Social Concerns / Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Recognizing striking and disturbing similarities between the Vietnam experience and the current political situation in Central America, Stone sounds a timely and volatile note in his third novel, A Flag for Sunrise. Set in the republic of Tecan, modeled in part after present-day Nicaragua, the novel is at once a political thriller and metaphysical journey into an unequivocal hell on earth. Representative of other Third World countries embroiled by American presence and dictated by corruption, abuse, and brutality, Tecan, will become the stage for a drama of events and ideas bound together by the spiritual death of innocence.

Having previously worked in an unexplained capacity for the CIA in Vietnam, Frank Holliwell is approached by a former associate to investigate the political rumblings in Tecan while on a university lecture tour in a neighboring country. Initially refusing his services, Holliwell later consents not by any sense of duty but rather by impulse and curiosity. The focus of the investigation is a Roman Catholic mission run by an aging priest and young, idealistic nun who are suspected of having revolutionary leanings. Awaiting his arrival, however, is a nightmarish amalgam of contemporary horror, and Holliwell is immediately swept into the turbulence of the country.

In the novel, Stone utilizes the aftermath of the Vietnam conflict as a thematic element, analyzing as he did in Dog Soldiers the impact of the war on...

(The entire section is 273 words.)