Death of an Agent launch

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Vic Books Pipitea and Silver Owl Press invite you to Hugh Rennie QC launching David McGill’s spy story

Vic Books Pipitea, Rutherford House, Lambton Quay/Bunny St, Wednesday, 8 May, 6pm.

Most of the story takes place in and around Victoria University in Easter 1965, when students organised the first confrontational protest against New Zealand troops joining the American campaign in Vietnam. The focus of protest was Henry Cabot Lodge, envoy of President Johnson, in Wellington to urge the Cabinet to send combat troops to Vietnam. Threats are made against Lodge. The new diplomatic police unit and the NZ Security Intelligence Service have four days over Easter to track down the source of the threats. An American intelligence presence is independently pursuing the same threat.

Hugh Rennie edited the student magazine Salient observing the protests and commenting on the wisdom of New Zealand getting involved in Vietnam. The author was a student protester and has drawn on contacts to develop a cat and mouse story of students taking political threats to a new level and the authorities attempting to hunt them down, along with local gang members and senior establishment figures opposing troop commitment, an early version of Citizens for Rowling.

The temporary borrowing of an American general’s hat the previous year and its munting by anarchists ‘a bomb’s throw’ from the American embassy in Thorndon inspired this story. Mindful of American author William Faulkner claiming to create a Nazi before Hitler did, the author features what might be the first fictional home-grown terrorist attacking the heart of our government.  The author contends the social history of the protest marks the start of New Zealand adopting an independent foreign policy. New Zealand fiction reviewer Alyson Baker wrote on 13 April 2019 the novel’s ‘politics are fascinating – especially considering recent events in New Zealand – when we are again realizing sections of our community are being dangerously swayed by myths of imminent threat. Another great New Zealand read.’

Refreshments alcoholic and non-alcoholic.