Joseph Sherman first visits Saigon, the capital of French colonial Cochin-China, in 1925 on a hunting expedition with his father, a US senator. He is lured back again and again as a traveler, a soldier, and then as a reporter by his fascination for the exotic land and for Lan, a mandarin's daughter he cannot forget.
Over five decades, Joseph's life becomes enmeshed with the political intrigues of two of Saigon's most influential families, the French colonist Devrauxs, and the native Trans - and inevitably with Vietnam's turbulent, war torn fate. He is there when the hatred of a million coolies rises against the French, and when the French Foreign Legion fights it's bloody last stand at Dien Bien Phu.
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