Homosexual passion under the Big Top--a conceivably commercial mixture pursued at undue length but with considerable verve. The flyers are the most beautiful and exciting of circus acts; and Bradley (a veteran producer of paperback fantasy-adventure) captures it all on the wing--whirling bodies as seen, or felt, by the dangling catcher--beginning in the early Forties when the Flying Santellis, overseen by the still-flying patriarch Papa Tony, take 14-year-old Tommy Zane, son of a lion tamer, into the troupe. Tutored by 22-year-old Marie, grandson of Papa Tony and master of the ""triple,"" soon-to-be-orphaned Tommy quite obviously has the aptitude for first-class flying. But Tommy and Marie are drawn into a darkly complex relationship in which sex is only one aspect of the ""shared need, the obsession"" to find their stability through one another: throughout the stormy years, they fight, hate, and love. And when Papa Tony drops in death to the net, Santelli feuds erupt within the family, and Mario and Tommy are forced to break up the act because of threats of morals blacklisting. Finally, after World War II, Tommy rescues Marie from a two-bit show, the depleted family is re-united and eventually reconciled, and the Flying Santellis are performing for TV and films, with Tommy where he should be--catching Marie. Bradley offers magnificent flying detail, and the narrative soars with love of the high stuff. A grand, overlong spectacular--but not for kids.