A while ago, Christopher Jory contacted me, commenting upon one of my blog posts. The world of social media is amazing at times, how we find other writers to connect with. Anyway, we had a chat and he told me what he was writing about and asked me about my own work. Some time went by, and I have to admit that I forgot all about his book until recently when I saw it via Lincolnshire Bomber Command's website.
There have been many factual accounts of the bombing of Germany, yet the myths that surround it still remain. Lost in the Flames brings to life the experiences of an RAF Bomber Command airman and his family within the story of a love that endures for 70 years. It is also a story of great courage and betrayal, exposing the personal dilemmas and moral controversies that have swirled around the Bomber Command crews and their families from WW2 to the present day. Summer 2012 finally sees the unveiling of an official memorial to Bomber Command that has been 70 years in coming, making this a very timely novel. 'The war must be finished. They must do their bit ...' Rural England, the 1930s. Jacob grows up dreaming of being a pilot. Rose grows up dreaming of being with Jacob. But by 1940 the country is on its knees and annihilation looms. The war - and RAF Bomber Command - steals Jacob away. Jacob and his crew are thrown together in the bitter struggle in the night skies over Germany. They can expect to survive for only six weeks, but somehow they survive six months. Sixty percent of those who joined up when they did are already dead, but they start a second tour all the same - the war must be finished and they must do their bit. And all the while, Rose - the reason Jacob has to get through this war - must wait to see what is left of him for her to spend a life with when it's all over. Can Jacob and his crew survive? And how will the nation remember them - as heroes or war criminals or something in between?
It's my own genre and I have to confess that I loved it from beginning to end. So, for me this would have to be a five star rating. It's well written with a well constructed plot, characters and dialogue.
The novel is a most authentic portrayal of life in Bomber Command. You can almost feel the mighty Lancaster as its crew take off for another mission over war-torn Europe. Life on the RAF base is contrasted well with the typical country life of the locals, and then the reader is privileged to have a taste of what life was really like for the airmen. Will they make it through their tour of duty? Jory's description of one bombing mission at night is vivid and packed with tension & suspense. As a reader, you're literally there in that moment, watching as the searchlights pick off bombers, one by one. Watching as a city below you burns, and the Lancaster next to you flips over and begins to tumble earthwards, engulfed in flames. No chutes.
The final paragraph is written so simply and yet its message is so poignant and emotional. Thanks to the Bomber Command Memorial, these boys will never be forgotten. Also, Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial are raising funds for a memorial to these bomber boys, in the heart of Lincolnshire. The memorial will have Lincoln Cathedral in its sights, just as some of these boys will have had every time they flew out and also upon their return home. So, please do pay a visit to their site and show your support. Lost In The Flames is available online in their store.