PHILIP CAPUTO THRIVES ON DANGER. As a war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, he covered the fall of Saigon in 1975 and was later wounded in Lebanon and held prisoner by Palestinian fighters. In 1977, at the age of 36, he established his career as an author with his best-selling book A Rumor of War, a memoir of his experiences as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam.
Caputo is also a world traveler. His novel Horn of Africa (1980) is set in Ethiopia; his book of three novellas Exiles (1997), partly in Australia and Vietnam; and Acts of Faith (2005), in Sudan. His new novel and sixteenth book, Some Rise by Sin—which Henry Holt and Company published May 9—takes place in Mexico, and derives from his reporting on the country’s narco gangs.
Caputo is drawn to conflict zones, but his novels are more character-driven than propelled by plot. Some Rise by Sin tells the story of a middle-aged American priest exiled to a remote town in Mexico after his tangential involvement in a church scandal in Los Angeles. A brutal, pseudo-religious drug gang is terrorizing the Mexican village, and the priest—a tough man of tested faith, wracked by his own memories and desires—is faced with the moral and spiritual quandary of whether to betray his vows to fight the criminals.