Heartbreak

The Lenka Trilogy Part 1

Fiction - Adventure
290 Pages
Reviewed on 10/18/2019
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Author Biography

Heartbreak is a thriller set in the 1990s and the first novel in The Lenka Trilogy, followed by Resilience and Reflection. It centres on Lenka Brett, a sheltered but astute young woman, who teaches in an orphanage in Ireland. Having seen the horrific treatment of children in Romanian orphanages on the news, she volunteers to become part of a relief convoy. This is the first of several aid missions, which take her into the heart of major conflicts across the globe, including the war in the Balkans where she is targetted by mercenaries.
The stories are framed around major historical events. The characters are fictional but are based on those the author encountered when he led humanitarian aid convoys in Romania, South America, and Bosnia during the war. The death of friends during this time compelled John to write his autobiography, The Benevolence of Rogues. It attracted favourable reviews, including the Hampstead & Highgate Arts Review, which wrote “Righten has been in the wrong place at the right time since the 1980s”.
John has also written The Rogues Trilogy, set in the 1930s, the heroic story of those trying to help families fleeing the Nazis on the eve of war, and The Lochran Trilogy, a series of epic thrillers set in the 1960s. He has written a short play, The ‘Pane’ of Rejection, which takes a wry look at writing and dealing with the critics. His first novel, Churchill’s Rogue, was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Inaugural Adventure Awards.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Heartbreak is a work of action and adventure fiction penned by author John Righten and forms the first novel in The Lenka Trilogy. Written for mature audiences due to some moderate references and language, this exciting and enjoyable novel takes place in the year 1990. Taking the form of a recent historical thriller, we follow central character Lenka Brett as she embarks on a mission to give foreign aid to orphanages in Romania. With the assistance of a motley crew of former officers, alcoholics and general lunatics, the humanitarian quest begins, but there are even more dangers than one could imagine as the group is targeted by mercenaries with totally ulterior motives.

Bucharest comes alive in this thrilling work as author John Righten paints a poignant picture of tense political aftermath, terrible poverty, and a fraught atmosphere that only the bravest souls dare navigate. Lenka is an instantly likable character despite her initial naivety and overconfidence and, throughout the novel, the narration enables us to see right into her heart and connect with her motivations for wanting to help. The more she gets sucked into the dangers of the world, the more formidable and stronger she becomes, adapting intelligently to situations but also remaining vulnerable to tragedy, like anyone else. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of Foxy, whose witty repertoire lightened even some of the darkest, most grim moments of the tale. Overall, Heartbreak is a harrowing but also hopeful story that sets up a powerful trilogy: a highly recommended read.