Up to now, my novels have all ended with sadness laced with hope. Friendly Casualties concludes as the protagonist, a State Department diplomat assigned to Saigon, comforts a young soldier who has lost an arm in battle. No-Accounts closes with Martin grieving over the loss of the AIDS patient he has cared for and agreeing to take on a new patient, knowing that he, too, will die. The Trion Syndrome comes to a close when a sufferer of Post-Traumatic Stress Injury from Vietnam decides to go home and face the carnage he has created. And Last of the Annamese ends when Chuck embraces a weeping child orphaned during the fall of Saigon.
But Secretocracy ends happily. Following the 2018 election when the Democrats gain power in Congress, Gene is cleared of the charges the president has leveled against him and exposes the unlawful program the administration is attempting to implement.
Why the happy ending? Because Secretocracy is less literary fiction than historical fiction, based very closely on what is actually happening in the U.S. as I write.
Some critics have called Last of the Annamese historical fiction, some even referring to it as fiction in name only. And up to a point, they’re right. It is the story of the fall of Saigon in the form of a novel. I told my own story and kept the historical facts as complete and accurate as I could. But the heart of the book, for me, is the story of loss. All five of the major characters suffer severe damage—some even lose their lives—as South Vietnam falls to the communists. It was that loss that moved me to write their stories.
But Secretocracy is about the struggle of citizens to stop the undoing of their country. I’m writing the story as it happens. I’m persuaded that the good guys will win.