MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from Hornet Flight by Ken Follett, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Hornet Flight

by Ken Follett

Hornet Flight by Ken Follett X
Hornet Flight by Ken Follett
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Dec 2002, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2003, 416 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Seriously, have you any idea why so many are being shot down? You've flown more than a dozen missions. What's your hunch?"

Bart looked thoughtful. "I wasn't just sounding off about spies. When we get to Germany, they're ready for us. They know we're coming."

"What makes you say that?"

"Their fighters are in the air, waiting for us. You know how difficult it is for defensive forces to time that right. The fighter squadron has to be scrambled at just the right moment; they must navigate from their airfield to the area where they think we might be, then they have to climb above our ceiling, and when they've done all that they have to find us in the moonlight. The whole process takes so much time that we should be able to drop our ordnance and get clear before they catch us. But it isn't happening that way."

Digby nodded. Bart's experience matched that of other pilots he had questioned. He was about to say so when Bart looked up and smiled over Digby's shoulder. Digby turned to see a Negro in the uniform of a squadron leader. Like Bart, he was young for his rank, and Digby guessed he had received the automatic promotions that came with combat experience--flight lieutenant after twelve sorties, squadron leader after fifteen.

Bart said, "Hello, Charles."

"You had us all worried, Bartlett. How are you?" The newcomer's accent was Caribbean overlaid with an Oxbridge drawl.

"I may live, they say."

With a fingertip, Charles touched the back of Bart's hand where it emerged from his sling. It was a curiously affectionate gesture, Digby thought. "I'm jolly glad to hear it," Charles said.

"Charles, meet my brother Digby. Digby, this is Charles Ford. We were together at Trinity until we left to join the air force."

"It was the only way to avoid taking our exams," Charles said, shaking Digby's hand.

Bart said, "How are the Africans treating you?"

Charles smiled and explained to Digby, "There's a squadron of Rhodesians at our airfield. First class flyers, but they find it difficult to deal with an officer of my color. We call them the Africans, which seems to irritate them slightly. I can't think why."

Digby said, "Obviously you're not letting it get you down."

"I believe that with patience and improved education we may eventually be able to civilize such people, primitive though they seem now." Charles looked away, and Digby caught a glimpse of the anger beneath his good humor.

"I was just asking Bart why he thinks we're losing so many bombers," Digby said. "What's your opinion?"

"I wasn't on this raid," Charles said. "By all accounts, I was lucky to miss it. But other recent operations have been pretty bad. I get the feeling the Luftwaffe can follow us through cloud. Might they have some kind of equipment on board that enables them to locate us even when we're not visible?"

Digby shook his head. "Every crashed enemy aircraft is minutely examined, and we've never seen anything like what you're talking about. We're working hard to invent that kind of device, and I'm sure the enemy are, too, but we're a long way from success, and we're pretty sure they're well behind us. I don't think that's it."

"Well, that's what it feels like."

"I still think there are spies," Bart said.

"Interesting." Digby stood up. "I have to get back to Whitehall. Thanks for your opinions. It helps to talk to the men at the sharp end." He shook hands with Charles and squeezed Bart's uninjured shoulder. "Sit still and get well."

"They say I'll be flying again in a few weeks."

"I can't say I'm glad."

Reprinted from Hornet's Flight by Ken Follett by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2002, Ken Follett. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree
    by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
    Ya Ta, the main character in Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani's novel, Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree, ...
  • Book Jacket: Run Me to Earth
    Run Me to Earth
    by Paul Yoon
    Suspenseful and elegant storytelling in Run Me to Earth kept me turning pages even through traumatic...
  • Book Jacket: Beheld
    Beheld
    by TaraShea Nesbit
    Much like her debut novel The Wives of Los Alamos, TaraShea Nesbit's Beheld imagines a familiar ...
  • Book Jacket: My Dark Vanessa
    My Dark Vanessa
    by Kate Russell
    The plot of Kate Elizabeth Russell's My Dark Vanessa follows the life of Vanessa Wye, who at the age...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Actress
    by Anne Enright

    From the Man Booker Prize–winner, a brilliant and moving novel about celebrity, and power.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Yellow Bird Sings
    by Jennifer Rosner

    A breathtaking debut inspired by the true stories of Jewish children hidden during WWII.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Resistance Women
by Jennifer Chiaverini

An enthralling saga, inspired by real events, that recreates the danger and sacrifice of the Weimar Republic.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Firsts

The Inside Story of the Women Reshaping Congress

"An intimately told story, with detailed and thought-provoking portraits..."
--New York Times

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Die I C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.