Thursday, 14 January 2010

Operation Rhine Maiden

This is the second 633 Squadron book (I know I've reviewed that at least once in the past, and I haven't reread it that recently, I just watched the film again over Christmas), by Frederick E. Smith. I got an omnibus of the first three the other day in Southport, and I was really chuffed because they're quite hard to get hold of (or at least, they seem to be to me).

The mission is interesting, and the flying scenes described are brilliant, stay up till midnight (again, I really should stop reading at night or I'll never get any sleep) action. However, the real thing that draws me to these books is the characters. They're so real, from the new 'toff' who's leading the squadron after it was all but wiped out in the attack in the first book, to the stubborn Yorkshireman who survived the raid and has a grudge against all wealthy men and the establishment. The conflict between them is brilliantly written, as are the other key characters, including a wife terrified lest her husband get himself killed and leave her and his son all alone, an intelligence officer who feels a failure, and a host of other minor characters. A fascinating book, not only in terms of the missions but even more so in terms of the character interaction and details. You get the distinct impression the author has first hand experience--I've had a bit of a look and haven't been able to find out whether or not that's true. At any rate, they feel realistic, from the terror and horror to the mad cap escapades and treks across the moors. Maybe quite a similarity to the first in terms of the plot involved, but like I said, the plot isn't really what's so outstanding about this book. The characters are the important bit.

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