Although, I have never been to Laos, "The Plain of Jars" made me feel as though I had been there; experiencing the realization of the tragic devastation that the people of Laos endured during and after the war.
N. Lombardi Jr.'s book is fast paced, yet excruciatingly detailed in accounts of the bombardment, and inhumane attacks on the villages in Laos which has readers sympathizing with the Laotians.
This book also has its readers empathize with an American woman, Dorothy Kozeny, a mother who has been told that her only child has died in battle.
As the details about what happened to him were sketchy, she decides to go to Laos on her own to unravel the mystery of her son's true demise. Again the author cleverly plays on the readers sympathy and we are drawn into her plight and are rooting for her success. We begin to share her emotional despair.
Another well written character is Kampeng, Dorothy's Laotian guide. His kindness shows through when he is willing to do anything she asks of him and proves his determination in seeing that Dorothy's questions about her sons death will be answered.
Although, there are other great characters in the story, my personal favorites are Dorothy and Kampeng. They both illustrate the qualities of true camaraderie, mixed with courage, friendship, loyalty, and devotion.
I highly recommend this historical novel to readers not only because it is an enjoyable read but because it also opens the doors to factual events about the war in Laos that most people never knew of or believed had occurred.
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