Cornelis (Cees) van Zweeden is a writer of historical fiction whose first novel, Drina, will be published in Autumn 2020.

He started his career as a journalist and worked in thirty countries, witnessing major historical events. He travelled among the soul-destroying ruins of war-torn Lebanon, covered a vicious Algerian civil war, interviewed the pony-tailed man who almost murdered Serbia’s leader Slobodan Milošević, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the tenacious Tunisians who toppled dictator Ben Ali.

His travels left him with a passion for history but also with the conviction that behind big events lie small stories about ordinary people who are propelled into stardom or sent into oblivion. Often, these tales illustrate the destructive power of history better than a thousand history books.

Drina

Drina is a gripping tale of betrayals and seduction. Inspired by true events, its multiple love stories unfold against the backdrop of violence and repression in communist Europe.

Packed with romance and action, this historical spy novel takes the reader from the dustiest corners of ex-Yugoslavia and Greece to the vineyards of Provence and the white cliffs of southern England.

Three children without fathers coincidently meet as they start tracing their missing dads, only to discover an ugly truth. Carlo, one of the three, was born on the day his father was deported to an island in the Mediterranean. He discovers that Drina, a beautiful spy, was not entirely blame-free.

A story unfolding across the Balkans

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Drina is a gripping tale of betrayals and seduction. Inspired by true events, its multiple love stories unfold against the backdrop of violence and repression in communist Europe.

Packed with romance and action, this historical spy novel takes the reader from the dustiest corners of ex-Yugoslavia and Greece to the vineyards of Provence and the white cliffs of southern England.

Three children without fathers coincidently meet as they start tracing their missing dads, only to discover an ugly truth. Carlo, one of the three, was born on the day his father was deported to an island in the Mediterranean. He discovers that Drina, a beautiful spy, was not entirely blame-free.

During his fact-finding mission, Carlo walks into Drina’s honey trap just as his father had done. This time, however, the ruthless spy falls in love with her prey. Touched by Carlo’s integrity, Drina decides to embark on a quest of her own — a quest for redemption from the shame of her dark past of being a spy among friends.

Drina rids herself of all her crazy secrets, but revelations of her love life make Carlo furious. He wants to leave her but cannot stop himself from losing his heart to the sexy Gypsy spy, twenty years his age.

Drina will be published in Autumn 2020. Leave your contact details to make sure you don't miss it!

Cornelis (Cees) van Zweeden is a writer of historical fiction whose first novel, Drina, will be published in Autumn 2020.

He started his career as a journalist and worked in thirty countries, witnessing major historical events. He travelled among the soul-destroying ruins of war-torn Lebanon, covered a vicious Algerian civil war, interviewed the pony-tailed man who almost murdered Serbia’s leader Slobodan Milošević, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the tenacious Tunisians who toppled dictator Ben Ali.

His travels left him with a passion for history but also with the conviction that behind big events lie small stories about ordinary people who are propelled into stardom or sent into oblivion. Often, these tales illustrate the destructive power of history better than a thousand history books.

One such extraordinary story is that of Drina, a Gypsy girl who escaped from a Bulgarian slum to become a spy in communist Yugoslavia. The historical novel puts a magnifying glass on a nightmare from which the region still tries to wake up: Goli Otok. The book is set in Southeast Europe, Provence and England.

Born in the Netherlands, Cornelis moved to London at the age of 37 to become a foreign correspondent for a large group of newspapers. After that, he was dispatched to Paris and Budapest. He covered the Maghreb traveling from Paris and the Balkan peninsula from his base in Budapest.

In Macedonia he dodged bullets, and near Berane in Montenegro he escaped from an ambush. When he stopped for a coffee in an isolated road-side café in Sutjeska National Park, he bumped into the Bosnian Serb warlord Radovan Karadžić, who had been on the run for ten years.

He also developed a love for nature, climbing mountains and kayaking through the magnificent Tara canyon, the world’s second deepest. In an attempt to find a place never visited by tourists, he trekked for weeks through the Indonesian jungle, only to bump into a group of jolly Germans.

When his last assignment as a foreign correspondent came to an end, he started to read law and reinvented himself as a media lawyer. As such, he worked for international organizations in Kosovo, Ukraine, Albania, Morocco and Serbia.

He holds a Master’s degree in International Intellectual Property Law from the University of London.

Cornelis now lives with his wife Kitty in Provence and Dalmatia, where he works on his second historical novel.