As a follow-up to yesterday’s post of Amazon’s review policy, I asked and received the approval of two readers of my new book, “The Siege of An Lộc”, to post their reviews here, in chronological order.
Don Chalfant from Santa Barbara
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Siege of An Loc! I wasn’t expecting Ri to meet his end in the manner it happened! I read several chapters and then summarized them for my wife. Both of us were aware of what was happening in Vietnam during the late 60’s and early 70’s…but only in a vague sense. So much of the media’s coverage was slanted and agenda-driven. Your inclusion of the north’s propaganda versus reality paints a much truer picture than what we received in the news. Such a heartbreaking time! The research on the events must have been a mixed blessing to the author…finding out specifics yet having to relive difficult and painful memories. He certainly included lots of details! I had a somewhat hard time tracking all the various military divisions and companies and the like, including the various weapons and tanks–even with the “simplification” of terms mentioned at the beginning of the book—but thoroughly appreciated the inclusion of accurate information! This book is great for anyone interested in the events of 1970’s Vietnam.”
H.P. from Seattle
“Honestly, I don’t really like to read war stories, having lived through the Vietnam War. However, when in May this year I was introduced to the digital version of “The Siege at An Loc” by Nguyễn Trọng Hiền, whose first novel “Village Teacher” (2012) I enjoyed tremendously thanks to his artistic style, characters development, as well as the romantic plot against the background of Vietnam’s then capital of Huế in the late 19th century, I wanted to know how the author went about dealing with this much-written-about war, especially this particular front of An Loc about which I had read so much.
Before long, I was drawn into the story at the very first chapter as the author introduced the two main characters who ran into each other as both sought refuge from a tropical downpouring under the veranda of a coffee shop. They parted after the brief encounter during the rain — he, a student/soldier stationed in An Loc who was back to Saigon to pick up his class materials from the Saigon University and now returned to his unit, and she, daughter of a plantation owner in An Loc. From there, the author introduced us to an An Loc under siege by fierce North Vietnamese forces into which the only way in or out was by air amidst webs of fires from the grounds; and to a host of skillfully-described characters both good and bad. Using the same artistic skill, densed with reasearch materials yet explained in plain terms weaving smoothly into the novel narrative. I found myself absorbed in the plot, worried along with his characters despite the fact I already knew the outcome, that South Vietnam forces finally liberated An Loc – just as I had been with his first novel, “Village Teacher.”
The author’s second novel came to me as we have been in this Covid-19 pandemic lockdown on and off and on again for a good six months and continuing. I couldn’t help feel a great admiration for his achievement while we – at least I – keep on wondering when we’d be out of this realistic siege. Thank you.”