In the summer of 1963, Marine Major Steven Hebert, an African-American, is assigned to the US Embassy in Saigon to serve as head of security. His real mission: to spy on diplomatic and military activities to help keep US ground troops out of South Vietnam. At this time, South Vietnam is in turmoil, caught in a conflict between the Catholic president Diem and the Buddhist monks and general population. President Kennedy is determined not to place more U.S. troops in Vietnam while still helping the South Vietnamese defeat the communists. Steven’s mission is made more difficult by the presence of CIA operative Lucien Conein, who is helping certain factions within the CIA and the U.S. government, including Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, to remove Diem. Steven is able to learn much from the various diplomats and military that move in and out of South Vietnam and protects Ambassador Lodge even though the tumultuous times result in Diem’s murder. Steven is rewarded for his actions and sent home to meet President Kennedy. Lansdale considers recruiting Steven to join his Psy-ops team, approved by President Kennedy when Steven gets caught up in the conspiracy of the assassination of the President.