If Winter Comes

“If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”
–Percy Bysshe Shelley; “Ode to the West Wind”

Many years ago, I watched a television interview with one of the American hostages of the 1979 Iranian takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The hostage, released with the others in 1981, spoke of her ordeal. She impressed me with her courage and resilience.

Later, after I joined the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service, I worked with another former hostage. I also served with one of the Americans who escaped capture, the basis for the fictionalized movie, Argo, winner of the Academy Award in 2013 for best motion picture.

In security seminars, required before we left for our foreign postings, other former hostages passed on to us the lessons they had learned during captivity. We were aware that, as embassy officers, we would probably be evacuated at least once or twice from a post threatened by terrorism or insurrection, if not worse, in our careers. (The magic number for me was two evacuations.)

No surprise, then, that Mark Pacer, the protagonist in my new series, beginning his State Department career in the late 1970’s, would be affected by the 1979 hostage crisis. If Winter Comes takes place from 1977 to 1981.

The hostage taking and its aftermath form a major part of the book. It’s a story of the crisis, but also of how one couple deals with the resulting threats to their marriage.

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