Airborne (The Airborne Trilogy) - Robert Radcliffe

Author Rating:
  • The first book in a trilogy.

    A physically attractive and heavy book, but one with one of my favourite little touches. – A built in bookmark. It’s so much better than my usual method of using old rail tickets, or bits of newspaper which fall out when the good lady drops the book when cleaning.

    I have to agree with the single line review quoted from The Times on Amazon; this is a very convincing novel. It would be quite easy to mistake the story for fact, and that makes this the kind of fiction that I like. Suspension of disbelief is almost effortless.

    Unusually for me, I was only left weekends to read this book and due to the way that the book is structured that did cause me a few problems. The story changes between people, locations and time: occasionally this left me very mixed up as to where I was with the book, and I found myself thumbing backwards and forwards to straighten myself out. I don’t believe this would have been a problem if I’d been in a position to read a couple of chapters daily, along with a glass of my favourite brandy, as I'd normally do.

    The story centres around two people: paratroopers Dr Robert Garland (a medic) and Theo Trickey. Garland is dropped into the battle of Arnhem and ends up looking after Trickey who is terribly wounded. He’s so badly wounded it could be argued that it might be kinder to let him die. In fact, he had been mistaken for dead once, and that is how the two met and a bond between them developed. Isn’t there a Chinese saying that if you save someone’s life you become responsible for them?

    Both are taken as prisoners of war and we gradually learn more of Trickey’s remarkable history and involvement in the war. Things are rarely what they first seem and the story is told with a gritty realism. The book moves at a fast pace, and despite my own issues with the structure, it works. The one thing we don’t learn though, is how Trickey came to be so badly wounded. The book finishes on an almost perfect cliff hanger with Garland being faced with a very difficult decision. The next book in the trilogy isn’t due to be released until 2018, which is a long way away. Hopefully AG can get an advance copy? (Hint, hint!)

    So far this year I’ve been lucky enough to have some great books for review, this one certainly hasn’t broken my luck or disappointed me in any way.

    Four anchors from me and I’m waiting eagerly for the next volume.

Ageing_Gracefully likes this.


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  1. Ageing_Gracefully
    Having read and reviewed this book for another publication I can say rebbonk has it spot on. It is a really good read and a nice bit of "faction". The blending of fictional characters with actual events and people is very well done and the author has produced an excellent book. I will be looking for the next in the series, but whether I pass to rebbonk is still open for debate!

    The main character is Trickey who is half English half Italian, the produce of a quick knee-trembler in a northern Italian town between a local girl and an English infantry officer there for the skiing. He marries the woman thus giving Trickey his dual nationality.

    Trickey joins the army right at the outbreak of WW2, his father's old regiment although they don't seem to recall him. After the defeat and withdrawal of the BEF he returns to UK and volunteers for a new type of soldiering, becoming firstly a commando then moving over to parachuting. As seen in the competition for a copy of this book recently held, he takes part in the very first British parachute raid in Italy, returns and is sent to 2nd Bn The Parachute Regiment where he meets a young Cameronian officer called John Frost.

    As rebbok points out the book can be a bit disjointed as it is told through flashbacks and also through the Medical Officer. I put this down to setting the characters in place and hope that the next in the series sees a settling down of this to-ing and fro-ing.

    A really good book well deserving of the good review by @rebbonk .
      Naval_Gazer and rebbonk like this.