Review of Flight Path – David Hill

Posted: April 21, 2020 in adventure, Review, war, young adult

A gripping novel for young adults that captures both the daring and the everyday realities of serving in the Air Force during the Second World War.

Pete and Paul yelled together. ‘Bandit! Nine o’clock! Bandit!’
Jack spun to stare. There was the Messerschmitt on their left, streaking straight at them.

Eighteen-year-old Jack wanted to escape boring little New Zealand. But he soon finds that flying in a Lancaster bomber to attack Hitler’s forces brings terror as well as excitement. With every dangerous mission, he becomes more afraid that he’ll never get back alive. He wants to help win the war, but will he lose his own life?

Flight Path

David Hill

Puffin NZ

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Stephen Litten

Eighteen-year-old New Zealander Jack Sinclair arrives in England a few weeks before D-Day, 1944, as a member of a crew flying Lancaster bombers. His crew is nominally Kiwi, but there are 4 nationalities in the seven-man crew. The crew is green, and the first mission is a test for all. But soon they become veterans. At least with regards to war. In their personal lives, they are still mostly boys.

David Hill has written a good novel. Jack is the character of focus, and the point of view never strays. Hill captures the dullness of wartime rationed food; sausages and bread were renowned for being godawful. But there was the grey market, where farmers paid with produce. There was also the black market, which Hill flicks the curtain on. And we explore the various types of raids that the RAF undertook, and what could impede them because bombing required seeing the target.

Generally, Hill has done a good job. A couple of things grated with the rivet counter in me. First was calling some American bombers Super Fortresses. The Super Fortress was the B-29 bomber and was never used in Europe during WW2. It should’ve been the B-17 Flying Fortress. The other was American Tornadoes, which is completely wrong and I have no idea what plane David was thinking of. But he got right the camaraderie of a small team, and the bump that can occur if even one needs replacing.

I enjoyed this book, even if I am a few years outside the target market of young adult. Well paced, and the military actions being that dreadful mix of endless boredom punctuated by stark terror.

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