To my colleagues in the foreign affairs community, known and unknown, I regret that the artwork of my novel about your service has misrepresented the truth.
“BOO-ring,” LousyBookCoversDotCom hooted. “Showing you just how dramatic diplomacy can be.”
What an insult my cover must seem to those of us who serve our country. What an insult to those who’ve worked in places of difficulty, chaos, and danger. Ankara. Sana’a. Jeddah. Karachi. Peshawar. All of the scores of cities where our missions have come under attack in the last twenty years alone.
To those who’ve worn flak jackets and boarded helos and fully-armored vehicles to get to work, and those with a Sig on the hip and a rack full of Colts ready to hand. To those of us who’ve installed barricades and jersey barriers and other deterrents against protestors and terrorists and zealots seeking targets for their hatred. To those of you who presently stand upon the ramparts in crisis cities around the world, risking ruined marriages and happy homes in dedicated service to America: sorry to have let you all down.
My cover, a reflective skyscraper façade reaching toward a higher, blind authority, stamped to denote the hostile territory within Saudi Arabia, just cannot convey the drama of life on the front line of the war on terror. The effort missed its mark on the unimaginative.
I am sorry.
Certainly, it’s true there are some among us for whom the life is BOO-ring. Some do pass dreary hours as visa stampers and grommet punchers. But even these jobs are done behind explosion resistant glass for a reason. Even these jobs—eye-to-eye with deceit and terror on the front line of one crisis or another—provide more drama in a two-year tour than any lifetime spent as a book cover critic, peddling his services over the Internet.
So, while I regret the lacking drama on the surface of my book, I am grateful for the drama that lies beneath, and for the profession that gives us all a taste of it—more often than not unrecognized—in service to our country.