After the long Great War leaves behind a shattered Europe without an entire generation of men, Great Britain permits women to serve their country as soldiers, sailors, and especially pilots.
It’s the spring of 1940 and Briley Bannatyne envies her older brother Mackinley. He’s about to embark on a grand adventure, training to become a pilot officer in Britain’s Royal Air Militia. When tragedy strikes, a badly hurt Mackinley convinces Briley to take his place in the Air Militia. Service is harsh – nothing like the radio shows where brave Air Militia pilots hunt pirates over the skies of Britain. Kendrick is one of these marauders, captured after Briley shoots him out of the sky. Brash, charismatic and mysterious, Kendrick becomes her unexpected friend and ally.
On a continent already battered by war, a terrifying new enemy emerges that conquers much of Europe before turning its sights on Britain. All that stands between the unstoppable Black Legion and invasion is Briley and a handful of brave pilots. Can Briley and her friends turn back the Legion, and will Briley’s friendship with the pirate become the key to saving Britain…
Review: 5/5 stars
Although Tony Russo published previously, this is the first book of his I’ve read. What drew me to the story was a young girl becoming a fighter pilot in an alternative, historical world. Heck ya! A girl being in a predominate male environment always grabs my attention. Briley is spunky, hard working, and feminine. She’s everything I wanted to be at that age. I think that’s why I gravitated towards Mr. Russo’s narrative.
We see headstrong Briley lie her way into the military and put herself out there for failure at every opportunity. She’s definitely not a Mary Jane. Not everyone likes her right off the bat. She’s a farm girl, she’s small, she’s born out of poverty, there’s probably dung and grass still matted in her hair! Briley is forced to prove she’s good enough – that’s something we do every day of their lives. Briley even has to prove to HERSELF she’s good enough. As a reader, I felt as though I was along for the journey. There was just enough military jargon and plane dynamics to make her world feel real. When she’s flying around in the plane, Mr. Russo’s description of what she did made sense. I saw her pull the throttle, trying to keep ahead of the crazy flight instructor. I saw the massive city where pilots fly over to salute the residents. I even loved that hint of romance. It was done well without being overwhelming.
To me, believably is my biggest pet peeves. Mr. Russo does that well.
I am a fan – please finish writing book 2 because I want to see what happens – especially between her and that handsome pirate!