Donald Houser

Love And Mayhem On The Silk Road

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James, a 24 year old Vietnam Veteran, fraught with nightmares of his experience in the war, embarks on an around the world journey in 1969. He meets an alluring Australian redheaded woman, Sally, in Hong Kong and her foster brother, Hank. The three plan to join up in Bangkok, but the freighter Sally and Hank travel on stops in Manila and Singapore. James, who needs to get to Madras, India to spend time with his uncle there before his uncle returns to the US, has to leave Bangkok and misses meeting Sally and Hank. They meet again in Madras, India and travel together meeting a beautiful Swedish lady, Bridget, in Ajanta, India, who joins them and pairs up with Hank. In Nepal Bridget tries to take James away from Sally, but fails and in frustration returns to her cousin, Monica, in Goa. James goes trekking in Nepal with Harry, an English chap he met in Kathmandu, while Sally and Hank go to Goa to stay with Bridget and Monica. After James and Harry finish their trek they join Sally, Hank, Bridget, and Monica. They all decide to travel to Europe together. James buys a van in India, and they embark on the overland journey to Europe. In Afghanistan Hank is abducted because of an insult while buying hashish. The rest of the group are told to go to Bamyan and seek out Mahmood to find Hank. After finding Mahmood, who knows nothing of the kidnapping, Mahmood agrees to help them find Hank. Mahmood's rival warlord learns of Mahmood's offer to help find Hank, who is being held for ransom, and takes Hank from the hash sellers to extract concessions from Mahmood. Mahmood's men find where Hank is being held and attack the rival warlord's men and free Hank. Mahmood has Hank brought to his house because he is very ill and has a physician treat him. Hank recovers and is sent to his friends in Herat. The group continue to Iran. Hank decides to return to Australia in Tehran and Sally goes back with him to help with his recovery. Hanks shuns Sally and the family and goes to a cattle station in the outback. Sally gets her parents to loan her money and flies to Athens to meet up with James, who has gone to Crete, when James returns to Athens. In Crete James visits Knossos where he learns of travelers congregating in caves at location on the southwest coast called Matala and goes there and stay for weeks. When James returns to Athens, he calls Sally's home and learns she is in Athens. He goes to her hotel and after Sally berates for staying so long in Crete, he and Sally along with two American men and two French ladies, who James met in Matala set off for Germany in James's van. In Yugoslavia Sally is kidnapped by Afghan men sent by Mahmood's rival. James and the two Americans help James recover Sally from the Afghans, who they tie up and ditch in their car in the forest while they speed toward Austria. James and Sally drop off the two Americans and French ladies in Munich and speed to Frankfort and then to Paris where they finally stop, believing the Afghans can not still be following them and take in the sights before traveling on to London to visit Sally's uncle where Hank and his girlfriend, Amelia, whose father owns the cattle station where Hank has become the foreman, have gone to see Sally and James. James ends his journey in London and hopes he and Sally can overcome the traumas they both hold and strengthen their loving relationship.
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429 printed pages
Original publication
2021

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