A light-touch thriller from Ing (Spooker, 1995, etc.) has aging aviators flying off in pursuit of a small fortune in vintage...



A light-touch thriller from Ing (Spooker, 1995, etc.) has aging aviators flying off in pursuit of a small fortune in vintage aircraft. At a reunion of the Boring Old Farts (a rascally order of Anglo-American pilots who've served military tours of duty in Pan-Asian climes), Wade Lovett learns from Elmo Benteen, a dying comrade in arms, that he's discovered a half dozen fighters and bombers that the Japanese secreted on a tropical isle for use as kamikazes toward the close of WW II. With only a hand-drawn map to guide him, Wade organizes an over-the-hill gang to stage a latter-day invasion of Fundabora, a speck of volcanic land in the Western Pacific between Guam and the Philippines. With the retired test pilot on this madcap venture are: Crispin Reventlo (a veddy British veteran of the RAF who went on to become a semi-respectable airline captain); survivalist Vic Myles (a forward observer during the Korean War); Coop Gunther (an Alaskan bush pilot); Elmo's half-breed daughter Mel (for Melanie); and Chip, his own 17-year-old grandson. The BOFs manage to find the island and get their borrowed DC-3 down in one piece. But the natives, ruled by a hulking sybarite named Jean-Claude Pelele, prove, if not unfriendly, at best uncooperative. Still, with the guile and patience of experience, the persevering pensioners win over the people (if not their avaricious dictator) and finally locate the long-lost warplanes--in a jungle cavern protected from the ravages of corrosive offshore breezes. They also unearth Yohei Ohtsu, an octogenarian sergeant who's faithfully maintained the aircraft for over 50 years. Eventually, the oldsters are obliged to take up arms against the treacherous Jean-Claude, who plans to turn on them during Fundabora's annual festival, and they put some of the aging weaponry to good use. An altogether engaging account of an offbeat treasure hunt conducted by enduring, often endearing, old-timers.

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 1997


Page Count: 352

Publisher: Forge/Tot

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997