The Long Flight Home
by Alan Hlad


Overview -
Inspired by fascinating, true, yet little-known events during World War II, The Long Flight Home is a testament to the power of courage in our darkest hours—a moving, masterfully written story of love and sacrifice.

It is September 1940—a year into the war—and as German bombs fall on Britain, fears grow of an impending invasion. Enemy fighter planes blacken the sky around the Epping Forest home of Susan Shepherd and her grandfather, Bertie. After losing her parents to influenza as a child, Susan found comfort in raising homing pigeons with Bertie. All her birds are extraordinary to Susan—loyal, intelligent, beautiful—but none more so than Duchess. Hatched from an egg that Susan incubated in a bowl under her grandfather’s desk lamp, Duchess shares a special bond with Susan and an unusual curiosity about the human world.

Thousands of miles away in Buxton, Maine, a young crop-duster pilot named Ollie Evans has decided to travel to Britain to join the Royal Air Force. His quest brings him to Epping and to the National Pigeon Service, where Susan is involved in a new, covert assignment. Codenamed Source Columba, the mission aims to air-drop hundreds of homing pigeons in German-occupied France. Many will not survive. Those that do make the journey home to England can convey crucial information on German troop movements—and help reclaim the skies from the Luftwaffe.

The friendship between Ollie and Susan deepens as the mission date draws near. When Ollie’s plane is downed behind enemy lines, both know how remote the chances of reunion must be. Yet Duchess’s devotion and her singular sense of duty will become an unexpected lifeline, relaying messages between Susan and Ollie as war rages on—and proving, at last, that hope is never truly lost.

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More About The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad
 
 
 
Overview

Inspired by fascinating, true, yet little-known events during World War II, The Long Flight Home is a testament to the power of courage in our darkest hours—a moving, masterfully written story of love and sacrifice.

It is September 1940—a year into the war—and as German bombs fall on Britain, fears grow of an impending invasion. Enemy fighter planes blacken the sky around the Epping Forest home of Susan Shepherd and her grandfather, Bertie. After losing her parents to influenza as a child, Susan found comfort in raising homing pigeons with Bertie. All her birds are extraordinary to Susan—loyal, intelligent, beautiful—but none more so than Duchess. Hatched from an egg that Susan incubated in a bowl under her grandfather’s desk lamp, Duchess shares a special bond with Susan and an unusual curiosity about the human world.

Thousands of miles away in Buxton, Maine, a young crop-duster pilot named Ollie Evans has decided to travel to Britain to join the Royal Air Force. His quest brings him to Epping and to the National Pigeon Service, where Susan is involved in a new, covert assignment. Codenamed Source Columba, the mission aims to air-drop hundreds of homing pigeons in German-occupied France. Many will not survive. Those that do make the journey home to England can convey crucial information on German troop movements—and help reclaim the skies from the Luftwaffe.

The friendship between Ollie and Susan deepens as the mission date draws near. When Ollie’s plane is downed behind enemy lines, both know how remote the chances of reunion must be. Yet Duchess’s devotion and her singular sense of duty will become an unexpected lifeline, relaying messages between Susan and Ollie as war rages on—and proving, at last, that hope is never truly lost.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781496721679
  • ISBN-10: 1496721675
  • Publisher: John Scognamiglio Book
  • Publish Date: June 2019
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Coming of Age
Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

The Long Flight

Bigger isn’t always better or more effective. The small, unassuming body of a pigeon carrying coded messages behind enemy lines, avoiding capture, detection or death by falcon, can end up wreaking as much havoc as a bomb. In The Long Flight Home, Alan Hlad tells a dramatic, fictionalized story about the real use of pigeons during World War II. British intelligence hoped that the pigeons, dropped by the thousands into Nazi-occupied France, would be found by resistance fighters and used to return messages containing vital reconnaissance.

Long before the United States enters the fight, Oliver “Ollie” Evans from Maine smuggles himself into Britain with dreams of a different kind of flying. Before he can join the Royal Air Force, he is obligated to help Bertie Shepherd and his granddaughter, Susan, with their role in a top-secret pigeon mission. Unsurprisingly, Ollie and Susan’s proximity leads to romance, and when Ollie gets stranded in France, the coded messages contain more than just German troop movements. Hoping to return to Susan, Ollie tries to assist the resistance effort until he can escape, while Susan awaits messages from him, carried by her remarkable pet pigeon Duchess, who accidentally got conscripted with the trained birds.

In his debut novel, Hlad tells a compelling if somewhat predictable story. The engaging plot and fascinating details of the National Pigeon Service make it a rewarding read. Many civilian pigeon-keepers volunteered to try to turn the tide of the war, not knowing if it would work or be worth the loss of their birds in the dangerous process. The Long Flight Home captures the contributions of the average citizens who, in a time of peril, rose to meet the challenge in heroic ways.

 
BAM Customer Reviews