History’s Greatest Mysteries – Lost Gold of World War II – Season 4 Episode 23

Just got finished watching the History’s Channel’s, History’s Greatest Mysteries  – Lost Gold of World War II and wanted to offer a critique of the documentary that I finally got around to watching. This was an excellent documentary regarding the gold the Japanese buried in the Philippines during World War II. Their experts were outstanding, extremely knowledgeable and highly qualified. For the record, I was initially contacted to be on the documentary but didn’t make the final cut. Yes, I was bummed but such is life. But since I have considerable knowledge on the subject I had more than a passing interest to watch.

Popcorn and adult beverage in hand I sat down in front of the TV.

Below are my points of research contrary to those presented in the documentary. Mind you not sour grapes, just a difference between our research and knowledge plus the presentation.

One of the premises of the documentary was Yamashita Tomoyuki knew of all the burial sites and was hung because he had refused to cooperate and give up the information to his interrogators.

I want to set forth the details of Yamashita’s final days in the Philippines.

Now it is true that Yamashita was at the last burial site because he had strict orders to make sure none of the local engineers, soldiers and slaves, responsible for carrying the final gold and treasure into this site would talk. He got everyone into the cave under the story of a great celebration or “party”.  Once they were all drunk, Yamashita snuck out and had the site entrance blown up then sealed to keep the surface location a secret. Additionally, he may have been to or know of a couple of others sites the Golden Lily had just enclosed.

According to my research, during the final days of World War II, Yamashita was focused on guerilla warfare to hold MacArthur off long enough for the Golden Lily team to finish those last burial sites. His orders were to prolong the fighting as long as possible with MacArthur to give the Golden Lily team time to bury as much of the gold as possible.

Further, the documentary put forth the theory that Yamashita was interrogated to give up the location of the gold burial sites and when he didn’t “crack” from the interrogation, they moved on to interrogate his driver, Major Kashii Kojima. Soon Kojima caved under the interrogation techniques used by Edward Lansdale and Servino Santa Romana. Kojima later profited from “caving”.

The theory in this documentary was because Yamashita knew of the burial sites, he had to be silenced. The truth; Yamashita was hung because he embarrassed MacArthur by prolonging the guerilla warfare for several days after Hirohito agreed to surrender.

One of the experts on the documentary hypothesized that Marcos didn’t know about the buried gold until Rogelio Roxas made his discovery of the golden buddha. This is factually incorrect. As early as the 1950’s Marcos was aware of the buried gold and started seeking and profiting off from the Golden Lily burial sites, long before Roxas’s discovery. More detail is provided in my novel, Gold of the Spirits.

Gold of the Spirits

Understand Roxas had been an amateur treasure hunter for a long time. Now here is the accurate detail Roxas’s operation after his discovery of the Golden Buddha. He decided to sell the buddha to finance his operation at that site. When Marcos heard about his discovery, he sent in someone, who was disguised as a legitimate buyer, to evaluate the buddha. Within days, Marcos sent in his personal police force, under the command of Marco’s top henchman, Fabian Ver. They beat Roxas, plus confiscated the Golden Buddha. When Roxas went public with his story, President Ferdinand Marcos had Roxas arrested and brutalized by Ver. Many of the Filipinos were already starting to turn against Marcos. During Roxas effort to recover the Golden Buddha, Marcos would have him arrested. As for Roxas, spent the next several years in and out of jail, where each time he was beaten and brutalized by Ver. Each time, when it looked like he could die from the beatings, Marcos had him released from jail.

Finally, the situation got so bad for Marcos in the Philippines, President Reagan offered Marcos to exile in Hawaii. This gave Roxas his opening to pursue regaining the Golden Buddha. He had a friend in Georgia set up the Golden Buddha Corporation, a Georgia corporation, and filed a suit against Marcos now residing in Hawaii. When it was time for Roxas to testify in court, a doctor prescribed him some medicine. He mysteriously died the day before he was to board the plane and fly to Honolulu. His lawyer in California, asked his wife to put the medicine in a FEDEX package and overnight it to him. When the package arrived, the FEDEX envelope was empty. Roxas’ death didn’t let the Marcos family off the hook on the lawsuit as it was filed by the Golden Buddha Corporation. The court ruled in Golden Buddha Corporation’s favor and at the time was the largest settlement recorded. However, it remains tied up in appeals. More detail is provided in my novels, The President’s Gold and Tarnished Gold.

Tarnished Gold

The President's Gold

The President’s Gold







One of the expert witnesses claimed that the Roxas site is the only recovery of gold and treasure documented. Sorry not even close. This is not even true as far as the public record. The documentary did mention that Lansdale had informed President Truman of Yamashita’s driver, Major Kashii Kijomi detailing several key finds. Truman decided to keep it “hush – hush” thus the CIA begin recovering treasure that has been discovered led by Lansdale/Santa Romana in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

Over time, from my research, it has been estimated that of the one hundred-seventy-five burial sites, more than thirty sites have been recovered. Marcos was involved in the very beginning of the hunt for the burial sites.

Let me provide some additional background on Ferdinand Marcos pursuit of buried treasure.

Marcos was the lawyer in the Philippines representing Servino Santa Romana. So he had access to much of Santa Romana’s bank accounts and information regarding his finds.

Additionally, Marcos became friends with Japanese-American business man, Fukimatsu Minoru, together these two men began working together to recover gold the Japanese buried in the Philippines. By September 9, 1956, Congressman Ferdinand Marcos had a Gold certificate for the “deposit” amount of 7,120 metric tonnes of AU issued by Swiss Bank Corporation (Schweizerische Bank Gesellschaft M.H.C.).



In the early 1950’s, Ryoichi Sasakawa, a former member of the Golden Lily, became president of the New Japan-Philippine Association and a Japan-Indonesia Association. Soon thereafter, Ryoichi made the acquaintance of Ferdinand Marcos with whom he would become friends. It is likely that Marcos and Ryoichi first meeting went back to the end of the Quirino Presidency, when the Philippines Government was attempting to uncover buried treasure.

Lastly, and of equal or greater importance, sometime during the mid-1950’s, Yoshio Kodama came to the Philippines “to work on Japanese construction projects” and “off-shore salvage operations”. Yoshio had considerable power in Japan, one he was part of the Golden Lily team, one of the founding members of the Liberal Democratic Party, and soon would become the boss of the Yamaguchi-Gumi, the largest Yakuza clan in Japan.  This allowed him to move back and forth between the Philippines and Japan, work with his old friend Ryoichi and make the new acquaintance of Marcos. Yoshio would join the group working together looking to recover the buried Gold and treasure.

In conclusion, I would expect that several of those highly qualified individuals knew of the facts, I have summarized here. They may have even discussed it with the Prometheus producers and interviewers. It may have ended up on the cutting floor. Or those individuals are like me, there are some things that we know that you just don’t want to discuss on camera. I encourage anyone interested in the topic of buried gold in the Philippines to watch this episode, History’s Greatest Mysteries – Lost Gold of WWII, it was excellent. I loved the set where it was conducted. And yes, I would have loved to have made the cut and been involved in that documentary..

Daniel Ellsberg

On June 16, 2023, Daniel Ellsberg passed away at the age of 92. Ellsberg may be one of the most misunderstood, polarizing “whistleblowers” in U. S. history. I have spent the last few days reading his obituaries and reviewing other internet sources about his life. In my research for my novels regarding Ellsberg and his role in the Vietnam Conflict, I have a slightly different spin. Naturally, the focal point of all published articles, the writers come back to Ellsberg taking top-secret documents during the Vietnam Conflict.  Ellsberg then passed these top-secret documents to Washington Journalist, Neil Sheehan, who chronicled and wrote the narrative to the Pentagon Papers. He was hailed and assailed for his actions. Hailed by the peace movement during the time of the Vietnam conflict. Assailed by the U. S. military and government for removing and disclosing the top-secret document. I also wrote a blog about Sheehan upon his passing, see attached.

To understand Ellsberg, you must understand his career path; he attend Harvard University on a four year scholarship, then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude in Economics. His senior honors thesis was titled Theories of Decision-making Under Uncertainty: The Contributions of von Neumann and Morgenstern. In 1953, he volunteered to join the Marine Corp Officers Candidate program, where he served for three years rising to the rank of rifle platoon leader. Once he served his enlistment period, he returned to Harvard for a Master’s program.

In 1959, he joined the Rand Corporation, as strategic analyst. He was part of a team reviewing top-secret intelligence estimates of Soviet nuclear capabilities, including studying the possibilities of Soviet surprise attacks on the United States. While still employed by Rand, in 1962, he went back to Harvard and earned his Ph.D. in Economics. His doctorial thesis was titled Risk, Ambiguity and Decision, which was recently published in a Distinguished Thesis.

During the 1962, Cuban Missile Crisis, Ellsberg was sent to Washington D.C. working on one of several committees answering directly to the National Security Council.

His next career move was the one that sent him down his life’s path. In 1964, he joined the United States Department of Defense as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, John T. McNaughton. McNaughton promised him “this was my chance to study high-level decision-making from the inside, as a participant rather than as a researcher after the facts. I was hired to work for him principally on Vietnam, then a low-level American engagement that had appeared to me totally unpromising for the U.S. ever since I had visited Saigon in 1961 on a Defense Department task force. But as McNaughton held out to me: ‘You want to study crises; Vietnam is a continuous crisis’.”

Ellsberg’s first day at the Pentagon was August 4, 1964. (Does anyone see the irony of that date? Those of you who got it right, congratulations.) It was the date of the Gulf of Tonkin incident that “wasn’t an incident” but Secretary Robert McNamara and President Lyndon Johnson used it to begin their secret escalation of the Vietnam Conflict. The Military Industrial Complex at work.

It should be noted that neither McNaughton nor Ellsberg supported the escalation of this conflict in the manner as micro-managed by McNamara and Johnson. Instead, Ellsberg believed in the plan of CIA operative, General Edward Lansdale, the man responsible for CIA psy-ops, for fighting in Vietnam. Lansdale’s plan in brief summary, train the South Vietnamese to conduct a counter guerilla war against the Viet Cong. I might also add at this point, Former Five Star General Douglas MacArthur had told then President Kennedy not to put ground troops in Vietnam. Kennedy was planning on de-escalating the U.S. role in Vietnam in the middle of his term. The Military Industrial Complex was very unhappy with that potential policy change that Kennedy was planning. Well, we know what happened to him.

Ellsberg was embedded with the troops at the front line to report on the U.S.’s so called Pacification program. As the Vietnam Conflict escalated into a fighting conflict, Ellsberg became more and more disenchanted with how the war was being executed. Ellsberg believed the execution of the battle strategy and planning was creating a hopeless war. Then he contracted hepatitis, which he believed was a result of his front line operations in the rice paddies. He was sent home in June 1967.

He returned to the Rand Corporation and was assigned to a top secret Robert McNamara study on U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68. Ellsberg was one of only three people, the other two being project directors, to have authorized exclusive access to the entire seven thousand plus page, forty-seven volume study for purposes of research on Lessons from Vietnam. This evolved into what would become the Pentagon Papers.

Over the next three years of reading, studying, and preparing the analysis for McNamara, Ellsberg made a decision. A decision, right or wrong, and irrespective of what would happen to him. He decided the real truth had to get out, even at the cost of his own criminal prosecution.

His first thought was to take his manuscript to Congressman William Fulbright, who elected to do nothing. Next, he took the manuscript to the Washington Post, managed by former CIA operative Ben Bradlee, who elected not to publish the story or the manuscript. They didn’t want anything to do with it. Then he went to the New York Times, who started publishing it in 1971.

For his role in leaking this information, Ellsberg was charged with theft, conspiracy, and violations of the Espionage Act. Ultimately, he was convicted on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, but the U.S. government’s case was dismissed when evidence surfaced about the government-ordered wiretappings and break-ins.

By the end of 1971, Bantom Books had the The Pentagon Papers published. I read it in 1972, at the behest of one of my college friends.


In my Novel Pawns 3; Stalemate, I wrote a scene based on a true segment of Ellsberg’s time in Vietnam. To set the scene, CIA agents Lucien Conein (one of my favorite real life characters) and Edward Lansdale were having a meeting with, a representative of the French Corsican Brotherhood, “Big Titted” Helene. They had called for a hit on Lansdale for damaging their drug trade coming out of Indochina. Naturally, Lansdale wanted it lifted. This is where my novel picks up:


December 7, 1965



Lansdale strolled into the bar and looked around. Wherever the commotion was, that was where he would find Conein. At a table in the far corner, he heard that laugh. He was seated with two men and a woman. Undoubtedly, Conein was telling stories to keep them “entertained.” He gestured for Lansdale to come over. As Lansdale walked over, he saw two more of Conein’s men leaning on the bar watching him.

When Lansdale walked up to the table, Conein waved the two men sitting with him to leave. The woman remained. Conein pointed to a chair opposite the woman. Lansdale sat.

“Edward Lansdale,” Conein said under his breath, “I want to introduce you to Helene. She would like to speak to you.”

Lansdale reached his hand out to Helene, but the attractive French-Vietnamese wearing a low-cut blouse that exposed the tops of her large breasts made no move to accept his offer. He pulled back his hand. “So you wanted to meet me to discuss what, exactly?”

Helene leaned forward, her breasts resting on the table. “Atonine Guerini wanted me to look you in the eye and get your word that you would no longer try to undermine our operations here in the mountains,” she said in a low voice. “Well?”

Lansdale jutted his jaw, glanced at Conein, then nodded. “You have my word. I have my hands full with the mess in Vietnam that I have to straighten out. Your operations are not why my government sent me here.” Lansdale pointed at Conein. “I can’t believe Guerini would not take Lucien’s word, but if that’s how you want to do business, I have said it to your face. Now, I expect you to tell Guerini to call off the contract on me, so that I can get my job done.” Lansdale poked his finger at the table repeatedly. “You tell him that for me.”

Helene looked over at Conein, who nodded in agreement. “Guerini, has authorized me to agree to those terms, Mr. Lansdale. You don’t screw us, we won’t kill you.” Helene looked over at Conein, who nodded in agreement. Without another word, Helene got up and left.

Lansdale pushed up from the table.

Conein raised his hand. “I got something we need to discuss. Sit back down.”

Lansdale pressed his lips tightly together. “Now, what?” He sat down.

Conein looked around to make sure no one was within ear shot. “We have a little problem with your friend, Daniel Ellsberg.”

Lansdale leaned forward. “What the hell? The man hasn’t been here very long. How could he have pissed off anybody already?”

Conein drew a deep breath. “Daniel is messing around with one of the Corsican’s mistresses, and he doesn’t like it. We don’t need any more trouble. These men get real up tight when someone is messing with their women. Even their mistresses.”

Lansdale looked at Conein. “He’s your friend, too. If you want to deliver that message, I suggest you deliver it yourself. And if the Corsican were a real man, he could deliver it himself rather than ask you to be his messenger.”

Conein said, “I’m just trying to protect Ellsberg. This could get a little messy. I had to threaten to kill the man if he went after Ellsberg.”

Lansdale laughed as he got up from the table. “I got to go meet Ambassador Lodge. I don’t have time for this Corsican mistress shit.” He got up and walked out of the bar.

A New Novel, a Sci Fi – Project Echo: A German officer travels back in time to 1942 to alter the outcome of World War II

This blog is to introduce, Project Echo, a science fiction novel. The theme has been on my mind for a long time but it took me awhile to research all the invented or legendary devices in existence at the setting of the novel.

The plot: a cabal of former German officers send, one of the most wicked men in history, Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann, back to change the outcome of World War II. His mission is to go to Japan, meet with Admiral Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Naval Fleet, to provide information to alter his naval strategy at the Battle of Midway. In early 1942, neither the United States nor the Japanese knew the importance of that battle, it was literally, the fulcrum point for both sides.

Let me anticipate the question in your mind; why would the Germans care about a Japanese battle and not their own?

The answer: Prolong the war, so that Germany can complete its development of the Atomic Bomb before the United States.

How would the outcome of the Battle of Midway accomplish prolonging the war?

Once the Strike South faction of the Japanese Military convinced Hirohito that this was the best course of action, their war strategy from the early 1930’s was to control the Pacific.

What if, Japan had won The Battle of Midway?

The Japanese Navy would strategically be one step closer to controlling the Pacific Ocean. Their next target would have been Hawaii, followed by putting pressure on the west coast of the United States. The United States would have to pull assets out of Europe and send them to the Pacific in order to defend them.

This made for a very intriguing plot for a novel.

The evil Eichmann knew that because Japan would lose most of its carrier fleet and its best Naval pilots at that battle, it changed their strategy from offense to defense allowing the U.S. to continue to focus their war effort against Germany.

If you want to know how evil Eichmann was, check out my previous blog, wherein I lay out my thesis for selecting Eichmann as my antagonist, due to his role in the German Nazi’s attempt to eliminate the Jewish population in Europe. In 1949, Eichmann was a fugitive from the Mossad and the U.S. authorities, his plan for 1942 was much more sinister than just changing the outcome of the Battle of Midway.

Enter my protagonist, Army G-2 Captain Jarrett Webber, who agrees to enter a different but untested Die Glocke previously retrieved from Germany. Jarrett is sent to act alone and bring back Eichmann from 1942 to 1949, alive. He can’t divulge his mission to anyone in 1942. Plus, he cannot kill anyone he encounters, out of fear of altering the actual timeline.

As Jarrett arrives in time to begin his pursuit of the evil Eichmann, the odds began to mount up against him. Soon not only is the German army after him but so to are elements with the Allied forces trying to capture or kill him.

Can Jarrett prevent Eichmann from meeting with Admiral Yamamoto?


I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone for my latest up-coming novel, stepping into the science fiction genera. While I have always enjoyed science fiction, I have never been willing to step into that area. However, I didn’t stray too far from my historical fiction roots. In my past writing, my topics have always focused on the Asian theater, such as, stolen gold by the Japanese in World War II, the Vietnam Conflict or Chinese spy operations surrounding the United States.

This time, I researched and wrote about World War II in Europe but with a sci-fi twist. While my novel follows the usual format, that is, most of the characters are real historical figures and followed the events as they occurred real time. I might add the plot of the novel could have actually happened. Moreover, the plot is not necessarily new but it is evil, very evil.

This blog is to introduce my antagonist, one of the most vile, real men from modern history: Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann.

Why Eichmann? And what did he actually do? What did I have him do in my novel?

Why Eichmann…

Using him as the antagonist, for those of you who know little about this German officer, selecting him allowed me to incorporate several real life issues into the plots of the novel. He grew up around a Jewish population in Austria, I might add the same home town of Hitler. He grew up a Nazi, serving in the Austrian Nazi Party during the 1930s. Then once in the military, he was assigned to the SS in a concentration camp. Shortly thereafter, he was re-assigned to Brigadier General Reinhard Heydrich’s SD, which was the German powerful SS security service or their military intelligence. This was the beginning of their friendship. In this new role, he was to catalog information on the Freemasons.  Later, he was re-assigned to the Jewish section. In 1938, he was transferred, once again, back to Austria to establish the Central Office for Jewish Emigration. This office had the sole authority for issuing permits to Jews wishing to leave Nazi occupied Austria. That put about one hundred thousand Jews at that man’s mercy. Eichmann quickly learned how to extort wealthy Jews. This was the final building block to cause him to be considered the Jewish authority in the Nazi Army and Party.

Finally, he was selected to be an integral part to the Lake Wannsee Conference to draw up Jewish Extermination Plan. Was his feelings toward the Jews a result of being teased while growing up, called “little Jew”? Due to his previous assignments and his accumulated knowledge on the Jewish population, he would soon be considered one of the experts on the Jewish population in Europe.

What did Eichmann actually do?

While there is a lot more to Eichmann’s background for the purposes of this blog, I’ll summarize. In 1939, he was transferred back to Berlin. He was promoted to lead the Gestapo Section IV B4. Then in January 1942, he joined General Heydrich and thirteen other men at the SS Villa on Lake Wannsee to draw up the final solution for the extermination of the Jewish race in all conquered territories with the ever expanding Nazi war machine. Because of his evil expertise, he was integral in the plan of how to exterminate the Jews. He had witnessed this first hand in conquered Poland, where SS officers murdered members of the politicians, professionals and others, due to the Nazi Party’s fear that they could be security threats or saboteurs.

What role did I give Eichmann, as the antagonist in my novel?

What if, Eichmann could change the outcome of World War II?

Interview with AllAuthor

Several weeks ago, Mady Joshi at AllAuthor.com contacted me about doing written interview. Naturally, I agreed. Here is the interview.

Don Kesterson Interview Published on: 09, May 2022

Who was the most influential person to you growing up?

This is a more complicated question, than you would think. I grew up in sports, just about every sport I could think of but two individuals stuck out to me over time, Chicago Bear’s running back Gale Sayers because of his quiet, but driven demeanor plus he was a strong Christian. The other athlete was two time gold medal Olympian Edwin Moses, who was undefeated for one-hundred-seven consecutive races covering from September 1977 to June 1987. His consistency of excellent was inspirational. Again, a very quiet but driven athlete.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Not really. During my school years, I was not drawn to reading let alone consider writing. My geology career started my writing career, if you will. Intense research forced me into reading, yet still not drawn to the craft of writing books.

Who introduced you to the world of books?

My mother was an avid reader but that “vaccination” didn’t really take in my youth. It took a little longer. In my business there was so much wait time that soon I was carrying books, fiction and non fiction on the job site to kill the waiting time. The first novel that really captured my interests was American Falls by John Calvin Batchelor. He used a very rich style of writing, which began to open my eyes to the power of words.

How and why did you choose the Historical Fiction genre?

It chose me, I didn’t choose it. I wrote a very large still unpublished history book. It was part of a very large research project. During that research and writing I discovered many hidden truths. Then upon sitting down with my editor at lunch reviewing one of my chapters. She made the comment that a segment of that particular chapter could be made into a novel. She elaborated a visualization she saw while reading and BOOM. I was intrigued. Shortly after that revelation, I also learned the difference between writing scientific reports and novels were diametrically opposed. It was so much fun writing scenes.

What inspired you to write the novel, Gold of the Spirits?

All my writing, novels or the memoir, are based on a true and accurate historical timeline. This novel was written as a prequel to The President’s Gold, which I had planned to be a stand alone novel. While still learning to write, the fun I was having led me to want to write Gold of the Spirits, the prequel to The President’s Gold to explain how the gold got in the Philippines.

How did you come up with the story of Chop Stix: Chinese Spies Among Us?

This novel actually evolved from Gold of the Spirits. I sprinkled “several seeds” in that novel from a historical timeline, chasing Chinese spy, that I had always planned to finish. Plus, there was an unfinished confrontation between my protagonist and my antagonist. It all really worked out quite well. Also, the timing was perfect considering the current rate of the United States government uncovering Chinese spies.

Who inspired the character of Frank Young in The President’s Gold?

Frank Young is a fictitious representation of my martial arts instructor, many years ago. I respected him so much and sadly have lost touch with him but I wanted to write it as a tribute, in a fictional sort of way. Frank is also the main protagonist in Tarnished Gold, the last novel in the gold series. This saga covers the gold buried in the Philippines during World War II and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. Because of my knowledge on the subject of the buried gold, I have appeared on several TV documentaries regarding those related subjects. I should note that I have withheld some of the more dangerous discoveries I have made.

How do you try to keep your stories interesting and from becoming repetitive?

That is easy, find the right elements in history. Make sure they are interesting, exciting and there is a deep hidden background story. I love revealing the background story to the front end story to give the reader real insight into the historical event.

Are you friends with other authors? If so, how have they helped you in your journey as a writer?

Yes, I am a member of the Chapin, SC Writers Group, who have been very inspirational. My wife was a writer before she contracted Multiple Sclerosis. She would have me read her materials prior to submitting. Her dialogue portion to her stories was sensational. She showed me that you can write and let the reader feel like you are in the scene not just reading about it.

What are some of the things you know now that you did not know when you first started writing?

The business side, which despite my day job dealing with business every day. My own writing career began as the internet was taking off. At that time your writing could only be marketed via agents, publishers, bookstores, etc. Breaking into that market was insurmountable and quirky. You had to find agents who sought works that dealt with their interest or strengths. However, this industry has now evolved, if you have your own public relations people, know how to pick the key words you can be successful and not be tied by contracts which more often than not, restricts more than help you.

What is one thing that you, as a fiction author, would never write about?

Another great question. At the moment, I avoid Hallmark style or love themes. It is a great market, don’t get me wrong but it is just so far out of my reach and desire, it is just a non-starter.

Have any negative reviews or constructive criticism come your way for Pawns: Magic Bullet? How do you handle it?

No. I actually got a Kirkus review right as I published Pawns: Magic Bullet. They gave me a really good review. As I wanted to make sure this was tight. Plus, I knew any writing that dealt with President Kennedy has always been topical to the general public. I might add, in writing this novel, my historical research revealed a connection I had never seen anyone come up with regarding the assassination of President Kennedy and the ties to the Vietnam Conflict.

What does Don Kesterson’s Saturday looks like? What are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?

I don’t have free time. I don’t like free time. Between my day job as a petroleum geologist, writing, volunteering as a high school basketball coach, distance runner and working out, my days are full. So my work is my free time, what’s the saying “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. I am blessed by God, I love life and what I do every single day.

Which is the next book you are working on? Give us an insight into it.

Currently, I am writing a science fiction novel. It is about a German soldier going back in time to change the outcome of World War II. What is interesting, I’m still following the historically accurate time line, with the added twists of science fiction. Been fun writing.

Where do you see yourself as an author in 10 years time? Are there any goals you hope to accomplish by then?

As long as I can come up with ideas to build a plot around, I intend to keep writing. When I started in the writing business almost thirty years ago, my plan was to write a Southeastern Asia history book. I have had individuals read it, their analysis was anyone going into the diplomatic service in Asia should read it prior to serving in the designated country. I wanted to make money writing and I thought I could with an agent and publisher. As discussed earlier, changes in the writing business no longer a makes that a necessity. Unless you are famous and get a huge signing bonus, you don’t make money writing books. Have you noticed everybody is writing a book? Which is fine because only those with a passion to write remain in the industry.

What do you think of AllAuthor? Has this website been helpful to you? What are some things you would change if you could?

The AllAuthor’s website has been very helpful. I did a considerable amount of research before I signed up. There are many writer websites out there, so there are many choices. I chose AllAuthor because it was professionally organized, it didn’t make any promises of followers and the like. Yet, it provided an excellent market for self-promotion. Plus, it got me this interview, didn’t it? I’m not trying to be funny. In the beginning of my writing career I hired someone to teach me about social media, what worked and what didn’t. About writing blogs and subject material. Their instruction was keen on what websites to select and what to avoid.

CHOP STIX – My New Novel

My new novel, Chop Stix, opens in late November 1963 with FBI Special Agent Tom Warren, a week into his new assignment, at the San Francisco Bureau to lead the effort to break down a well-organized Chinese spy network. Soon after his arrival, he is discreetly given a picture of a murdered Japanese woman with a chopstick jammed into her mouth. Tom recognizes this as the handiwork of his old nemesis, Dr. Wang–the leader of the same Chinese spy network. His last run-in with Dr. Wang resulted in the death of Tom’s entire team, and he is determined to have different results when they next meet.





The FBI realizes the Chinese Government has had spies in the United States for years stealing national security secrets. Tom’s investigation reveals that Dr. Wang is leading China’s effort to steal nuclear secrets so that they can develop their first atomic weapon. Every time Tom and his partner, FBI Special Agent Marty Corley, get close to a breakthrough into the workings of the spy ring, they are tipped off about the investigation, the Chinese operatives are hustled out of the United States. Tom speculates the Chinese have someone buried deep inside the United States government or law enforcement tipping them off. This increases the pressure on Tom and his team, as they now must find the source of that leak. Tom builds his own network of sources to attempt to bring down the Chinese spies. First, he re-establishes his connection to MI6 Agent Anthony Middleton in Hong Kong. But when this isn’t enough, he is personally conflicted with his decision to add two young girls, Shou Li Cao and Hada Miyoko. Neither have any professional experience at the spy game but both have necessary connections to work undercover.

Dr. Wang does not sit idly by, as he too adds to his growing network. They begin stealing secrets from the United States which will grow the fledgling Chinese economy. These acts making their network even harder to break up, as Dr. Wang too uses people with no professional training. As more people on both sides are killed, Dr. Wang becomes even more ruthless all the while gaining more power inside China.

No matter what it takes, Tom is hell-bent on bringing down Dr. Wang. Tom has one last but very risky chance to take him down. But must decide if it is a risk worth taking.

The settings for Chop Stix are San Francisco, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo. It covers the period from late 1963 to 1985. As with all my novels, it follows a historically accurate timeline, involving real Chinese spies and government officials, as well as a few real high level FBI officials. This is by far and away my most action packed thriller with an unexpected ending.

I have studied China, its culture, history, religion and society since I was in college. Since the rise of Xi Jinping, the conflict between the United States and Communist China has been brought into focus by various media sources. What the reader will learn from my novel this conflict has been on going. The old adage of the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or if you don’t learn from history, it is bound to repeat itself. This is exactly what is happening in the world today. For those of you who are aware of the Dong Jing-wei, story there are a considerable parallels.

My novel, Gold of the Spirits, deals with their initial conflict between my fictional character Tom Warren and the real-life character Dr. Wang. So if you haven’t read Gold of the Spirits, you might want to grab it. It was set in the Philippines and Hong Kong in the 1940’s.




Journalist Neil Sheehan Passed Away

Pulitzer Price winning journalist Neil Sheehan passed away on January 7, 2021 at the age of eighty-four. He was a complicated individual but someone I could relate to. One of the reasons was his attention to detail on his research, almost to a fault. In my historically accurate Vietnam novel series, titled Pawns, particularly in the third installment, I detailed Sheehan and his relationship with those he interacted with in Vietnam and upon returning to the United States.





In 1962, Sheehan was working as a reporter for United Press International (UPI) assigned to Vietnam and supported the U.S. role in the conflict. He interacted with the likes of New York Times reporter David Halberstam and the Associated Press (AP) reporter Malcolm Brown and Time Magazine reporter Pham Xuan An. On his second assignment to Vietnam, in 1964, Sheehan began to change his prospective on the conflict. It was then that he met Department of Defense civilian employee, Daniel Ellsberg, who also had just returned to Vietnam. By the time, Sheehan was recalled to the U.S. for a new assignment for Time Magazine, reporting from the Pentagon his mind had completely changed regarding the U.S. role in Vietnam.

Sheehan is probably most famous for his role in publishing, The Pentagon Papers, the 7,000 pages of stolen documents given to him by Daniel Ellsberg, who had been reassigned to the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. This book was filled with details that the U. S. government didn’t want made public regarding the Vietnam Conflict.

For those of you too young to remember, The Pentagon Papers was maybe the most controversial book of the era. President Nixon did everything he could to block its release. Both Sheehan and Ellsberg were held as heroes or villains depending on one’s prospective of the Vietnam Conflict.

When I was a freshman in college a dorm mate recommended the book and it really was the first step of opening my eyes on how the world really works. Today, the pages of my copy are brown and tattered from use and review while writing my three Pawns novels. To those who have not read my series the novels are not against the Vietnam Conflict nor for it. Throughout the writing my characters where used to present both sides of the conflict, all the while focusing on the U.S. soldiers being used as pawns by the top government officials.

Likewise, I also read Sheehan’s book, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. This book was a detailed biography on Army Colonel John Paul Vann. Again, a very detailed writing that Sheehan took years to research. As an aside, he was in trouble with the publisher because he was taking so long to present the manuscript.  The bulk of the biography dealt with the Vietnam Conflict through the eyes of John Paul Vann. His attention to detail was so impressive. John Paul Vann had a different idea who the Vietnam Conflict should have been executed by the U.S. but his ideas were never implemented. Colonel John Paul Vann died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.

In conclusion, regardless of your opinion of Neil Sheehan he was an outstanding journalist, who did real research into his topic, for that reason I hold the man in high regard.


Beyond Oak Island Series

On January 8, 2020, the Prometheus Studios, Inc. flew me to Los Angeles to film a segment for their new series, Beyond Oak Island. The series will feature the two brothers who have led the Oak Island dig, it will feature other treasure and gold stories from around the world. On Tuesday of this past week, the episode three of this new series ran on the History Channel, it featured several different topics including a segment I was interviewed for, Yamashita’s Gold with a focus on the Golden Buddha recovered by Rogelio Roxas. This episode will re-air on Tuesday at 5PM but will continue to run for several weeks.

I had planned to write a blog about my experience of going to Los Angeles for this filming but the Covid 19 virus hit and the editing and developing of the new series was put on hold. I feared it was going to be canceled altogether. Then one evening several weeks ago, one of my best friend’s sent me a text that they had been watching the History Channel and heard my voice on a commercial then looked up and saw me on the screen. I texted him what it was about, as I had stopped making contact with the producer of the show. He said he wasn’t certain. So I sent the producer an email and she advised me that the segment was produced and ready but she didn’t have a schedule.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday night, December 1. The local high school team that I am a volunteer assistant coach, Chapin High School, won a big game by the time I got home I was wired and couldn’t go to sleep. My wife was watching the History Channel, episode three of this new series. It was very interesting about shipwrecks and lost treasure and gold at sea. So at about 10:45 PM, I said “I’m finally tired enough to go to bed but I am enjoying this show about shipwrecks. The next segment of the episode started with the lead with something about Japanese raided gold and treasure and there I was, popping in and out of this segment about Yamashita’s Gold, the Golden Buddha and the lawsuit of Rogelio Roxas versus Ferdinand Marcos.

The timing of this episode and that segment could not have been any better as I had just published my last novel in my Gold series, Tarnished Gold, which deals with what happened to Yamashita’s Gold and more particularly, the Golden Buddha.

Hopefully, you all will catch it on the History Channel on either rerun, on demand or stream it over your computer and purchase my novel related to this very subject. Here is the hyperlink

Tarnished Gold – is now Published

I finally got around to writing and publishing Tarnished Gold, (Amazon paperback, kindle and Barnes and Noble kindle) the sequel, to The President’s Gold, and boy is it good. Just like The President’s Gold and Gold of the Spirits (the prequel), Tarnished Gold is a historically accurate novel which follows the timeline of the Marcos family after they exiled to Hawai’i. Click here for a more detailed synopsis of the novel. To make the history more readable, I drop several fictional characters into this historically accurate timeline so that the reader is not just reading history but experiencing it, sucked into the middle of the unfolding events. The accuracy and the detail of my historical research has been noticed by various producers regarding Japanese gold buried in the Philippines during World War II and what happened to the gold and treasures, since that time.

For seven years, this story, Tarnished Gold, has been rolling around in the back of my mind, outlined and scenes drafted but I had to do some additional character development so that I could finish it. What’s funny, this character that needed additional development was accomplished in a different novel series of mine, Pawns, but that is how writer’s minds work. So for those of you who read The President’s Gold, maybe even read the prequel, Gold of the Spirits, here is the conclusion to the series regarding gold buried in the Philippines by the Japanese during World War II. More specifically, those who went in to recover the buried gold and treasures, Ferdinand Marcos, the US CIA via Santa Romana, the Japanese Yakuza and the US Military.

And for those of you involved in the interwoven story of The President’s Gold, Frank Young returns as the protagonist, as does Rosalita Laurel, who really isn’t the antagonist, but she isn’t “Snow White” either. There are several real antagonists in the story, but they are the real life people, Ferdinand Marcos, and Fabian Ver, among a few others.

Hope you enjoy reading my new novel, Tarnished Gold, or all the novels in the Gold series. Also, look for me in the History Channels production, Beyond Oak Island series episode.




Pawns: Stalemate, my new Vietnam novel

My third installment of my Vietnam Conflict series, Pawns: Stalemate, was released in paperback this week on Amazon. It is a behind the scenes story from one of the most volatile times in US history, the Vietnam Conflict. The Pawns series was started from seeing the bumper sticker: When I Left Vietnam, We Were Winning”. Growing up in the Vietnam era, I do not remember anyone ever discussing with me that the United States was ever winning in Vietnam. Therefore, I was seeking the truth, was the bumper sticker correct? This novel represents the final answer to my own personal question of the bumper sticker. It took two years of deep research and writing, seeking out only the facts regarding the Vietnam Conflict. I interviewed and discussed strategy and application with several of my friends and contacts who had honorably served in the United States military. Likewise, since growing up in that era, I knew and went to college with numerous anti-war protestors.

The novel picks up several months after the final scene of Pawns: Kings in Check, it begins in the middle of 1965, just as President Johnson orders a substantial increase of ground troops into Vietnam and ends after the TET Offensive at the beginning of 1968. It features the same fictional characters from previous novels in this series, Marine Major Steven Hebert and newspaper reporter Rita Sullivan inserted into the historically accurate timeline. The intent is to give the reader a feel for actually experiencing the events, while shining a light on the true history. Hebert and Sullivan serve their fictional roles juxtaposed in historical events in Vietnam and in the United States.

The Vietnam side of my research didn’t focus on specific battles, rather, the military strategy of the Conflict and the very difficult situation the US military was placed in while serving in that theater. The US side of my research dealt with the Johnson administration and the American public, mostly the growing anti-war position, first with the students then expanding into the general public.

Lastly, one of the equally delicate subjects of Vietnam, I wove the role of illegal drugs coming out of the Golden Triangle, focusing exclusively on Laos,  due to the close proximity of the Ho Chi Minh trail and its very critical role in the Conflict itself.

In 1965, as a rule, the American public was behind and supported the US effort in Vietnam. However, by the TET Offensive, a vast majority of the public was questioning why we were there. They had become tired of watching the six o’clock news showing battles and death on ABC, CBS and NBC. The role of the embedded reporter and cameraman in this conflict cannot be understated. Why was the televised conflict different than Korea or World War II? It was the actual role of the reporters. During both World War II and Korea, “short clips” were presented before movies at theaters showing only the good being accomplished by the US military, and more importantly produced and approved by the military and the administration. With Vietnam, the news programs could put out a story every night focused on the negative side of the conflict. And, of course, there was the unpopular draft, which had become a story unto itself. Standing back and looking at it, it was a chicken or the egg situation, did the public turn against the conflict before the news presented a more negative view?

Another anomaly of this conflict, it is often stated that the winner gets to write the history books. Vietnam was different. The North Vietnamese had no interest in writing history books while the American population wanted to know why they supposedly lost? Their first loss in any conflict.

While almost every war in history has the conflicting country’s leaders serving a role in fighting strategy, Vietnam seemed to have more interference than previous conflicts. While many country’s fight wars with rules, that is certainly not always the case. After completing my research and writing, it is my opinion, the United States strategy had many more rules of engagement while the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had none. The United States viewed this as a conflict between a democratic government versus a communist take over, while the North viewed it as a civil war and a fight for reunification. It was that philosophical difference that played a dynamic role in those engaged in the fight.

I will say that one of my goals of this series was to honor those who served in this Conflict honorably, or the “Pawns” of war, since they were never given their just congratulations for their service. Finally, the goal of my novel and the series as a whole was to present the historical facts, without presenting only one side of the growing differing philosophy of the Conflict itself. I attempted to stay true to the theme of my website, with this novel, Pawns: Stalemate, “We are about to embark on a course in education. We will be opening those eyes of any reader who dares to read some of the real truths in history, The real history of the world.”  Or the real history of the Vietnam Conflict.

I am curious what the readers of this novel will think. My approach to writing about this volatile time is different and I hope in the end I have left the conclusions up to the readers, who have the facts.

Pawns: Stalemate