Colonel Yuri Andrenev, a respected test pilot, is trusted to evaluate the latest Soviet fighter, the Sukhoi Su27 "Flanker", from a secret test facility near Moscow. Surely he is above suspicion. With thoughts of defection in his mind, and flying close to the inner German border, could he be tempted to make a daring escape across the most heavily defended airspace in the world? A flight test against a MiG fighter begins a sequence of events that forces his hand, and after an unexpected air-to-air encounter he crosses the border with the help of British Phantom crews. How will Western intelligence use this unexpected windfall? Are Soviet efforts to recover the advanced fighter as devious as they seem, or could more-sinister motives be in play? Defector is a pacy thriller that reflects the intrigue of the Cold War. It takes you into the cockpit of the Phantom fighter jet with the realism that can only come from an author who has flown operationally in the NATO Central Region.
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Saturated with technical detail but....
This is a brilliant insight into the procedures of the RAF Germany and the use of the Phantom as a fighting platform. I found David Gledhill writes with great authority on the technical aspects of the aircraft, and as an aviation nut and Phanton Phanatic I loved that part. I learnt a huge amount.
I have listened to many other aviation Novels, that range from the cold hard technical to dumbed down top gun style nonsense. This book definitely falls into the former. However compared to "I flew for the Fuhrer" by Heinz Knock (I know this is an basically autobiography) or "Bomber" by Len Deighton I really felt as though the balance suffered. I failed to understand the full motivation of Yuri Andrenev and why he wanted defect potentially sparking WW3. This is certainly not Hunt for Red October where tension builds within a far wider political framework supported by a varied cast of characters.
I think its great that David Gledhill wanted to narrate this book. Respect is due for the undertaking. However he is no voice actor and sometimes during the high action sequences radio calls are read out as though he was ordering a take away rather than inside a highly dynamic aerial engagement. It was also very difficult to understand who was doing what, with several actions going on simultaneously and no break in the narration to identify who he was talking about. There were also several rather long random pauses that I thought marked the end of a chapter, only for dialogue to continue. A small point was that I heard background noise a few times as well, like turning on a mic or something.
I did listen to it in the period of two days. I work as an illustrator and often have a book on in the background. I absorb it by osmosis over a couple of listens. I have to say I did zone out several times during the long aerial procedure accounts. They were fascinating as I have mentioned above but without the engaging narration they eventually became sterile. I imagine that in real life RAF procedures have to done like this and credit is due for David not jazzing them up Rambo style.
Dont get me wrong I love this book. For what it is, its great !! Thankyou David for writing it. It just lacks something that would have put it into "Tom Clancy" "Len Deighton" status. It didnt paint a picture of the skies over cold war Germany or the potential consequences of an aerial battle in a tinder box of international tension. Surely WW3 could have kicked off big time, but the dialogue just seemed as though it was another exercise. More focused in getting back to mess for a beer or three. Maybe that is real life in an RAF squadron, David Gledhill would be the man to know. I originally thought the book was part of a linked series where the characters would develop but having read the descriptions of the second and third books I believe they are self contained. I think I will download the next in the series and see where it heads. If you love the Phantom, BUY THIS BOOK, if you love technical detail BUY THIS BOOK, if you love hearing it from the horses mouth BUY THIS BOOK. The scenario has all the potential for a best seller, and for the right person this is the perfect book.
- Mr. Christopher Draper
- kevin day