PATHFINDERS by Cecil Lewis


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Fisherman in the waters off the British Isles run foul of something, and it turns out to be not a mine, but a gunner's turret and fuselage of a Wellington bomber. At the close of the story, P for Pathfinder sinks within eight of the English coast, all in her dead but the dying pilot, Hugh, and the navigator, Tom. The story between is the story of the bomber's flight; and the stories of her crew. With , the tales are extraordinarily holding, sharply etched game of man and backgrounds -- an Empire story, as New Zealand, Canada London, Jew, county Americas of mixed ancestry, are represented. Class-locale-problems, solved and unsolved, to which they'd go back, had they survived. There's Nobby-Bligh, rear gunner, San Dollar, front gunner, Peter Merelli, flying officer; Cookson, navigator; Lukin, wireless operator -- all vital figures, credible and individually significant. Only Hugh Thornly, the pilot, emerges as a type, rather than a personality, whose conversion from the defeatist bred by the English into one of the stalwart true sons, is told through dialogues extolling and deerying theories and positions. As a man he never comes to life. An interesting job --in the Lighthouse genre.

Publisher: Morrow