What would you do if you found that the bones and ashes you were given by the Air Force were not the remains of your loved one? Dorothy Kozeny, a 64-year-old widow from a small town in Ohio, after getting no answers from the relevant authorities, decides the only thing to do is to go to Laos herself to search for the truth concerning her son's fate. In 1990, accompanied by a trusted Laotian called Kampeng, Dorothy travels deep into the mountains of rural Laos, attempting to trace her son's path through inhospitable terrain, an unforgettable trek that provides her with a rewarding, often humorous, and at times frustrating, cross-cultural experience. All clues lead her to a mysterious figure, an alledged CIA operative left over from the war, living in a remote and hostile area deep in the jungle. The second part of the book traces the life of this enigmatic character hiding in Laos, the two main characters linked through Dorothy's son.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
N. Lombardi Jr.
The Plain of Jars
Dorothy Kozeny goes halfway across the world in
the search for truth, from Ohio to Laos, to uncover
what the Air Force tried to hide about her dead
son. She enlists the help of a local guide and
treks deep into the mountains and villages of
Laos. Heartfelt, rewarding, and at times hilarious,
The Plain of Jars is a compelling Novel ~ Marla Johnson, January 2014 issue of World Literature Today
Dorothy Kozeny, grieving for her son who died in Vietnam, is shocked when she receives a mysterious letter stating the ashes the military sent her may not be Andrew’s. Her investigation confirms this, but the military bureaucrats are tight-lipped. Dorothy decides to go to Laos to unearth the truth. Kampeng, a guide, takes Dorothy on an unforgettable journey filled with trepidation as the country experiences political unrest, but also excitement at being exposed to a new culture. She finds items belonging to Andrew at a Buddhist shrine, and natives tell her a powerful man known as Chao Baa may have the information she needs. Dorothy learns that Chao Baa is the alias for an American, Richard Johnson. But Chao Baa has no interest in meeting anyone from the past, much to Dorothy’s disappointment. How can she release the grief when no one gives the answers to solve Andrew’s death? The Plain of Jars is written by N. Lombardi, Jr.
The Plain of Jars is an engaging action adventure novel. N.Lombardi Jr. combined historical facts and fiction very nicely. It was a great way for me to learn more about the Vietnam war and how it affected both countries. The author expounded on this through the characters and intense writing. I thought he succeeded in displaying the actions and emotions of everyone, especially Dorothy. This enabled me to feel them too, and appreciate the intriguing twists and good ending. Although the story was lengthy, it was enjoyable and worth reading. ~ Michelle Stanley, Readers' Favorite https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/30944
I couldn't stop reading, an awesome work, if indeed the mark of a great work is to inspire, educate, move and - above all - keep the reader reading from beginning to end... a great writer to this reader! ~ Fred Branfman, feature writer for Huffington Post, editor Voices from the Plain of Jars.
This irresistible story jumps off the page pulling the reader into the jungle to unravel a mystery that mirrors the complexities of this covert war. To read this book is to bare witness, and in the process be uplifted and proud of the human power to transmute boundless remorse into benevolence. ~ Harriet Beinfield, co-author, Between Heaven and Earth
A well-deserved indictment of the horrors inflicted on innocents in faraway countries by politicians, bureaucrats, and generals...Not just that, Mr. Lombardi has been able to present to us an extraordinary rendering of Laotian village life. The writing is picturesque, cinematic, vivid, and sharp...a splendid achievement, a surprisingly well-researched, finely crafted novel. ~ Richard Crasta, author, The Revised Kama Sutra: A Novel , I Will Not Go the F**k to Sleep , and other books