurance broker to give him a list of the wealthiest diamond owners on the Cote d’Azur, so he can intercept and apprehend the new “Cat” committing the robberies, and thus clear his name. On the list is a wealthy American, with whose daughter, played by Grace Kelly, Robie develops a romance. The plot plays out in the ravishing landscape, but the real message is the diamond industry’s favorite—that owning diamonds makes you part of a glamorous world.

By David Dodge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Catch A Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

TO CATCH A THIEF is David Dodge's most famous novel, and rightly so. Alfred Hitchcock firmly cinched its place in the annals of crime fiction by adapting it into an Academy Award winning film starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. The story centers on John Robie, American expatriate and skilled gymnast, who once-upon-a-time was Le Chat, the famous and elusive cat burglar who worked the South of France. The legend of Le Chat grew with each crime. Following the war, Robie retires to a quiet life in France and vows to leave his past behind. His retirement is shattered when…


Book cover of Hope: Adventures of a Diamond

Matthew Hart Author Of The Russian Pink

From my list on stealing diamonds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I live in New York City, where I write thrillers about diamonds. My interest began when news broke of a diamond discovery in the Canadian Arctic. A reporter looking for a story, I climbed on a plane the next day. The discovery made Canada the world’s third largest diamond miner—one of the stories told in my non-fiction book, Diamond: the History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair. I went on to write about diamonds for many publications, including Vanity Fair and the London Times, until finally, seduced by the glitter of the possibilities, I turned to fiction. The Russian Pink appeared in November 2020. The next in the series, Ice Angel, comes out in September.

Matthew's book list on stealing diamonds

Matthew Hart Why did Matthew love this book?

Marian Fowler’s lavish non-fiction account tracks the storied diamond from its origins in India, where it was bought by the great French jewel merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who sold it to Louis XIV. Weighing 110 carats in the rough, the blue was eventually cut into a heart-shaped jewel of 67.13 carats, known to history as the French Blue. In the turbulent early days of the French Revolution, all the crown jewels were moved from the Palace of Versailles to the Garde-Meuble, a treasure house in central Paris. On the night of September 11, 1792, thieves broke in and stole the jewels. Many were recovered, but the French Blue vanished forever. Too famous to be sold as it was, the London jeweler who eventually bought it, cut it down to 44.5 carats—the jewel sold to Henry Philip Hope in 1830. The Hope diamond passed through many hands, leaving behind a trail of…

By Marian Fowler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Allegedly a curse to those that own it, the Hope Diamond - a flawless blue diamond of over forty-five carats - has inspired centuries of legends and lies, fabulous superstition and fierce passion. In rich, shimmering prose, Marian Fowler explains how the Hope Diamond was formed in nature - and how it was taken from the mines and temples of India to the royal courts of seventeenth-century Europe. Acquired and cherished by Louis XIV, the stone was stolen in an almost farcical French Revolution robbery. It resurfaced twenty years later in London and passed through numerous hands, including those of…


Book cover of Jane Austen: Writer in the World

Sue Wilkes Author Of A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England

From my list on understanding Jane Austen’s England.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a little girl, my parents bought me a children’s edition of Pride and Prejudice. Ever since, I have loved Jane Austen’s works. As I grew older, I really enjoyed learning about her, and researching the history of her times. I hope you will enjoy reading these books as much as I did!

Sue's book list on understanding Jane Austen’s England

Sue Wilkes Why did Sue love this book?

This beautifully illustrated book explores Austen’s life and her interactions with the world as a novelist.

Jane’s teenage writings, her music books, and the story of her surviving pelisse (a type of coat) are all discussed, along with the magic of her remaining correspondence. (Sadly, after Jane died, her sister Cassandra burnt many of her letters to protect her emotional life from strangers’ prying eyes).

Austen’s fiction manuscripts, several of which survive, offer clues to how she worked. Jane’s status as a novelist at the time of her death in 1817 is also discussed, and compared with her competitors. 

By Kathryn Sutherland (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jane Austen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This collection of essays offers an intimate history of Austen's art and life told through objects associated with her personally and with the era in which she lived. Her teenage notebooks, music albums, pelisse-coat, letters, the homemade booklets in which she composed her novels and the portraits made of her during her life all feature in this lavishly illustrated collection.

By interpreting the outrageous literary jokes in her early notebooks we can glimpse the shared reading activities of Jane and her family, together with the love of satire and home entertainment which can be traced in the subtler humour of…


Book cover of Bugles and a Tiger: My Life in the Gurkhas

Charles S. Oliviero Author Of Praxis Tacticum: The Art, Science and Practice of Military Tactics

From my list on military tactical thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent 40 years as a soldier studying war. After graduation from Royal Military College, I joined the Armoured Corps. Throughout history, we have regaled each other with stories of war. From Greek myths to Norse sagas to modern movies, we cannot seem to get enough of war stories. And yet, we know that war is inherently a bad idea. It is evil. It is a form of collective madness. War is destructive and cruel, unworthy of our better selves. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, war breaks the bonds of our affection and does not speak to our better angels. I study it in order to better understand this madness.

Charles' book list on military tactical thinking

Charles S. Oliviero Why did Charles love this book?

John Masters grippingly tells of his life as a newly commissioned Subaltern in a Gurkha regiment, warts, and all. This book is especially valuable to new infantry platoon commanders, or anyone interested in the challenges of leading at the lowest levels. Masters is a consummate storyteller who takes the reader along with him in his personal journey of discovery as he learns about life, leadership, and the nature of war.

By John Masters,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bugles and a Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first of John Master's evocative memoirs about life in the Gurkhas in India on the cusp of WWII

John Masters was a soldier before he became a bestselling novelist. He went to Sandhurst in 1933 at the age of eighteen and was commissioned into the 4th Gurkha Rifles in time to take part in some of the last campaigns on the turbulent north-west frontier of India.

John Masters joined a Gurhka regiment on receiving his commission, and his depiction of garrison life and campaigning on the North-West Frontier has never been surpassed. BUGLES AND A TIGER is a matchless…


Book cover of The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan

Gilbert Strang Author Of Introduction to Linear Algebra

From my list on mathematicians and their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

A key event in my mathematical life was videotaping my linear algebra class (the MATH 18.06 course at MIT). This was the right moment when MIT created OpenCourseWare to describe all courses freely to the world—with some big classes on video. Linear algebra has had 12 million viewers and many of them write to me. So many people like to learn about mathematics and read about mathematicians—it is a great pleasure to help. I hope you will enjoy the OpenCourseWare videos (on YouTube too), the books about mathematical lives, and the Introduction to Linear Algebra that many students learn from. This is real mathematics.

Gilbert's book list on mathematicians and their lives

Gilbert Strang Why did Gilbert love this book?

I think the life and the work of Ramanujan is the most astonishing story of any mathematician. Everybody knows that 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + ... adds to 1. Ramanujan wrote down infinite series like that but of amazing complexity. He was a self-taught and unknown genius in India, who found his way to England. His ideas are still being explored and developed— they go to the heart of mathematics. This book and the movie are simply inspiring.

By Robert Kanigel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man Who Knew Infinity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING JEREMY IRONS AND DEV PATEL!

A moving and enlightening look at the unbelievable true story of how gifted prodigy Ramanujan stunned the scholars of Cambridge University and revolutionized mathematics.

In 1913, a young unschooled Indian clerk wrote a letter to G H Hardy, begging the preeminent English mathematician's opinion on several ideas he had about numbers. Realizing the letter was the work of a genius, Hardy arranged for Srinivasa Ramanujan to come to England.

Thus began one of the most improbable and productive collaborations ever chronicled. With a passion for rich and evocative detail,…


Book cover of Sharpe's Tiger

Colin Falconer Author Of When We Were Gods

From my list on historical adventures that are colourful and pacy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up devouring old Classics Illustrated comics. By the time I was 12, I’d read all the great adventure stories from H. Rider Haggard to Jules Verne. My childhood obsession became my career. My research has taken me down the Silk Road, into the jungles of Mexico and the mountains of the high Atlas, and following opium caravans through the Golden Triangle. I’ve now written more than twenty novels of historical adventure that have been translated into 25 languages.

Colin's book list on historical adventures that are colourful and pacy

Colin Falconer Why did Colin love this book?

This prequel to the Sharpe series covers the eponymous hero’s adventures in India at the siege of Seringapatam before the Peninsular War. For me, Cornwell’s books are a perfect mix of history and breathless action. This one even features a cameo from Wellington. If only they’d let me read this in history at school, I might have stayed awake more often. Cornwell pays great attention to historical detail, and if he messes with it, he does it deliberately. There are sumptuous palaces, epic battle scenes, rockets exploding, and people getting eaten by tigers. There’s also the deliciously nasty Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill. What’s not to love? 

By Bernard Cornwell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sharpe's Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The brand new novel, SHARPE'S ASSASSIN, is available to pre-order now*

Sharpe's Tiger is the brilliant beginning of Sharpe's adventures

India, 1799

The citadel of Seringapatam is under siege. Navigating this dangerous kingdom of bejewelled palaces and poverty, Private Richard Sharpe embarks on a rescue mission to save a senior officer from the clutches of the Tippoo of Mysore - and oust the Sultan from his throne.

The fortress of Mysore is considered impregnable, but one of the greatest threats comes from betrayal within the British ranks. And the man to outwit enemies from both sides is Sharpe . .…


Book cover of For All the Tea in China: Espionage, Empire, and the Secret Formula for the World's Favourite Drink

Annie Murray Author Of Letter from a Tea Garden

From my list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses.

Why am I passionate about this?

Abi Oliver is a pen name as my real name is Annie Murray—I write under both names. My first book, A New Map of Love, set in the 1960s, featured an older woman who had been born in India. She developed into such a character—a bit of an old trout to be truthful—that I wanted to tell her story. It also tapped into my family’s many connections with India and the fact that I have travelled a lot there. I finally got to travel, with my oldest daughter, and stay in one of the tea gardens in Assam—a wonderful experience.

Annie's book list on India under the Raj that are not about princesses

Annie Murray Why did Annie love this book?

I am a total tea-head, so any book about the history of how we all came to be addicts is a good start. This one is particularly gripping and reads like an adventure novel. Robert Fortune, a Scottish botanist, and industrial spy, was employed by the East India Company in 1848 to be smuggled into China and steal their tea-growing secrets. The book never flags, full of information about the opium wars, the Chelsea Physic garden and how the tea, later found to grow naturally in India, was made into a consumer product garnering enormous profits. As I grew up with a family member who disappeared to work in Assam tea gardens just before I was born, I have always been fascinated by this way of life.

By Sarah Rose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For All the Tea in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert Fortune was a Scottish gardener, botanist, plant hunter - and industrial spy. In 1848, the East India Company engaged him to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China - territory forbidden to foreigners - to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea.

For centuries, China had been the world's sole tea manufacturer. Britain purchased this fuel for its Empire by trading opium to the Chinese - a poisonous relationship Britain fought two destructive wars to sustain. The East India Company had profited lavishly as the middleman, but now it was sinking, having lost its monopoly to trade…


Book cover of Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Sculpting the Elephant

From my list on India recovering its past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thanks to access to a good community library, I developed an interest in history from the age of seven. My interest in India grew when I married Indian-born Atam Vetta. After teaching, I set up a business and was director of Oxford Antiques Centre. In 1998, while chair of the Thames Valley Art and Antique Dealers Association, I was invited to become the art and antiques writer for The Oxford Times. That was how my freelance writing career began but since 2016 I have concentrated on writing fiction and poetry but make occasional contributions to The Madras Courier.

Sylvia's book list on India recovering its past

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

This is a polemic and pretends to be none other but it serves as an antidote to the apologists of Empire. Why is it needed? You can’t read the Ibis trilogy and not understand the exploitation of the East India Company. The first war of independence (1857) failed and was brutally put down. There were attempts at reform and not all legacies of the Raj are regrettable, my Victorian maverick works on the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India. But the tendency in the UK is to highlight the positives and ignore the racism, the famines, the massacres, and the horrors of the manner in which we left India. Once readers know the consequences of the Raj, they will understand the origins of South Asian immigration to the UK and will get a glimpse of how others see us, warts and all. 

By Shashi Tharoor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inglorious Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller on India's experience of British colonialism, by the internationally-acclaimed author and diplomat Shashi Tharoor

'Tharoor's impassioned polemic slices straight to the heart of the darkness that drives all empires ... laying bare the grim, and high, cost of the British Empire for its former subjects. An essential read' Financial Times

In the eighteenth century, India's share of the world economy was as large as Europe's. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. The Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in diamonds, India, and the East India Company?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about diamonds, India, and the East India Company.

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The East India Company Explore 18 books about the East India Company