The Best Historical European Fiction Reviewed By BookViral

"A sensational read from beginning to a cliff-hanger ending ..."

Historical European Fiction
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  • ASIN: ‎ B0CB9K7V1T
  • Publication date: ‎ July 5, 2023
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Print length: ‎ 356 pages
  • Genre: Historical European Fiction

The BookViral Review:

A compelling sky-war pageant of a novel The Eagle and The Empire proves a superb read that gives us so much more than a rousingly simplistic, patriotic aerial bloodbath.

Far too many releases in the WW2 Historical Fiction genre stray into the corny whilst fatally confusing dramatic classicism with cliché but Wheatcroft gives us something refreshingly free of this. There are no roughly sketched characters, presented as outwardly swaggering if dishevelled pilots, while inwardly they are secretly tormented. Wheatcroft’s characters are properly delineated as individuals, making it easy to keep up with their internal dialogue and which one of their comrades has just been shot down.

On this level, The Eagle and The Empire is a clear-eyed look at the nuts and bolts of bravery that allows us to identify and empathise with a group of people who live on the edge whilst appealing to our sense of patriotism and respecting our intelligence

It’s as intense an immersion in aerial combat as a novel could hope to provide but more importantly one that respects the machinations and conventions of war. Wheatcroft’s novel doesn’t inhabit the polar opposites of black and white, good or bad, but the varying shades of grey that reside between with this brought into focus as we switch between the alternating perspectives of fresh young RAF fighter pilot James Lawrence and Messerschmitt fighter pilot Matthias Weber.

Few historical fighter pilot novels have so palpably conveyed the sheer isolation and fear of the combat cockpit and the extent to which history is often made by people who are just trying to survive it. And Wheatcroft’s novel is a work of heart-hammering intensity and grandeur that demands to be read and reflected upon.

But its appeal doesn’t stop at Wheatcroft’s superbly detailed depictions of Spitfire and Messerschmitt fighter pilots duelling in the clouds. Like all Great War novels, it’s every bit as transfixing in its more serene moments. Wheatcroft has a very real story to tell. A story set against the backdrop of a grimly male world with hardly any women to be seen and in the introduction of Californian Laura Andersen, a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot intent on seeing combat, he aims for both the heart and the head.

A sensational read from beginning to a cliff-hanger ending The Eagle and The Empire is an unreservedly recommended 5-star read!

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