The Falcon and the Mountain Lion

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Written by Christopher Boyce

Like my long-dead ancestors beyond living memory, I enjoy an innate fear of lions. I love the terror they invoke in me. I suppose it is in my genes. The sight of mountain lions out in the wild lands causes my pulse to spike. Still, I treasure every encounter. To me, they are the ancient ones who made their way in this country long before humans took over. They are mostly hidden from us, but still dangerous and significant.

One morning last autumn, I bundled up and went walking down the Crooked River. It had been hot and dusty, but the previous night’s rain had made the trail damp, soft, and silent. There was no breeze and thus no man-scent to swirl about in the juniper woods.

Wearing sneakers, I stepped soundlessly down the trail, stopping often to look and listen. Above me, ravens caw-cawed from the great canyon cliffs. The river gurgled by in its pools and eddies. And then, abruptly, anxious deer barked not far ahead in a close meadow.

I froze so as not to spook them. The half-dozen bucks seemed ready to bolt. But as I studied them, I sensed I was not the cause of their alarm. They were not looking at me. Their eyes seemed unfocused, but their ears and nostrils twitched, all intent on listening and smelling. And so I did as they did. I unfocused my eyes and listened.

Seconds passed. Nothing moved. The ravens above me fell silent. All were watching. Something else was here.

From the corner of my eye, I awakened to the flicking of two small black triangles thirty feet beyond me in the brush. I looked intently, barely breathing. The black, flicking triangles became the fur on the back of two ears attached to the great head of a mountain lion.

He was enormous. He had been stalking the deer ahead and was now peering at them over the sage. He had not noticed my silent approach from behind, but there I was. Way too close. Breathless.

For several minutes, I watched him watching them. Every little while, the tip of his tail would tremble, causing my heart to quietly pound. I dared not move as I watched the mountain lion begin to inch slowly toward the bucks. Now I could see his entire body, stretched out from the jaws of his skull to the end of his long tail. This was a fully grown male lion, as big as they get.

He crossed over the trail in front of me in a crouch and crept up into the escarpment above without a sound. Like a ghost, he worked his way around the herd of deer to come upon them from the other side.

He had never seen me. I turned and walked quickly out of the canyon.

When I reached the top of the cliffs, I sat upon a stone seat fashioned by the ages. I marveled at all I had just witnessed and counted myself among the most fortunate of men. I had truly become free. I know now that freedom in this modern world is, at best, a fleeting thing. But at that moment, I felt what I believe is the greatest freedom of all: the freedom to be left alone.

There was a time when I was locked away for a quarter century in a hell on earth. Ten years of that was in solitary confinement. It was the longest of journeys, but somehow I survived the isolation and the chains. Today, I search for mountain lions in the granite cathedrals of the Crooked River Gorge. And I am free.

Christopher Boyce, the subject of the 1985 movie The Falcon and the Snowman, spent 25 years in prison for espionage. He is the co-author of the book “American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman” available now in paperback and e-book. Click here to order the book today.

YouTube is the New UHF

Written by Vince Font

Alright, maybe the title to this blog post is a little off the mark. In truth, the YouTube of today is so riddled with ads that it bears zero resemblance to the UHF television of my youth – never mind the ad-free YouTube of the mid-2000s. But all that aside, it’s still pretty cool. And there’s practically no end to the amount of stuff you can find there.

Lately, I’ve thrown my efforts into trying to increase the book’s visibility via our official YouTube channel. To that purpose, I created a slideshow to go along with the interview we did in October with radio host extraordinaire John Aberle for his show Life Unedited. John was good enough to let us use the audio to help in our promotional efforts, proving himself (once again) a class act we’re glad to know.

If YouTube doesn’t see fit to strike us with copyright infringement for the brief 30 seconds of time Pat Metheny and David Bowie’s “This is Not America” plays as bumper music on the show, the video should remain up for a long as the interwebs continue to draw breath. But just in case, check it out now by clicking the Play icon in the video box above. You never know when the wicked overlords might yank it.

I’m also working on building up a fairly respectable amount of other YouTube content, thanks in large part to those individuals who saw fit to share the wealth. Here are a few samplings for your enjoyment and edification, starting with Christopher Boyce’s U.S. Senate testimony from April of 1985. This was written about in a chapter titled “Mr. Boyce Goes to Washington” in our book American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman.

 

Part two of Christopher Boyce’s testimony.

 

And part three…

 

A big thanks to the folks at NOIR4USA for digging up that long lost footage and sharing it with us all. Cool stuff, to be sure. But it doesn’t end there. One of our Twitter followers, Simulacra Deorum, created the following promotional video for the book before its release, back when the working title was a bit different than it is now.

 

And then there’s this unforgettable video from the wonderfully wicked imagination of Paul Weston, whose masterful “product placement” for American Sons is something we can totally get behind. See if you can count how many “Falcon and the Snowman” references there are in this clip.

 

Last but not least, there’s the interview Chris and Cait did with Petersburg Channel 5, a Russian-language TV station headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia. No subtitles, so bust out your translator apps.

 

There’s plenty of other stuff to be found on the official YouTube channel, but I’ll leave that up to you to discover. It’s more fun that way, anyway. As a reminder, don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel to be notified of new uploads. And if you haven’t done so already, buy yourself a copy of American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman. You can get it in paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and in e-book format through a variety of online platforms including the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook markets.

American Sons Paperback Giveaway Contest

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A couple of months ago, we created the above image and put the word out to our Facebook followers to see who could come up with the coolest, most visually arresting (no pun intended) promotional image for American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman. The winner of the contest will receive a free copy of the book, personally autographed by Christopher Boyce, Cait Boyce, and myself. I’m happy to announce the entries are in. Now comes the difficult process of picking a winner. Take a look at the three images below and let us know what you think.

The first one comes to us all the way from Down Under, courtesy the considerably creative grey matter of one Paul Weston (whose name was actually featured in the book dedication).

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Randy Meredith’s promotional image below expertly blends photographs of the real Christopher Boyce and Andrew Daulton Lee with the iconic movie imagery. Spot on, dude.

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Frederick Wahl deftly anticipated the use of the photograph below for the redesigned second edition book cover, and created a compelling tag line that sums up the overall theme of the book quite nicely.

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I have to admit, choosing a winner from among the above images isn’t going to be easy. Help us do our job! Leave your feedback below and let us know which one you prefer.

UPDATE (4/17/2014): Since all three gents did such a fine job and votes (both here and on Facebook) were evenly split, we decided they were all deserving of the victory. It’s officially a three-way-tie win. Congratulations to Paul Weston, Randy Meredith and Frederick Wahl – all three will receive an autographed copy of American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman.

The Six Degrees of Christopher Boyce

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Written by Vince Font

Fans of Kevin Bacon will be well familiar with a phenomenon dubbed The Oracle of Bacon. It’s a trivia game based on the “six degrees of separation” concept, where participants try to link anyone in the film industry to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less.

It’s a fun game to play, and a great time killer if you’ve got nothing better to do than focus on Kevin Bacon as “the center of the entertainment universe.” One day, while trying to link Bacon to Christopher Boyce (like you do) a thought occurred to me: Would it be possible to do the same, substituting Boyce for Bacon?

And so I tested it out – and discovered that, through the existence of the movie The Falcon and the Snowman, I was able to link Christopher Boyce to just about anyone.

Here’s one random example, linking Chris to Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling.

  1. Rod Serling hosted the Night Gallery, which starred actor Joel Grey in one episode.
  2. Grey co-starred with Fred Ward in the movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.
  3. Ward co-starred with (guess who?) Kevin Bacon in Tremors.
  4. Bacon co-starred with Sean Penn in Mystic River.
  5. Penn co-starred with Timothy Hutton in The Falcon and the Snowman.
  6. Hutton played Christopher Boyce in the same movie.

Blammo! From Rod Serling to Christopher Boyce in six steps.

Of course, taking the Kevin Bacon route made it easy since he’s worked with everyone in the known universe. So I decided to try it out again, this time omitting the Bacon altogether (an act that’s inadvisable if you’re talking about cooking up tasty dishes). I discovered an even simpler route existed.

  1. Rod Serling created the Twilight Zone.
  2. Actor Jim Hutton starred in one (fabulous) episode of The Twilight Zone.
  3. Hutton’s son is actor Timothy Hutton, who played Christopher Boyce in The Falcon and the Snowman.

As the connections began to come easier, I decided to test myself. What if I were to omit Timothy Hutton and the movie The Falcon and the Snowman altogether? Not such an easy task, you might think. But even that works well. This time, I decided on an even more random celebrity: Stevie Nicks, as suggested by my wife Jane.

  1. Stevie Nicks appeared in Coven, the latest season of American Horror Story.
  2. Coven also featured actor Danny Huston.
  3. Huston’s father, John Huston, directed Marlon Brando in Reflections in a Golden Eye.
  4. Brando’s autobiography, Songs My Mother Taught Me, was co-written with Robert Lindsey.
  5. Robert Lindsey was the author of book The Falcon and the Snowman.

I could go on. But there’s not much point playing a game when you’re the only participant. It’s your turn now. What other celebrities or even historical figures can you link to Christopher Boyce in six degrees or less? Leave your comments below!

Vince Font is the co-author of the book American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman, available in e-book and paperback.

The Falcon and the Surfer: A True Story of Love and Espionage

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Photo courtesy The Oregonian.

Written by Vince Font

All credit where it’s due. The title of this blog post comes courtesy the mind of reporter Bryan Denson, whose cover story for this Sunday’s edition of the Oregonian newspaper delivers some of the most comprehensive coverage to date of the life stories of Cait and Christopher Boyce – my accomplices in the writing of the new book American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman.

Appearing in print today and also available online, Denson’s extensive feature is broken out into three pieces. The first tells the story of how Cait, an inexperienced paralegal from San Diego with a penchant for weekend wave riding, found herself lobbying for the parole of two convicted spies known as the Falcon and the Snowman. The article also discusses her decades-long bout with cancer, as well as her relationship with Chris and his estranged ex-partner in crime, Andrew Daulton Lee.

In the second article, Chris offers his candid opinion on the controversial actions of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. “What I did was a destructive act,” Chris says in the interview. “I was an angry young man, and it was a one-man war – without making much sense – against the intelligence community. Snowden, on the other hand, I believe, is acting in the defense of civil liberties. And in a massive way.”

The third piece is a brief interview with little old me, wherein I reveal how my love for Pat Metheny’s soundtrack to The Falcon and the Snowman led to my involvement in the telling of the whole sordid tale.

Click here to read the full story online at The Oregonian.

Where the hell I’ve been…

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Vince Font, co-author of American Sons: The Untold Story of the Falcon and the Snowman, has been curiously absent from his blogging activities for the last year and a half – surfacing only every few months to remind the world he’s still around. In his newest blog post, he explains that absence.

Originally posted on Vince Font:

hawking

Yeah, yeah. I’ve been neglecting my blog. But I’ve got a great excuse. Swear. In early 2012, I began work on a project of immense magnitude. After an accidental online meeting with Cait Boyce (wife of Christopher Boyce, the infamous “Falcon” from the book and movie The Falcon and the Snowman written by Robert Lindsey and starring Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn) I embarked upon a project that would have sent my 15-year-old self into spasms of freakish joy.

But first, a bit of background. (Don’t you hate it when writers do that? I do. I’m doing it anyway. So read on, if you will.) Bowing to the constant pressure of my wonderful wife, Jane, I wrote and self-published my first short story on the Amazon marketplace. It was called Night Visit and was an ode to one of my biggest heroes, Richard Matheson. It was about 850…

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Mark Davis Reflects on Christopher Boyce

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Australian TV journalist Mark Davis reflects on his interview with Christopher Boyce, following the 28-minute feature that aired February 18 on SBS Dateline. Click the image above to launch the website, then press the Play icon to listen. Or, just click here. Take your pick! We’re easy.