Working from a run-down two-room "suite" in the Hotel Ambos Mundos overlooking downtown Havana, Ernest Hemingway struggles with his first great novel nearly as much as with his next. For Whom the Bell Tolls has made him famous. Yet, at the same time, it leaves him dry, depleted, and terrified. What if the Great American Hope fails to live up to literary expectations? What if he fails to live up to his own?
With a disenchanted third wife in the next room--and his most recent mistress and one "true love" less than three blocks down the street--Hemingway learns of unrest in the hills overlooking the city. Batista brushes it off as "troublemakers" and dispatches a cadre to destroy them. At the same time, the author toys with the idea of documenting the coming overthrow of the corrupt Batista regime in a new war novel. When Castro bursts into power in 1959 and most Americans flee the beleaguered city, Hemingway elects to stay on. He has no reason to doubt Castro's sincerity and even wishes the new leader "good luck."
But for Hemingway, luck runs out when he comes to odds with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who has been "watching" the author ever since his show-boating sub-hunting adventures of 1942-43. Hemingway's mounting paranoia and his fear of being branded anti-American frighten him into undertaking the overthrow of the infant Castro regime. As intrigue and betrayal line the streets of Havana, the author finally implements his very own plan--a plan actually deviously spawned in Washington, D.C., and placed in the author's by now delusional mind by F.B.I. operatives--that backfires on both Hemingway and Hoover and threatens to engulf the world in a nuclear holocaust.
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