Review of Hornet Flight by Ken Follett
Overview from www.barnesandnoble.com: "It's June 1941, and the low point of the war. England throws wave after wave of RAF bombers across the Channel, but somehow the Luftwaffe is able to shoot them down at will. The skies - indeed, the war itself seem to belong to Hitler." "But on a small Danish island across the North Sea, Harald Olufsen, a bright eighteen-year-old with a talent for engineering, stumbles upon a secret German installation. Its machinery is like nothing he has ever seen before, and he knows he must tell someone - if he can only figure out who." "With England preparing its largest aerial assault over, what Harald has discovered may turn the course of the war - but the race to convey the information could have terrible consequences for everyone close to him: For his older brother Arne, a pilot in the grounded Danish air force and already under suspicion of the authorities. For Arne's fiancee, Hermia, an MI6 intelligence analyst desperate to resurrect the foundering Danish resistance. And most of all, for Harald himself, because as the hour of the assault approaches, it will all fall to him and his friend Karen to get the word to England. And the only means available to them is a derelict Hornet Moth airplane abandoned in a ruined church, a plane so decrepit that it is unlikely ever to get off the ground." Pursued by the enemy; hunted by collaborators with almost no training, limited fuel, and no way of knowing if they can even survive the six hundred-mile flight, the two will carry with them England's best - perhaps only - hope to avoid disaster.
I am happy to say that I am back with a Historical Fiction offering this week. Although I like to read a wide range of genres, Historical Fiction is my favorite. The only way to make it better is when authors sometimes combine the two.
However, that is not the case in the Hornet Flight by Ken Follett which is what I am reviewing this week. Our story begins in June of 1941 when it might have seemed that Britain stood alone against Hitler’s Nazi party which was bent on world domination.
The story seems to give almost equal time to all of the main characters therefore it is hard for me to pin it down to one protagonist. We start however with Digby Hoare. He works on the staff of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. And he along with the Prime Minister is trying to figure out how it is that the Germans have been able to annihilate them with such precision recently.
Enter the mission. The mission begins with Hermia and Poul. Hermia works in England while Poul is in Denmark, the country Hermia had just escaped from when the Nazis invaded. But when Poul is discovered Hermia must find someone else to take his place and she can think of no one else other than her fiancé Arne who she previously thought to be too happy go lucky for the job.
Arne’s younger brother Harald discovers the plot and realizes he can help since he has seen the German installation that the British are interested in. He demands to be included and gets his wish at great cost to himself and everyone he trusts.
Meanwhile Peter Flemming, a Danish policeman out to make a name for himself under the new regime, discovers the brother’s involvement. Having borne a grudge against the family for years, he is elated to now have a reason to strike his revenge. But will he stop them in time to prevent the British from gaining the upper hand in the war?
My verdict on the story is mixed. The main plus of course besides the interesting characters is the plot itself. The action kept me turning the pages and anxious to see if each character will live as the baton is passed to the next as Hermia herself scrambles to try to figure out who has it. It was very entertaining.
On the negative side, I had my doubts about the historical accuracy of the story and a quick Internet search did not help. I am however still recommending it to those who are ok with a few f bombs and the sexuality that was in it. For me it was a bit much but not enough that I stopped reading the story.