The Plain of Jars

Fiction - Adventure
669 Pages
Reviewed on 07/31/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website,, with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. The site offers a sample (the first 3 chapters) available for download.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and his second novel, "Journey Towards a Falling Sun," a romance adventure novel set in Kenya, has just been released.
He is currently working on his third manuscript, "Playing in the Shadow," a psychological political thriller.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite

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.