Three storylines converge in this book: flying fighter planes, interesting women and Paris. The Pilot travels, nameless, through time as a fighter pilot from the Sopwith Camel up to the Starfighter F 104, which brings him wide and far over the globe. He experiences in each of these periods, which embrace more than one human lifecycle, love relations with ‘larger than life’ sophisticated and emancipated women. Women such as they apparently live in the fantasy of a fighter pilot. Let’s call them ‘superfast’!
The story in present time is set in Paris, where the reader experiences a sort of Hemingway-inspired memory tour. This tour d’horizon in Paris reads like a travel guide designed for an upper well-to-do audience.
I was interested primarily in his fighter pilot exploits, part of which are Eddie’s first hand experiences and another part is derived from the Flyboy world of the past. For any aircraft-adept this is good reading material. The opponents, wherever in the world, stand very little chance against the “Fast Eddie” type American fighter pilot! Even though of course during both WW I and WW II several German fighter pilots (Manfred von Richthofen, Adolf Galland i.a.) had the upper hand against both British and American fighter pilots. Summarising this book: there is something of interest here for most readers.
The story reaches a climax when The Pilot has to choose between a new professional challenge like F 35 testpilot and his then French lover, again a superfast lady who appears to have a link with the French Secret Service. The F 35 Strikefighter is the first fighter aircraft where the software is dominant over the pilot. If ever a software malfunction arises during flight the F35 pilot has no chance to survive against for example a MIG 29 of 1980! That at least is what The Pilot expects of this new plane. The choice for either his girlfriend or another new fighting machine appears a foregone conclusion…..
Definitely an entertaining reading book, with for me a succession of surprises about what type of next plane, and the ‘theatre’ of its use, will be presented again.