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THE SUDDEN SKY by B. Michelaard



Pub Date: March 8th, 1974
Publisher: Charterhouse--dist. by McKay

The only ""sudden"" in this overlong and scarcely credible tale of two German aviators spanning several decades and a multitude of wars is in the title. Urban Ohlmer, aviation genius both aloft and on the ground, hero of the Spanish Royalists and early Hitler blitzkriegs, incurs the wrath of the SS and flees to England, where he flies, counterespionages, and develops fighter air tactics with the RAF -- shooting down more planes, receiving more medals, and getting more promotions than anyone you could name -- except maybe his cousin Rolf von Rotig, who does the same, albeit for the losing side. Occasionally the two fighter geniuses meet commanding their elite squadrons in the air, always failing to shoot each other out of the sky, until, many years, countries, wives, and ideologies later, they encounter their combined mini-Gotterdammerugng over the barren lands of Korea: Urban in a U.S. F-86, Rolf in a Soviet MIG, for he has been fighting in body if not spirit for the Russians since his capture in the final days of the war. Ignoring the implausible plot, this is an interesting, sympathetic, and well-researched novel about the European air war in World War II -- particularly the by-now well-known documentation of how Hitler helped destroy his own Air Force -- thank God.