Author(s): Mark Cook
When the first shell fell on the elegant spa town of Lipik, it hit the roof of the town's stately orphanage. Within three months Lipik had been destroyed, the people killed or driven from their homes, and the orphans had been evacuated under fire to another part of Croatia. When Colonel Mark Cook was sent out to command the British contingent of the UN Protection Force in Croatia, he had no idea of the emotional impact the scenes of devastation would have on him. Nor did he realize that he would meet and fall in love with the beautiful, troubled young doctor of Lipik, Marina Topi'c, who had just returned from fighting for her people. When Marina was rushed into hospital and told she could die within months, her one wish was to see the ruined orphanage rebuilt to its former glory. Colonel Cook made a promise to her and the children to rebuild their home. Starting with the help of volunteer British soldiers, clearing rubble in their spare time, he brought the project to the attention of the world, eventually raising #1 million. Slowly, amidst the ashes of Lipik, the building rose like a pink palace.
16 months after making his promise, Colonel Cook saw the children moved back into a building which had become a symbol of hope. During the project his life changed beyond anything he had ever imagined. He resigned from the army in order to keep his promise and found himself agonizingly torn between his new life with Dr Topi'c and the orphans, and his loyal and supportive wife and sons in Britain. This is a story of determination and achievement amidst despair and destruction.