It’s 1967, and Susan Gifford is one of the first women correspondents in Saigon, dedicated to her job and passionately in love with an American TV reporter. Son is a Vietnamese photographer anxious to get his work to the American press. Together they cover every aspect of the war from combat missions to the workings of field hospitals. Then one November morning, after narrowly escaping death, Susan and Son find themselves the prisoners of three Vietcong soldiers. Helpless in the hands of the enemy, they face the jungle, living always with the threat of being killed and the slow realization that their complicated relationship is the only thing sustaining them both.
Leimbach (Dying Young) sets her vivid and powerful new novel in 1967 Vietnam to tell the story of Susan Gifford, a women's magazine writer who arrives in-country to write human interest stories about the war. Instead, she ends up covering combat and finds an intense friendship with Son, a Vietnamese photographer, and an equally intense love affair with Marc, a married American journalist. During an ambush, Susan and Son are captured by the Vietcong and are marched into the jungle. When they are reported missing, Marc drops a potentially big story to find them. Meanwhile, Susan begins to suspect that Son may not be who he seems. Leimbach masterfully conjures the hothouse atmosphere of foreign correspondents in Saigon in the late 1960s, and in Susan she has created a heroine who is a worthy counterpart to the real life reporters who covered the war. Whether describing a convoy taking fire, a farcical press briefing, a quiet moment between Susan and Marc, or the ironic aftermath of Susan's ordeal, Leimbach expertly captures the contradictions of the war, making this a solid addition to the literature of an endlessly reconsidered conflict.