Stewart ends his Knights of the Air series with this skillfully written tale, full of moral ambiguities, high tension, and spine-tingling scenes of air action. Spring 1918. Exiled to the newly fledged US Army Air Services, Lance Fitch’s job is to make the tyros of his new squadron war-ready. But when the Germans’ surprise attack surges through Champagne towards Paris, Lance finds himself fighting a familiar enemy, the pilots of JG Richthofen, freshly equipped with the superb Fokker DVII. But this time, he’s provided war virgin pilots and planes that disintegrate in combat. This final installment in the series is a more psychologically intense story than its predecessors. However, action is as vivid as ever: fans drawn to this series by incredible WWI action will revel as Stewart illuminates the dawn of US military aviation with pyrotechnical clashes in the air. The prose beautifully evokes WWI era, and Stewart makes sure that several famous American aviators of the time, such as Eddie Rickenbacker, Frank Luke, Billy Mitchell among others, are present. Fueled by brilliant scenes of believable action, the narrative moves at a steady pace. For all its violence, the book hums with poignant emotion. Stewart is at his best when he delves into the intricacies of relationships, friendship, bravado, cowardice, integrity, ambition, and the foibles of the human heart, not to mention the horrors of military strategy and technology and the cost of war to nations and individuals. An exceedingly intelligent and unpredictable story, notable for supple prose, credibly motivated characters, and meticulously researched detail.
Categories: historical fiction