Prologue IAN MORTIMER
Making people disappear isn’t quite as easy as I remember. Of course, I’m not as young as I used to be. Rigor mortis will soon set in, and I’ve got to dispose of this poor lass’s body straightaway. How can I possibly be doing this again?
Thankfully, no one’s around this time of night. And with her limbs properly weighed down, she’ll stay under until … Bugger! Only three bags in the trunk. I shall have to improvise.
Right. Everything is ready. I cross myself and pull her ever-stiffening body from the trunk. She’s slight—just shy of...
2 GRACE TH’AM AI LE
Thirty-Five Years Ago
Binh Son, Vietnam: January 7, 1973
I always knew the war would come to the South. Before the Communists sent the Vietcong back down the Ho Chi Minh trail, before the Spring Festival attacks during T?t Nguyên Ðán
, I knew. I had seen it all in my dreams. I even foresaw my parents’ deaths, which left me and my brother orphans, forcing us to flee to the village of my aunt and uncle.
Some of the boys in Bình Son, on this side of the Mekong Delta, had expressed interest in joining the Vietcong, my brother included. Everyone else...
1 XANDRA CARRICK
Binh Son, Vietnam: October 2008
This was her wish. Dad kept saying that from the moment we boarded our flight at JFK to our first step onto the fertile soil of Bình Son
, which in English means “peaceful mountain.”
En route to our penultimate destination, Tran, our middle-aged guide, tells us all about the scenery through lively gesticulations and nasal broken English.
“This place all rice field now.” He lifts both hands and spreads them wide. Enthralled by the verdant fronds and the sound of exotic fauna, I hardly notice the weight of my backpack....
3 SUZANNE COLBERT-COLSON
Napa Valley, California: October 2008
Until recently, I had never cared for his line of work, or his career aspirations. Politics was never my cup of tea. But one thing I’ll say for my husband: if there’s anyone who can do the job right and get this country back on track, it’s him.
In his first term as one of California’s senators, Rick had been widely acclaimed as a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is legislator who produces results, not just talk. It’s a testament to his worthiness of the US presidency.
And, yes, he’s an...