INTO THE FIRE – One photograph can change a nation
By Philip Trotter
Philip Trotter’s debut novel is an exhilarating and original take on the Vietnam theme, exploring less familiar aspects of the country’s painful history through the generation-defining image of the Burning Monk.
Saigon, 1963. With the tensions of war starting to swirl, rookie photographer Ned Rivers lands in South Vietnam, hungry for the iconic shot that will make his name.
But a shocking and violent act of protest by a local Buddhist monk quickly draws Ned’s focus from the battlefields and the Viet Cong. Behind the front pages, a different conflict is churning – political, religious, and cultural – which threatens to tear this fragile nation even further apart.
As Ned learns more about the Buddhist community’s suffering at the hands of the state, his journalistic detachment becomes harder to justify. New friendships turn to solidarity and action, leaving him open to the government’s wrath.
President Diem sends out his ruthless attack dog Colonel Tung to manage the interfering journalist. Meanwhile, Diem faces mounting criticism from his American allies as their stake in Vietnam deepens. With political pressures at home driving US policy, the regime seems increasingly like a liability.
For Ned, caught at the centre of this international chessboard, the adventure becomes too real. With friendships, love and a career in balance, can he hope to protect it all from the conspiracy of violence, arrest and war that surrounds him?tless other displaced people, but few have had the opportunity to tell their story, or to tell it so well.
Extent: 376 pages
Size: 198 x 129mm