Somewhat to my surprise, since I was expecting sci-fi, the book starts off with a detailed and lengthy scene about an American bomber crew flying missions over Germany in 1943. The planes and fight scenes are described in loving, exquisite detail, hence the designation of”aviation lit,” which is a genre I’ve encountered before, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen named explicitly. Fans of flying, especially lovers of antique aircraft, are likely to enjoy these passages, regardless of their opinion of sci-fi; as a nervous flyer and a claustrophobe (imagine being in the ball turret!! My heart races just thinking about it!) these scenes just made my palms sweat, but they are masterfully executed. One day the crew finds themselves flying into a vortex during a mission, and…I’ll let the reader discover the rest, for fear of spoilers.
The crew are charmingly vintage, and the plot is full of unexpected high-speed maneuvers, so that I honestly had no idea how it would end right up to the conclusion. There is also a love story, although that for me was fairly incidental: the machines, both real and imaginary, are the true objects of affection here, and against their backdrop the human characters seem a little flat. That being said, there are no shortage of readers who love this kind of tech-heavy literature, and history buffs as well as hard sci-fi fans are likely to get a tremendous kick out of this book.
My thanks to NetGalley for providing a free review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.