The Trion Syndrome


Washington, D.C., 1996-1997: German professor Dave Bell suspects he’s Ungeminnt—cursed with the inability to love or be loved. Tormented by nightmares and confused flashbacks, he’s haunted by a half-remembered clandestine mission in Vietnam and by the myth of Trion, the Greek demigod who disemboweled his infant son to demonstrate his ferocity. Dave discovers an unpublished novella by Thomas Mann based on the Trion myth and believes he sees himself. Friendless, Dave is betrayed by his colleagues and accused of sexual harassment. He loses his job, his wife divorces him, his children refuse to see him. At his lowest point, he remembers what happened in Vietnam: he killed a child. As he considers ending his life the way Trion did—by drowning—the illegitimate son he’d paid to have aborted, now a grown man, finds him.

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The Trion Syndrome, Tom Glenn says, came from his struggle to come to terms with the unspeakable things that happened during the years he served as a clandestine intelligence operative working under cover with soldiers and Marines in Vietnam. He questioned whether men who had demonstrated the kind of ferocity he had were even capable of love. He returned from Vietnam an emotional wreck, after living through the fall of Saigon and escaping under fire when the North Vietnamese were already in the streets of the city. He had all the classic symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Injury—panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, irrational rage. His marriage crumbled, and he was afraid he was going to lose his children, his sole reason for staying alive. He turned to helping others and writing. He resumed his study of German and, in his search for healing, sought the wisdom in Greek mythology. In the process he rediscovered the German author, Thomas Mann. Then Dave Bell, the protagonist of Trion, took him over. To find peace, he had to tell Bell’s story. Hence Trion. Learn more at www.the-trion-syndrome.com.


Tom Glenn has worked as an intelligence operative, a musician, a linguist (seven languages), a cryptologist, a government executive, a care-giver for the dying, a leadership coach, and, always, a writer. Many of his prize-winning short stories (sixteen in print) came from the better part of thirteen years he shuttled between the U.S. and Vietnam as an undercover NSA employee on covert signals intelligence assignments before being rescued under fire when Saigon fell. With a BA in Music, a master’s in Government and a doctorate in Public Administration and trained as a musician, actor, and public speaker, he toured the country lecturing on leadership and management, trained federal executives, and was the Dean of the Management Department at the National Cryptologic School.

His writing is haunted by his five years of work with AIDS patients, two years of helping the homeless, seven years of caring for the dying in the hospice system, and his bouts with Post-Traumatic Stress Injury as a result of his Vietnam experiences. These days he is a reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books where he specializes in books on war and Vietnam. His Vietnam novel-in-stories, Friendly Casualties, is now available on Amazon.com. His article describing the fall of Saigon and his role in it was published in the Baltimore Post-Examiner as a three-installment article in August and September 2013. Apprentice House of Baltimore brought out his novel, No-Accounts in 2014

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