Monday, April 21, 2014


By Gabriel Timar
Historical, 431 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud

Blurb: Starting in the early nineteen thirties, accompany Max in the cockpit while he flies the mail through the storms over the Carpathians. His love for life, adventure, and his burning desire to fly see him through the antiaircraft fire, or the encounters with enemy fighters in the Second World War.


Suddenly, Frank's voice broke in on the intercom, "Bandits at six o'clock high."

Max instantly adjusted the mix, increased power, and put the Heinkel's nose down into a shallow dive. We'll see if they can catch us. Suddenly Max realized that the Russian fighters' top speed in a dive was better than theirs. He knew that each fighter could make only one pass at them. Even though their small caliber machine gun was not likely to bring them down, Charles' remark of one well-placed bullet being enough reverberated through his mind.

"Here they come!" Frank yelled and opened up with his machine gun. "He's breaking right," he shouted.
Max gently pressed the left rudder to get out of the fighter's way. Suddenly, Charles' machine gun chattered.

Max saw the fighter very close to the Heinkel, belching smoke and spinning out of control.

"We've got him," Charles yelled triumphantly.

"Breaking left," Frank shouted.

The same thing happened. As Max corrected the course, he actually brought Charles' machine gun to bear. The Russian stayed at least fifteen seconds within the range of Charles' weapon. It was enough. The Rata fighter continued in a screaming dive and Max saw the pilot bailing out. He won't be a POW.

Suddenly, Sergeant Hart cut in on the intercom, "I got one."

"I see it," Charles said.

Max heard noises similar to ice pellets drumming on the roof of a car and felt the plane shaking. He realized that they were smack over the front lines between two dueling units of artillerists.

The left engine suddenly coughed, stopped and trailed a thin line of smoke. Max instinctively chopped the left throttle, feathered the prop and applied full power to the remaining engine.
"This one is going down," Frank's voice came through the intercom.

"Congratulations! Any more left?" Max asked dryly while trying to hold the damaged plane on course to the emergency field about five kilometers distant. He saw a Junkers fifty-two taking off.

"Two more, but they're going back," Frank said.

"Les, can you make some friendly noises?"

"There is no controller at the landing field, only a medic and several ambulances. This is the reply I got."

"All right, hang on!"

Max lined up the grassy field. The wheels went down easily and locked in place. Suddenly, Alain's warning popped up in Max's mind: Flying on one engine I'm not supposed to trim the rudder.
The wheels hit on the rough turf, and the plane came to halt at the end of the runway. An ambulance raced toward them.

"Anybody hurt?" Max asked.

"If I died, I couldn't answer," Charles cracked.

When they got out of the plane, everybody seemed all right. Petri's face was white and he was shaking.

"What's wrong, fella?" Max asked.

Instead of a reply, he pointed at the crotch of his pants. There was a hole in it straight through, taking a piece of his underpants with it.

"That was close," Charles remarked. "Two centimeters closer and you'd be a soprano."

No comments: