Saturday, August 8, 2009

Who is Daniel Conte?

He is the lead character in my novel, The Lion and the Sun. Someone asked me recently what my novel was about. When I was first writing it I would have answered, it's a spy novel. But as I wrote it I realized that it's about a man who happens to be a spy.

Daniel Conte has been in the espionage business almost 20 years. He came to it after serving in Vietnam. He came to it with a duty, honor, country attitude. He thinks he's made sacrifices in the service of his country. And he has, but so has his family, and not willingly.

Conte wants his wife to understand that he does what he does because circumstances demand it; America's national security is always at risk. The world no longer fights wars that have point-in-time beginnings and endings. It simply fights battles in one interminable war in the global power struggle.

Conte and his wife are undergoing a trial separation, but Conte thinks he can fix things. He's done it before. After all, that's the business he's in -- fixing things: power struggles in foreign countries, loose nucs in places you never heard of, bad people selling weapons to other bad people, and unfortunate situations that impact exchange rates. Conte knows he can fix his marriage. Only this time, he won't get the chance.

Conte, on his way back to the States from one assignment is turned around and sent on another, one that will come close to terminating his career with prejudice. Conte will survive the bullets, but the mission will uncover repressed memories of past betrayals and lead to new ones that will challenge the very core of his beliefs in his service, his country, and in himself. And in the end, there are no heros.

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