DragonFly by Charles A. Cornell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This review was done for TheAuthorVisits.com, a website devoted to authors and readers.
Here’s the review. It’s a dieselpunk, alt. history WWII story about aerial combat between Germany and Britain. Early on, I was going to give it 4 stars, but I so enjoyed it, and wanted to read the next book, and knew I wanted to reread this one, that I had to give it 5 stars. Very inventive, and with lovely illustrations that can be zoomed in on.
Title: DragonFly (Missions of the DragonFly Squadron #1) Illustrated
Author: Charles Cornell, Jose “Cutangus” Garcia, Illustrator
# of Pages 365 (no pages on ebook)
Veronica “Ronnie” Somerset, is a ferry pilot of Lancaster bombers from the factories in Canada to England, or flying the ‘grumpy hippo’, the Sunderland flying boat, on mail runs. Known for speaking her mind, she is sent down to Enysfarne, down by Penzance – a radar station and outpost, but also what was to be her headquarters for the duration of this part of the war. It is also the birthplace of the Dragonfly, a “special” plane, highly experimental, and mysteriously powered. Here she will live up to all that was the British spirit of have a cuppa, and save the homeland.
Joining her in this wild ride of a diesel punk WWII alternative history combat story is her best friend Busbee Collins, Dr. Nigel Pennbridge, the inventor of the Dragonfly and it’s special mechanics, and the girls’ childhood friend, Vicki, HRH Victoria, Princess of Wales, and heir to the British throne, who also happens to be a damned fine pilot.
With an assortment of characters on both the British and Nazi side, and a slew of planes both real and invented, this story takes off and doesn’t stop except to refuel. We go behind the scenes with Hitler and his inner circle and his obsession with the mystical, and are treated on both sides to some interesting and inventive inter-weavings of truth and “fiction.”
Cons: Although there were some areas where it could be tightened up, and a few loose threads snipped, a few leaps in action without explanation, a few misspellings that could be British or jokingly said (cow-towing), and a few references that are un-PC, but probably okay for the time period in question, overall it was more than a decent job.
Pros: Here’s why I have them backwards (pros v. cons). Although I noticed most of those cons in the beginning, by the middle of the story, either they disappeared, or I was so caught up in the story, and in the wonderful flying world the author invented, as well as the incredible illustrations that can be blow up much bigger of the “new” aircraft by “Cutangus” that I never noticed any more issues.
I flew through the book like one of the pilots, nimbly jumping from one sortie to another, from Cornwall to Devon, from Jutland to the Baltic Sea, and back to England to be one of the main reasons the great Nazi invasion of Britain was fought back, esp. after the Americans caved, and made a truce with Germany, withdrawing all their aerial support of the B-17s, the Lancaster bombers, and other aircraft in service at the time, leaving England to stand on it’s own, even as most of the royal family, including the King, went via submarine to safety in Canada.
This is a book about WWII, and the planes and aerial combat figure prominently in it, but with the illustrations, and the website full of additional supporting information on the crew and team members of both sides, the aircraft from both (also experimental, but incredible), and the main hero(ines) being three indomitable young ladies with great talent at the stick, this book would appeal to most people. I’m a 50 something woman, and I really enjoyed it, and would give it the highest praise a reader could – I’d love to read more in the series, and I’d read it again!
My Rating: 5 loop-the-loop stars
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