Don Westenhaver planned to become a Catholic priest, but left the seminary and joined the Marine Corps. The Marines trained him to be a Vietnamese interpreter, but then assigned him to be a platoon radioman near the DMZ. Returning home in one piece, he used the GI Bill to buy a home and finish college. As a finance executive in the oil industry, Don traveled frequently to Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa. His military and oil business experiences inspired him to write his first novel, an international thriller titled The Whiplash Hypothesis.
Moving from the oil business to the car business, Don became a finance director for a Japanese auto company, gaining more inside knowledge of international business. During the 1990s, he became fascinated by the Asian Tigers, a group of former Third World countries such as Korea that were emerging into First World status. Inhabitants of very poor nations were suddenly enjoying huge improvements in their standard of living. He speculated that a relatively small amount of money could propel Vietnam into the same growth, because the culture prizes education and hard work. It only required an intelligent plan encouraged by a Communist minister who was secretly a capitalist. The result of this was Don’s second international thriller, The Red Turtle Project.
During a vacation in Italy Don toured the ruins of Pompeii, which display in such vivid detail the lives of ordinary people 2,000 years ago, and how the Romans were so similar to us and so technologically advanced. For the next four years, he studied ancient Rome and created characters and a plot that begins with the Great Fire of Rome. Emperor Nero, usually portrayed as a psychotic monster, actually began his reign as an enlightened teenager guided by moral principles. The plot of Nero’s Concert illustrates Nero’s descent into madness as told by his best friend. The backdrop is the Fire, the search for who caused it, and the collision of the new Christian religion with Roman culture.
Don has been married to his wife Ellie for over 37 years and they live in Southern California. They have two grown daughters and two grandchildren. Don and Ellie are recently retired, and plan to continue traveling, assisting four different charities, golfing, and of course playing with the grandkids. He is working on a fourth novel and is a member of the Southern California Writers Association and the Military Writers Society of America.
Where to find Don Westenhaver online
In 92 AD, Alexandria Egypt is the unchallenged pinnacle of Western intellectual achievement. A melting pot of Egyptians, Greeks, Jews, and Romans, the city frequently boils over into violence. A young engineer finds himself caught between the Romans and rebel forces as he helps invent the most powerful weapon in the world.
The Whiplash Hypothesis
In 1967, Marine officer Sam Weber is sent on a top secret mission to destroy an enemy arms depot run by a wealthy Chinese named Sing Han. There Sam meets Sing Han’s daughter, Liang, who helps him escape. In 1984 Sam and Liang meet again and fall in love. Sing Han has been plotting for years to destroy the U.S economy by manipulating the global price of oil. Only Sam and Liang stand in his way.
The Red Turtle Project
Liang Weber inherits a fortune from Sing Han, her gangster father when a rival gang assassinates him and then comes after her. She donates the money to a secret project which will ultimately transform Vietnam from Communist to Capitalist, from one of the world’s poorest countries into the newest Asian Tiger. But the gang has infiltrated the project, using it to take control of Vietnam.
Rome has burned to the ground, and Emperor Nero orders his friend Rusticus to find proof that the Christians caused the fire. Instead Rusticus discovers three murdered senators and signs that he may be next. He also falls in love with Camilia, not knowing she is a Christian and has introduced his daughter to the secret religion. Will he be loyal to Nero or to the woman who lied to him?
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