The story in this book is happening during the Cold War in the eighties when low flying Phantoms of the RAF were cruising the West German airspace. It is an aviation thriller in which a Phantom crew and a defected Sovjet test pilot fill up the leading role.
Most aviation books I read are nonfiction books written by pilots who wanted to publish their personal experiences as a pilot. But the events that are described in this book although fiction but told in such a way that it could have happened in reality. The author, a former air force navigator, has based this story on his experiences whilst flying a Phantom F-4 jet and that is why the book has such a high reality factor.
Communication between navigator and pilot in the Phantom during air combat missions as well as communication with the mission director in the AWACS and the deployment of air to air and ground to air missiles, everything is brought up in this book. The occasion for the events is an air battle over Berlin at the end of the second world war in which the brother of one of the Russian main figures in this book is killed. After that the story is replaced to the Cold War in West Europe.
A Russian test pilot defects and flies straight through the heavily defended East-German border to the west in the ultra secret Su-27 Flanker air defense jetfighter. A flight of RAF Phantoms catches up with him and guides the Flanker to Wildenrath air base. But that is not an easy job. An air battle between the Western and Russian planes develops and Russian SAM missiles are also introduced in the battle.
At the end the Russian pilot lands safely in Wildenrath air base but then the Russians organize a complicated action to get the Flanker back to his home base in East Germany. An exciting plot is developing with an unexpected dramatic ending. This book is a good thriller with much attention for the activities of the Phantom crews especially during the air battle actions and in which you feel yourself a crew member but also when on the airfield a little war takes place between Russian special forces and the RAF ground forces.
David Gledhill wrote an exciting book with many unexpected actions and a high percentage aviation content. A book with 335 pages without pictures but still a good choice.