Can love bloom in a war zone?
It is winter 1970 and John Jacob Brandugan is in Vietnam, among the thousands of conscripted men who have left behind everyone and everything they knew for a world of mud, mortar shells, and brutal mortality. With just a few months to the end of his tour, he takes leave in Hong Kong. His week planned for pure escape becomes seven days of discovery when he meets Judy, an escort who seems to know him and the world better than anyone he has ever met. In their week together she reveals to him a rainbow of hope, healing darkness long-buried and introducing him to sights and emotions he never thought possible.
As his leave draws to an end, Jack faces a battle greater than anything he witnessed as a soldier: that between his head and his heart. In the end, he has hours to decide: will he stay with her? Can she come with him? Or are the chasm in cultures and colour of money too sharp to survive?
On the Scent of a Mandarin Moon is a view of the Vietnam conflict behind the battlefield, to the experiences, mindset, and cultural divides that were spanned between soldiers and civilians, but that inflicted wounds within deeper than any weapon.
Jack and Judy’s story is also a tribute to love in all its forms and tenacity: blossoming in places unexpected, but thriving where it is needed the most.