Danger and Romance in Foreign Lands
by Stephen E. Eisenbraun
To see the world, to report political intrigue and corruption abroad, to take the gifts of white privilege and freedom as an American citizen and do something worthwhile—these are the ambitions of Scott Higgins, a young American foreign correspondent in South Asia who becomes caught up in dramatic political events in Bangladesh and Pakistan in the 1970s. It is in India that he also makes an unexpected connection with Rakhi, a smart, savvy, and sultry woman who is also a banking professional. Together Scott and Rakhi move to Nairobi, where, even as newlyweds, their lives and welfare are seriously threatened in the exotic country of Kenya. Later, after an extravagant honeymoon in Paris, their last assignment is in London, where Rakhi’s career blossoms, but not without its severe troubles.
“A compact tale that quickly hooks the reader with its fast-moving action and revealing cultural insights. It evokes times and places with a flair. Eisenbraun acquaints us with familiar cities of South Asia and East Africa but also with such exotic locales as Kashmir and Lamu Island, off the coast of Kenya. As the principal narrator, Scott is a journalist endowed with curiosity that uncovers great stories regarding historic events but also leads to nail-biting adventures, from encounters with threatening water buffalo to political intrigue. It reflects the assurance of a writer with experience to know whereof he speaks. And all of that set against a poignant romance makes this a memorable journey and satisfying page turner.”
Jerome Hoganson, Veteran Foreign Service Officer & Refugee Program Director
“It was fun to be transported back to Mombasa with all the hustle andbustle … There was a definite sense of “place” that we especially liked,from the Club to the Old Town … and the feeling of threat in theweather—who could forget those black clouds massing and the oppressive heat? All the settings were good and plot twists exciting!”
Janet and David Kite, British residents of Mombasa, Kenya, in the 1980s
“An American diplomat’s nostalgic reverie into the past of postings inPakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Kenya. The story escalates into acatching modern odyssey of cross-cultural romance, political events,and the decisive coming of age of South Asian women. Eisenbraunweaves a delicate tale through Scott, the journalist, and Rakhi, the sultry,attractive Indian banker. A pleasurable, magnetic read.”
Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Women’s Rights Activist, Pakistan
“From South Asia to East Africa to London – a page-turning international romance sizzling and then unraveling against a backdrop ofaircraft hijackings, failed military coups, the burning of a US Embassy,and the abduction of the Indian heroine. Eisenbraun writes a culturallysensitive account of the military and political brass he met and the adventures he experienced while in the Foreign Service but through theeyes of a foreign correspondent. His sharply observed stories will appealto all lovers of travel, ‘inter-cultural’ affairs of the heart, and foreign intrigue. A woman-friendly book that delves into the pros and cons ofmarrying a foreigner, living abroad, and balancing marriage with professional ambitions.”
Roberta Cohen, Specialist in human rights and humanitarian issues(whose career has spanned the United Nations, the StateDepartment, think tanks, NGOs, and academia)
About the Author
Stephen E. Eisenbraun is a retired Foreign Service Officer whose assignments overseas included Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Kenya. His Washington assignments included, among other offices, the India desk, the Tunisia desk, and the combined Kenya and Uganda desks. Eisenbraun was a political officer during tumultuous times in South Asia when India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh experienced political turmoil, including an Air Force mutiny in Bangladesh and the burning of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. Eisenbraun was Deputy Chief of Mission in Sierra Leone and Principal Officer/Consul in Mombasa, Kenya. In Washington, Eisenbraun also worked on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Eisenbraun studied Hindi at Delhi University in India under the auspices of a fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies. He has a master’s degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. In retirement, Eisenbraun continues to work as a consultant to the Department of State as the Editor in Chief of the Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights. He is a past Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Foreign Service Journal.
(2021, hardback, 212 pages)
"Stephen Eisenbraun’s debut novel captures an ill-fated love story that spans continents, cultures and tumultuous decades. The couple, Scott Higgins and Rakhi Sheshadri, manage to overcome cultural barriers to build a relationship only to see it fall victim to career demands and time zones. The author’s experiences as a foreign service officer provide the “danger” promised in the title and which punctuates Scott and Rakhi’s life together.
Danger and Romance in Foreign Lands works on two levels. Scott and Rakhi’s love story is compelling and background events such as the 1979 burning of the American Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan are captured in stark detail. My decades of experience in South Asia tells me that the descriptions were crafted by someone who was near to the events recounted in the book. Both narratives are interwoven so that the reader is compelled to turn the page to find out how the lovers’ relationship evolves and what new dangers await them. The novel left me wanting to know more about Scott and Rakhi’s’ lives together and apart and what other adventures they might have encountered. There must be a follow-up novel, if only to recount Scott’s later life as globetrotting journalist turned college professor.
Episodes clearly drawn from Eisenbraun’s own adventures give readers a glimpse into the mysterious world occupied by diplomats and other professionals posted to faraway places. The book deftly captures the complex interactions of expats and local communities as well as the many and oftentimes surprising forms that danger may take.
Appropriately, Danger and Romance in Foreign Lands’ length and engaging style make it the perfect read on a transcontinental flight." - Jeff Key (Sweet Briar, Virginia)