Boyne completes the trilogy covering the birth of the American Air Force that began with Trophy for Eagles and Eagles at War. Covering the years from the end of WW II to the beginning of missile development in the late 1950's, Boyne's cast of fliers, manufacturers, and politicians slog their way through demobilization, the Berlin airlift, the Korean War, the McCarthy menace, and the birth of the civil-rights movement. The framework for the action, which is largely earthborne, is the racist scheming of Arkansas Congressman Milo Ruddick. Ruddick, who controls Air Force appropriations, uses his considerable power and influence to advance the careers of his son and son-in-law at the same time that he thwarts the careers of more deserving fliers--particularly that of John Marshall. Marshall, one of the black graduates of the WW II Tuskegee flight school who's now working as a test pilot, loses his chance to be the first man to break the sound barrier when Ruddick orders his removal from the test program. It's the first of a series of ordeals that will beset Marshall. Working for the fledgling Israeli air force, Marshall shoots down two Egyptian planes but can't go on record as the first black ace since his employment is a secret. When he's called up for the Korean conflict and again comes close to becoming an ace, his kills are credited to Congressman Ruddick's son-in-law. Captured and tortured by the North Koreans, Marshall survives to find that, while he was out of circulation, his beautiful wife, with the help of a handsome African-American entrepreneur, has become the new queen of black cosmetics. While Mrs. Marshall's business grows, so does the military-industrial complex--as well as the new growth industry, McCarthyism. Heavier on politics and social activism than Boyne's many flying fans may feel necessary, but that's life.