Two young flyers survive Pearl Harbor together but take different routes to the disastrous raid on the Axis oil refineries at Ploeti. The author's bomber-pilot wartime experience distinguishes this businesslike WW II debut novel. Senatorial son Broderick Templeton III and college dropout Ross Colyer, young Army pilots stationed in Hawaii, have been seeing the same nice-looking lady. No love is lost between the boys. But by page ten the three-way romance goes on the back burner as the Japanese launch their attack. Creepy Lt. Templeton uses his father's influence to slide through a series of relatively cushy staff spots. Colyer, whose story this is, eventually joins up with the growing American bomber force in Britain, where he rises on merit, doing his best to stay away from Templeton, whose professional attachment to a hotshot general has brought him closer to the war--and to Colyer--than he'd planned. Colyer, something of a cold fish, is a gifted pilot, but he finds leadership rather more difficult. He plugs away at forming a fighting team out of his flight crew as they all learn the ropes of the new daylight bombing techniques. After surviving multiple raids over Germany, the flyers are sent to Libya to become the nucleus of America's ambitious and risky attempt to take the war to the ``soft underbelly'' of the Axis powers, the vital Rumanian oil fields. Ignorant of the identity of their target, the airmen spend weeks learning a completely new bombing technique that has them flying over the desert to drop their practice loads from as low as 50 feet. Templeton's connections are not enough to keep him out of the cockpit with his rival as the gigantic, not-quite-ready armada heads for Ploeti. Contrary to plans, the Germans are neither surprised nor unprepared. Rich in accurate wartime detail and flight-line atmosphere with only a few pages of mushy stuff. Probably too long for the casual battle fan.