NIGHT RUN by Robert Denny


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An American bomber pilot, downed in war-torn Russia, falls for one of Stalin's ""Night Witches,"" female flyers whose WW I biplanes harass the Nazis as effectively as the most advanced aircraft. World War II veteran and B-17 pilot Denny (Aces, 1991) follows the wartime careers and love lives of a pair of lifted but rather wild young pilots, Mike Gavin and Buddy Bryce, and their girlfriends, both of whom turn out to be aviatrixes. United by their drive to do whatever the authorities tell them cannot or must not be done, the boys aim to become fighter pilots but get steered to the new, less glamorous bombers. Mike has an airborne fling with Claire, a beautiful southern belle whose restlessness makes her receptive to a suggested role as a ferry pilot. While the Americans are earning their wings, pretty Soviet pilot Galina Tarasova is getting hers shot up night after night as she and her friends fly their low-speed aircraft at treetop level to bomb the Germans, whose sieges have started to go sour. Meanwhile, back in the Reich, top Nazi test-pilot Hanna Reitsch takes the new jets up and works on strategies to turn the war around. Buddy and Mike become part of the American daytime bombing strategy and fly together until they take a hit from Nazi fighters. Buddy makes it back to England and a fast rise in rank, then starts a warm correspondence with Claire. Mike lands in the USSR, where his Russian ancestry and flying skills take him to the Soviet air force and a touching romance with the feisty Galina. Hanna works on German kamikaze tactics, but no one is as enthusiastic as she. Not particularly graceful, but stouthearted and full of thoroughly authentic flying detail. The Soviet air war is new and welcome territory for military fiction.

Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 1992
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Donald Fine