Highbrow Magazine features Treasure Seekers, May 5th, 2021
International Political Intrigue Spans Continents in ‘Treasure Seekers’
New York City
January 8, 2017
Rubbing sleep from her dark eyes, Marina Johannes took the circular steps from the second floor of her bedroom suite to the first floor of her Fifth Avenue duplex penthouse. She was already calculating her day, considering how much time she needed with her team of researchers at the Soho lab. She estimated that it would take at least three hours to review which herbs and plants they could consider for the new, organic line.
They were searching for a long-lasting, natural property that would hydrate the skin during sultry weather. After that, she would need two hours uptown at her Madison Avenue and 51st Street showroom to review the spring mail-order brochure with the art department.
Marina was New York’s leading cosmetologist, having made her reputation on her expertise for making women’s skin more beautiful.
She put the lights on in the kitchen and looked out onto the terrace to Central Park, which was a vision of snow. It reminded her of mornings in Romania when she was a girl, and the trees in Transylvania were covered in white frost. Her mother would prepare for her tea with honey and toast, thick with rose petal jam.
Marina felt the same way now—happy, for she was already planning her trip in March to see her friends, Mica, Anca, and Cristina, in Paris for Cristina’s fashion show.
Marina opened her computer on the marble counter to check the day’s news, and then switched on the espresso machine. She waited a minute until the beans ground automatically and a shot of espresso flowed into her cup. Click here for full excerpt!
Treasure Seekers is the third novel in the Transylvanian Trilogy by Roberta Seret. It won’t be out until April 27th, but I wanted to give you plenty of time to pre-order. This historical fiction work involves actual events and real people and much like the previous two books Seret is able to blend these seamlessly with her overarching story. When the President of Turkey calls President Trump in late 2018 he has an unusual request, release of of his citizens from a Manhattan jail. Reza Zarrab was a gold trader accused of being at the center of a scheme known as Gas-for-Gold. The plan was to launder $10 billion in gold for Turkey and Iran. His associates include American politicians, the dictator of Romania, and the richest man in Iran. Their crimes are returned to this story to create a shocking political thriller. We follow these events through the fictional characters, Marina and Cristina. The amateur investigators and life long friends have traveled to New York City and beyond to learn more about the criminal web among the leaders in this story. This story is a well rooted read with the elements of truth acting as an anchor for the story. Her protagonists have such a strong and wonderful friendship and I enjoyed following them in their quest for truth. The fiction really does gain strength from the use of facts and as you are reading you will wonder exactly what could be true and what could be fiction. You will have to wait to pre-order Treasure Seekers, but definitely keep an eye out for this latest addition to the Transylvanian Trilogy.
Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo
Treasure Seekers by Roberta Seret is a gripping thriller that explores espionage, terrorism, and political intrigue at its best. The narrative is set in contemporary time. High-level politicians in Washington are involved in a clandestine money laundering scheme, and it goes right up to the top. It begins with a call to release a criminal — a gold trader accused of being at the center of the scheme that ensures smooth smuggling of gold from Turkey to Iran with sanctions — from a Manhattan prison, and there is so much at stake. Cristina Patrisse and Marina Johannes have been friends for a long time. They were ethnic Germans for sale at the age of twenty and their freedom was bought by a friend from Ceausescu’s government. In this narrative, these amateur investigators are out to uncover the President’s involvement in a corrupt scheme that allows money laundering without sanctions. Can they get to the bottom of the corruption or will they be derailed?
Treasure Seekers is fiction but claims to be modeled on real events. The story features the author’s research, which implicates some of the top US politicians — Rudy Giuliani, Mike Mukasey, General Mike Flynn, Rex Tillerson, Joe Biden, Loretta Lynch, Jeff Sessions, Presidents of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Rouhani, and the richest man in Iran, Ayatollah Akbar Rafsanjani. It is a story that explores the involvement of US politicians in the Gas-for-Gold scheme and Turkey’s partnership with Iran to circumvent international sanctions due to Iran’s nuclear program. It is an explosive story that will shock many readers and wake some from their stupor. Roberta Seret features real-life characters and, while entertaining readers, makes powerful revelations about political corruption and greed. Treasure Seekers is written with copious footnotes and a lot of historical data. It is simply mind-blowing.
Reviewed By Lesley Jones
Treasure Seekers by Roberta Seret is based loosely on true life events Marina, a renowned cosmetologist, comes across a news article announcing the death of Iran’s wealthiest man and former President Rafsanjani. When this news is followed by the arrest of an infamous gold smuggler, Recep Sharatt in the US, it triggers past memories of her life in Communist Romania under the dictatorship of Ceausescu and the $1 billion of gold bullion that has been missing since his execution. Along with former Romanian citizen and friend Cristina, they embark on an investigation to find the whereabouts of the gold. Their hunt takes them to Turkey where they uncover government corruption and extradition treaties involving Sharatt. Marina and Cristina’s fight for the truth around the Gas for Gold scandal places their lives in danger when they are taken hostage in Istanbul.
Treasure Seekers by Roberta Seret has such an intriguing plot where real events and fiction are interwoven brilliantly. The descriptive narrative transports you into the world of the characters. I loved the strength and determination of Marina and Cristina and the courage they showed to escape from a dictatorship country. 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. The relationship between the ‘Four Musketeers’ and how they each found freedom to become successful was inspirational. Marina’s love affair with Tahquitz was developed really well and it exposed her vulnerability beautifully. I loved the news articles, photographs, and maps; this made the story even more interesting. The incredible storyline uncovers the harsh reality of living under a communist regime and their fight against dictatorship to gain their liberty. The plot also provokes much thought around the real-life President Erdogan and his involvement with the Iranian government and the source of his wealth.
Reviewed By Renee Guill
Treasure Seekers by Roberta Seret is about terrorism. It mixes fiction with non-fiction in such a unique way. Four women, who have been friends for 50 years, have found their dreams after escaping Romania. Two of them become fascinated by the gas for gold crime and end up going to places like Turkey and Istanbul to solve it. Between finding new love and getting into danger their friendships have gotten stronger. The gas for gold crime deals with America, Turkey, and Istanbul. It really is like a treasure hunt, where they are finding out where the gold is hidden by searching for clues in the case.
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. I loved that she even shares links to help you follow the case in more detail. There are some sex and rape scenes, but nothing too graphic. I admit that I was not sure about one of the characters. I was happy to find out I was wrong. I love that. The world-building is breathtaking; it made me wish I could visit those places someday. I liked that Roberta explained what was a real story and what was not at the end of the book. Roberta even gave you more articles to read. Usually, books like these take me a while to read but 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
Review by K.C. Finn
Treasure Seekers is a work of fiction in the thriller, action and political fiction sub-genres, and was penned by author Roberta Seret. Written for an adult reading audience, this tension-fuelled work unfolds the story of President Trump’s involvement with Turkey and Iran, but in a semi-fictionalized format that aims to explore and uncover the truth of the dirty dealings that may have taken place there. The work is filled with a cast of true to life characters whom we all know from the national and international news and follows up on conspiracy threads to flesh out how they might be true. What results is a high octane and exciting thriller novel which also pushes us to think about what is happening in the real world.
Roberta Seret uses her position of insight to deliver a truly fascinating novel that borders on spy thriller and true crime novels amongst its many genre-spanning layers. I was impressed by the cadence of the storytelling, which feels very straight-laced rather than the tongue in cheek style of many current politically-minded writers. 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.