SYNOPSIS | THE GATES OF BABYLON Part literary thriller, cerebral action and adventure, cautionary prophecy, and unrepentant love story, THE GATES OF BABYLON is a 90,000 word, mainstream contemporary novel about obsessive desire, psychosexual Russian Roulette, unconditional love, betrayal, murder, revenge, redemption, and the extraordinary price one pays for avoiding the lessons of the past by refusing to accept the consequences; and then passing them on to one's children.
Having barely survived his first tour as a disenchanted draftee grunt in Vietnam six years earlier, ETHAN CONNELLY, a tractor trash farm kid from Iowa, returns to Saigon to accept an Intel analyst job with his highly decorated, former Army field officer, MAJOR "BIG MAC" MacALLISTER, whose blatant, anti-war convictions and left wing political rhetoric, seem perversely at odds with his slap happy Dr. Strangelove complex, his apocalyptic vision of a world wide Armageddon, and his broken heart of gold.
Only days after arriving in Saigon, Ethan learns that his beautiful, but revenge obsessed, French-Vietnamese former girlfriend PHAN, who he'd fallen in love with, and then reluctantly left behind, six years earlier after his first tour had ended, has been staggering stoned down the yellow brick road to ruin like a pint-sized Joan of Arc on speed after launching a bloody campaign of vengeance against both the VC interrogators who'd tortured and killed her mother, and the American GI's of Charlie Company who'd raped and murdered her favorite aunt and cousin during the My Lai massacre. Ethan is even more shocked to learn that, after he'd dutifully returned home six years earlier to salvage what he could of his disintegrating marriage to his psychologically volatile wife Sara, Phan had been pregnant with their son, NGUYEN.
Still too sick in love to know any better, Ethan and Phan claw their way through a malarial haze of impending doom, trying to find each other before Saigon falls and the first NVA tanks roll through the gates of the Presidential Palace. But, instead, they find themselves trapped on a dangerous, and yet darkly comic, runaway roller coaster ride, running for their lives down the opium-soaked ghost roads that cut through the surreal jungles, mountains, and rice paddies of Southeast Asia. But like the fearlessly defiant, borderline hysterical survivors they are, they eventually manage to return safely home to Iowa and face down the ghosts of Indochine which seem to have followed them home.