Zero Casualties

Tom Jagninski, Author Walker & Company $18.95 (189p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1178-6
Two determined men from completely different worlds affect each other's lives during the Vietnam war in this sobering, fact-filled first novel by journalist Jagninski. In 1970 millionaire's son Stephen Reaford is a doctoral student in anthropology. Eager for firsthand experience of life among the primitive Meos, he agrees to set up a CIA base behind enemy lines in Laos, in the refugee village of Ban Ban, near the Ho Chi Minh trail. While the Americans believe the refugees want to fight the Communists, one man opposes the CIA's policy. He is Mario Vasetto, a fiery, Marxist missionary priest from working class Milan whose ambition is to found his own missionary order to teach liberation theology in the Third World. Vasetto refuses the CIA's lucrative offer to join their efforts, choosing instead to move to the Pathet Lao village of Muong Sy, whose citizens want to turn against the Communists. Xana Khanti, a Laotian counterintelligence agent with a ``lovely, satanic face,'' seduces Reaford and encourages his stand against Vasetto. Both Reaford and Vasetto are captured and tried by the Pathet Lao, but only one man is executed as Jagninski illustrates that the price of conscience is often tragically high. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Hardcover - 335 pages - 978-1-56054-363-3
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