The German planes patrolled in hunting squads. They flew fast fighting craft streaking across the sky in tight formation. The greatest of them was the Red Baron, the deadliest ace on the Front. He’d shot down twenty-one of our planes in a single month. And now we were in his firing line. The war in France rages in the skies, and support for the war in Australia turns cold.
Alex flies high above the trenches of the Western Front, while a world away his sister Maggie finds herself in the midst of political upheaval. Somehow, both must find the courage to fight on.
This fourth book in this wonderful series commemorating the Centenary of ‘The Great War’ continues to shed light on and bring into perspective the life and sacrifice shared by all during this time.
This story follows the life of a Melbourne family, particularly Alex and his younger sister Maggie. They write to each other constantly as Alex enlists in the Flying Corps as a mechanic and then arrives for training in England, only to prove himself worthy to fly.
He comes up against no less than ‘The Red Baron’ as the war rages over Flanders Fields.
At home, Maggie wants more from life. She opposes conscription and works with her Mother at rallies to oppose this vote. She is also happy to work hard physically on an orchard, and then a farm, to provide food in what was once a male dominated role.
This is a well-written and researched novel that gets you involved in the action. You journey through this time with Alex and Maggie and come out understanding so much more.
This novel will be read and enjoyed by early secondary students, and perhaps those much older (like myself!). It would also make a great read for guided group discussion in class for Grade 5 and up.
Reviewed by Rob