FREE FLIGHT by Douglas Terman


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Aviation chase-action and manhunt ordeal--in a North America decimated by World War III. The new twelve-man team running the Soviet Union decides the time has come for nuclear first strike: the U.S. becomes Soviet-ized, and parts of the earth are jellied like chocolate pudding. But up in the un-occupied, free northern backwoods, Mallen, a former cargo pilot, hides out in a hunter's cabin for two years with a sailplane under cover. And he's eager to head north to even safer British Columbia (it's not called that any more). First, however, he's captured, jailed, and tortured--until he escapes, along with fellow prisoner Wyatt (a black lawyer). So then the two make it back to the sailplane and take off. . . followed by Mallen's nemesis--Peace Division officer McKennon, whose three choppers sight the sailplane: the plane is forced down, Wyatt and Mallen hide out with a widow, her 15-year-old son (in training to become a PD officer), and her terminally ill, brandy-loving grandfather. Despite heavy tensions with the son, Mallen and widow Jeanne fall in love; but when the time comes for his final shot at peace and safety in the far north, she refuses to board the sailplane (Wyatt has meanwhile died). And as Mallen's plane lifts off, McKennon's chopper appears down the frozen lake heading toward him. . . . Serviceable shoot-em-up action, complete with heat-seeking airborne missiles, and the characterizations are a few cuts above cardboard; but the futuristic premise and some awkward stabs at Message (about freedom and borders) seriously reduce credibility, suspense, and grab.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1980
Publisher: Scribners