Transylvanian Trilogy: by Roberta Seret, Gift of Diamonds, Love Odyssey and Treasure Seekers. (Wayzgoose Press, Berkeley, Ca., Pub Date: February, March, April 2021)
TRANSYLVANIAN TRILOGY recreates a world of secrets where political truths are presented by mixing real people with fictional characters. The facts are heightened by fiction and the fiction is electrified with facts. It is a different voice, a hybrid form of storytelling, where current events are presented in a visual canvas within a novel.
TRANSYLVANIAN TRILOGY takes the reader into a kaleidoscope of exotic colors set in Romania, Turkey and Iran, where political intrigues are little known and are waiting to be discovered. All three novels of the Trilogy, Gift of Diamonds, Love Odyssey and Treasure Seekers can be read independently or interchanged. The main characters are Mica, Anca, Marina, and Cristina, four friends since their teenaged days in Transylvania, who were known as the Four Musketeers, Poets of their Lives. As they recreate their lives, their stories interweave with fact and fiction to recreate political truths that have never been exposed before, especially in a novel.
Gift of Diamonds introduces Mica at seventeen-years-old, when her parents are plotting to bring down Ceausescu as he comes to power. They are arrested and she realizes she will be next. In the middle of the night, she escapes Transylvania on her bicycle. But she is not alone – she has taken her father’s colored diamonds that were hidden in their basement. Her only fear is that she remembers he had told her, they come from Auschwitz and they may be cursed. Gift of Diamonds reveals hidden secrets of how Fascism led to Communism which began the seeds of modern-day Terrorism.
Love Odyssey narrates the story of Anca, a young doctor working in the Transylvanian countryside during a typhus epidemic. She has special medicines and antibiotics, not available in communist Romania. But she is giving them to non-communists and gypsies. The dictatorial regime is not happy. Her doctor husband fears his pregnant wife will be arrested and arranges her escape. Or is it to get rid of her while he becomes Ceausescu’s personal doctor to bring down communism and become the leader of the Revolution? Nineteen years later, Anca returns to Transylvania to save the man who wronged her. She could never stop loving him.
Treasure Seekers reflects today’s political canvas of America’s relationship with Turkey and Iran. Treasure Seekers unites Marina and Cristina as they vacation together in Istanbul and unwillingly, get involved in Turkey’s and Iran’s recent Gas-for-Gold scandal, the largest gold laundering scheme in American history. The friends believe that Romania is at the origin when they remember that their Romanian leader, dictator Ceausescu of twenty-four years, had traveled to Tehran three days before he was executed in December 1989. He went to visit the new Iranian president, Rafsanjani, who had just started a private bank- the Bank of Tehran. Ceausescu had traveled with suitcases filled with gold. Gold that had never been claimed. Never found.
Early reviews have applauded all three books: Gift of Diamonds:“Gift of Diamonds is written in language that is flawless. I loved the well-crafted and strong themes, the well-written international setting, and the political ideas explored in the story. But what had me going from page to page is the deft treatment of the protagonist — she is real, genuine, and sophisticated.” “Gift of Diamonds by Roberta Seret is a spellbinding novelIt is a well-crafted, fast-paced, and a character-driven story that had me on the edge on my seat… The descriptions are gorgeous and the author leads the reader into the psyche of the protagonist with intelligence. The setting is well written, and the contrast between the horror that Mica is running from and the hope of liberty in the US is mesmerizing. Gift of Diamonds is cinematic, an engaging story that I would love to watch as a movie.” Love Odyssey:“I am always fascinated by authors who are able to weave a fascinating, but fictitious story around and through actual historical events. Roberta Seret has done this beautifully in her latest novel, Love Odyssey.”
“Roberta Seret is a great storyteller and she not only writes believable and compelling characters, but she fashions them from the midst of chaos, allowing the elements of the setting to reflect in their choices. “ “This novel would make an excellent movie, one that both enlightens and entertains. Hello Hollywood!”
Treasure Seekers: “I thought that Treasure Seekers by Roberta Seret was such a unique way of telling a story. I loved how she mixes non-fiction with fiction. … The world-building is breathtaking; it made me wish I could visit those places someday… I read it in less than a day. I literally could not put the book down, it was just so action-packed. If you love spy thrillers or any government thrillers, this is a must-read.” “The storyline has many facets, romance, tension, intrigue, and action which made for compelling reading. I admired how the author was able to interweave so many subplots, characters, and events together so effortlessly.” “Roberta Seret uses her position of insight to deliver a truly fascinating novel that borders on spy thriller and true crime novels… This lends credence to the drama and helps you to toe the line seamlessly between fiction and reality (and it’s quite amazing how much of this book is proven fact). The fictional protagonists Marina and Christina give a human face to the devastation that poor decision making in the White House can cause, and I would highly recommend Treasure Seekers to all readers keen to delve deeper into the possibilities of what is being kept from us.”
Roberta Seret is well placed to unveil the factual stories where crime and terror in the woods of Transylvanian are hidden. For more than twenty years, Dr. Seret has created at the United Nations a “Global Classroom” where her NGO has invited thousands of students to learn about world affairs by screening foreign films. Diplomats become professors and the United Nations opens up to a classroom for briefings and discussions by using foreign film. It is within these doors at the U.N. that Dr. Seret was inspired to transfer techniques utilized in film to literature. Understanding that foreign film incorporates history and politics as part of its construction, she realized that filmmakers may tell a fictional story without even realizing that they have infused into the narrative their country’s politics. It was natural for her to take cinematic elements for her literature.
Dr. Seret comments, “As I was screening films for my students during the day, it was during the early mornings when I was writing my books.I wondered if I could transpose what I was learning from film to the written word and create a hybrid form of storytelling: Facts mixed with Fiction.“Could I also use storytelling techniques from journalism, drama, satire, thriller, history, and romance? Include maps and photos to clarify up-to-date international intrigues? Under the guise of fiction, I wondered if I could ask questions of why and how and put the answers into the mouths of fictitious characters. My goal was to reveal truths by using poetic license – a deliberate ruse. “She believed that, “this hybrid approach could offer a genre fluidity that moves and changes, leading the reader from one chapter to the next as the narrative flows. In doing so, the reader travels along and becomes part of the story’s freedom, facts and fiction.
Enthusiasts have praised her United Nations “Global Classroom”: “I want to thank you for all that you do in your community, for daring to innovate, for dreaming big, and for finding ways to create a better tomorrow!” -Michelle Obama “I have been a firm believer that young people benefit immeasurably from opportunities to learn about life in other countries and about cultures that are not their own, and I want to personally thank you for the important work you are doing towards that goal.” -Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor, New York City
“This is an exciting program for the young people in our schools.” -Caroline Kennedy, former C.E.O., Strategic Partnerships, The New York City Board of Education A big thank you to Roberta Seret for making this U.N. Film Festival happen. She has brought the world to us, to help us understand people who live another life than ourselves.” -Mrs. Kofi Annan, wife of former United Nations Secretary General “We have watched Dr. Seret and her program from the beginning with a 5-year Ford Foundation grant. From creation of the events and organization to implementation and expansion of her involvement with the United Nations and affiliate organizations. We continue to be very impressed by Dr. Seret and her org’s work.” -Chris Gillespie, Manager of Grants, The Ford Foundation Dr. Seret also teaches English-as-a-second language at the United Nations and at New York University’s CALA program, “Global Hotspots through Foreign Film.”