I first became intrigued with the Mekong Delta during a war between Vietnam and the Americans that ended in the early nineteen-seventies. Unsurprisingly, while North Americans think of the nineteen-year conflict as the Vietnamese War, people there call it the American War. And it was one of the first examples of how a small, impoverished country might defend itself against a much richer country with almost unlimited military might.
A massive network of underground tunnels helped the Vietnamese launch surprise attacks on the Americans, then often disappear quickly below ground before the Americans could retaliate. Tourists today can visit those tunnels and marvel at the ways Vietnamese soldiers constructed and lived in a world below.
In my new story, Howard Knight visits the Mekong Delta. I’ll tell you now. He doesn’t visit the tunnels, but he uses another useful bit of information. This region of Vietnam used to be part of the Khmer Empire based in what is now Cambodia. While most of the residents of the area today are ethnic Vietnamese, the largest population of Khmer people outside Cambodia live in the fascinating river delta.
After I learned that tidbit of information, my imagination ran a little wild as I wrote the story, and I think you’ll enjoy reading about Howard’s fleeting experiences there. He’s a fugitive. So he didn’t have much time to see sights. But I think you’ll get to know his ever-flawed character better.
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