A gripping account of L.A. radio newsman Paen, who was sent by his local station to cover the 1979-80 Iranian hostage crisis and became an integral part of the story. Paen's tale becomes even more intriguing when complicated by Mina, a beautiful and mysterious Iranian translator assigned to work with him. Mina is a Khomeini enthusiast who continually argues with Paen over the rightness of the Islamic revolution, even while the two drfit into a love affair rendered problematic by the islamic proscriptions against public displays of affection (not to mention the hated status of Americans at the time). Meanwhile, Paen makes contact with militant students holding the American hostages in the embassy, finding that their infuriating argumentativeness can often be overcome by persistence. Soon, he hits on the idea of having Americans send Christmas cards to the hostages, an idea that catches on in the States like wildfire and that catapults Paen into being a crucial player in the story as he delivers boxes upon boxes of cards to the embassy (many of which, he later learns, are left to rot in the Iranian rain). Even when all other American reporters are expelled by Khomeini, Paen manages to get a few days' grace by getting the students' permission to tape the 1980 Super Bowl Game and deliver it to the hostages. Meanwhile, Mina, due to her passionate feelings for the Kurdish minority, begins to lose faith in Khomeini, who displays ruthlessness towards the Kurds. Finally, in a daring 1982 escape, Mina leaves Iran and rejoins Paen in the US. A highly personal and suspenseful account, suffused with the tenderness of a genuine love that was able to redeem that troubled time.