hartland home butterfly on the storm


Making your debut with a masterful gem? Walter Lucius (the pen name of scenarist and producer Walter Goverde) proves with his first thriller Butterfly on the Storm that it's possible. Because when you're totally taken with a character after 460 pages, you know you're onto something special. Lucius has penned a success with Part 1 of The Heartland Trilogy. The free-spirited journalist Farah Hafez, originally from Afghanistan, is a character one can't help but fall for... despite all her failings.

What's more, Lucius has succeeded in delivering a thriller of international allure. In an ingenious way he exposes how a world of child trafficking and abuse of power are entangled with a routine hit-and-run in Amsterdam.

That he pulls this off – and even manages to include a disturbing, apocalyptic, but ultimately gripping interlude – actually says it all.

Let the waiting in anticipation for Part 2 begin!.

Tim Geurts


It takes some nerve to announce on the cover of your first thriller that it's Part 1 of a trilogy. With his fiction debut Butterfly on the Storm, Walter Lucius – the pen name of scenarist, director and producer Walter Goverde – divulges that there are two more books about investigative reporters Hafez and Chapelle in the works. In this first part they're confronted with child trafficking. An Afghan child is run down by a car in a woodland part of Amsterdam. The victim of sexual abuse, it appears. The journalists begin looking into the case, which eventually takes them all the way to Moscow. Regrettably the main characters could be more credible, but the dramatic narrative is riveting until the very end.

Gijs Korevaar


Though Butterfly on the Storm has only just been released, I'm already anxiously waiting for Part 2 of The Heartland Trilogy. Because Part 1 is good. Actually very good. A top Dutch thriller with everything a good thriller demands. It's very well written, has great characters, a good story and it’s exciting. In an Amsterdam woodlands, an Afghan child in traditional Afghan clothing is found. The child is the victim of a hit-and-run and barely alive. A car is torched in the woods that same night and the charred bodies of two men are found inside. Reporter Farah Hafez gets wind of these events by chance, feels drawn to the child and starts an investigation.

I've never said this about a book before because it creates very high expectations, but Butterfly on the Storm could very well be the Dutch answer to the tsunami of Scandinavian thrillers.

Sjoerd Achterhoff / Boekhandel Jaspers

FAB Tip ****


This gripping first part of The Heartland Trilogy starts with the victim of a hit-and-run, an Afghan child, being found on a woodland road in Amsterdam and ends in Russia. Brew a pot of tea and send everybody away because you won’t be able to put this 460 page book down!



The debut thriller Butterfly on the Storm took me by surprise. The different plot lines in this well-constructed story come together seamlessly in the end. The characters are well-developed and vivid. The stunning, sensitive and intelligent Farah, detectives Joshua Calvino and Marouan Diba, newspaper boss Edward Vallent, journalist Paul Chapelle, and the spiteful television anchorwoman Cathy Marant are all true to life. The book is exciting, gripping, and includes a number of spectacular and compelling climaxes. There are moments when you feel like you're sitting on the edge of your chair watching a fast-paced action film instead of reading a thriller. The book's convincing ending could be right from the evening news. But there's more...

Walter Lucius has also shown he's a skilled storyteller. In splendid sentences, at times quite poignant, he relates the story of Farah's life - her happy childhood in Afghanistan before she and her mother are forced to flee a country torn apart by war and tribalism - and of the people close to her, her parents and their friends.

Butterfly on the Storm is a striking, powerful piece of crime fiction. The story grabs you from beginning to end: dramatic, shocking and moving. With this book, the respected scenarist and television producer Walter Lucius has proven he's also an outstanding writer.

Joop Liefaard


Journalist Farah Hafez is on the scene when a little boy, dressed as a girl, is brought into Amsterdam's WMC hospital emergency room: the boy was run down earlier that evening in a woodland area of the city. Farah, originally from Afghanistan, immediately recognises that this boy dressed as a girl was used for Bacha Bazi: an Afghan practise where boys are forced to seduce wealthy and powerful men with their dancing - only to be exploited as child prostitutes. When she delves into the boy's past, Farah's investigation takes her to the highest echelons of national politics and she uncovers criminal practices that appear to reach all the way to Russia.

Walter Lucius, scenarist and director, can now add thriller-writer to his name. With his extraordinary debut Butterfly on the Storm, he has secured a place among the Netherlands' best crime fiction writers. It wouldn't be surprising if this thriller becomes an international bestseller. Though the story plays out mainly in Amsterdam, this is certainly not your standard Dutch thriller. The elaborate storylines, which are interwoven with each other, are filled with action and plot twists and culminate in a well-constructed ending. Lucius' moving and sensitive writing style holds the reader in its grip. A wealth of individuals - with Dutch, Afghan and Russian backgrounds - are introduced in this book: each one beautifully developed into an interesting and recognisable character.

Butterfly on the Storm, the first book of The Heartland Trilogy, is divided into five sections with concise, short chapters that make this thriller a page-turner. Lucius starts with lots of action and knows how to keep the suspense going until the very end. It is, however, a shame that Lucius stages an unlikely 'natural phenomenon' that leads to catastrophic chaos on the highway, and also brings three-quarters of all the characters to the same place at the same time within a few pages. If this event had been left out and the rest had been more balanced, Butterfly on the Storm would have garnered five stars, hands down.

In the closing scene Lucius has kept a number of the plotlines open-ended, clearly as a starting point for the next book of The Heartland Trilogy. All we can say is: bring it on, because Butterfly on the Storm makes you long for more!



Walter Lucius is the pen name of scenarist, producer and director Walter Goverde. The picture perfect way in which he describes his characters and their worlds clearly reflects this background: the book feels like a film. The story comes to life and unfolds before your eyes. The book has everything a thriller aficionado could desire: suspense, a heavy dose of action, corruption, romance, a well-developed story and fascinating characters.

This very elaborate thriller is bursting with plotlines and descriptive settings: all equally interesting. Journalist Paul Chapelle's life story, for instance, is just as intriguing as Farah's saga. In his powerful chapters, Walter Lucius has penned an exceptional work jam-packed with action. Butterfly on the Storm, the first part of The Heartland Trilogy, will come as a pleasant surprise to many readers. This is everything a good thriller should be. I can’t wait to read the next part!



With a title like Butterfly on the Storm, you don't immediately think of a brisk and exciting book and certainly not a thriller. But Walter Lucius' debut is exactly that! It's Part 1 of The Heartland Trilogy, which bodes well if the writer continues along these same lines. After reading only the first chapter you're already hooked.

Walter Lucius' writing style makes this a real page-turner. The story is extremely exciting: fascinating from beginning to end. The plot lines converge beautifully and you can almost see the scenes unfold in front of your eyes. This thriller doesn't miss a beat, which makes it not only electrifying but interesting too. The narrative is filled with excitement, packed with action and love, has fascinating characters and is well written. The chapters are short, which also makes it a good read. The big plus is that the story maintains its momentum until the very last page.

I got that sinking feeling when I finished reading... But don't despair: this is just Part 1 of The Hartland Trilogy and two more books, likely just as fast-paced, are on their way!

Josje Hemme


This thriller tackles serious issues including child trafficking and the political abuse of power on an international scale. With its more than 450 pages, I was plunged into another world while reading. This book could be an international bestseller. Lucius ensures that the different narratives in this book are interwoven in perfect harmony.

Reporter Farah Hafez, who is originally from Afghanistan, and journalist Paul Chapelle share a childhood past in Kabul but haven't seen each other for thirty years. Well into the second half of the book, the plot lines converge in a bizarre, immense accident on a highway, which seems rather implausible, for me the only snag in the story.

Walter Lucius succeeds in uniquely portraying individuals with a non-Western background who have to find their footing in an often aloof Dutch society. A number of atmospheric descriptions of Kabul are almost dreamlike, after which the story effortlessly switches to a ruthless eye-for-an-eye culture. No surprise given his TV and film background.

This book has all the elements needed to make a thriller a huge success: excitement, romance, contemporary themes. And of course a good storyline, excellent plot and appealing characters.

Bring on Part 2!

Wemmie Wolf