A young diplomat is torn between two women during the earliest days of the Vietnam War in this “wide-ranging and well-written” novel (The Christian Science Monitor).
Harry Sanders is a young Foreign Service officer in 1960s Indochina when the course of his life is suddenly altered by a dangerous and clandestine meeting with insurgents that ends in quiet disaster—and a brief but passionate encounter with Sieglinde, a young German woman.
Absorbing the impact of his misstep, Harry returns briefly to Washington before traveling to Africa, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean on assignments. He marries the captivating May, who is fleeing her own family disappointments in New England and looking for an escape into Harry’s diplomatic life. On the surface, they are a handsome, successful couple—but the memory of Sieglinde persists in Harry’s thoughts, and May has her own secrets too.
As Harry navigates the increasingly treacherous waters of diplomacy in an age of interminable conflict, he also tries to narrow the distance between himself and the two alluring women who have chosen to love him, in a novel from a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist that “considers the toll that a life lived upon the great stage of international politics can take on a man of substance” (Kirkus Reviews).