As years go by and the majority of present generations haven’t lived even close to when a significant event has happened in history, the more inventive ways are needed to present that information as something worthwhile to know. Facts can be just told which of course is informative, but not always as interesting or noteworthy as it could be for some.
New Zealand author David Hill has tackled this several times in different books from varying time periods, giving history a memorable and readable touch. His latest young adult’s novel is an engaging read based on real world events during World War Two, providing insight into the realities of that time from the perspective of a young man a world away from home.
Flight Path begins with the latest arrivals of new soldiers ready to join one of the many Air Force squadrons on British soil. The story focuses on 18-year-old New Zealander, Jack Sinclair. Wanting to escape boring little New Zealand, he views the war as a way to spread his wings, seeing a world he would never be able to explore otherwise. Like so many stories from the war, real or fiction, Jack soon realises that the war is not all it’s made out to be. Honour is assured, but no one ever tells them about how terrifying it is not knowing if you’ll make it back after a mission, feeling tired and cold from stressful situations and lack of nutritious food, or how it feels knowing you’ve caused another human being’s death.
Flight Path follows Jack and his friends relying on one another to cope with these trials, while carrying out their dangerous missions among many other young men just like themselves.
The novel was well-written with a lot of researched detail surrounding the raids the crews are sent out on, primarily focusing on the Lancaster bombers, and also the Spitfires, Hurricanes, Mosquitos and many others. There is a lot of build up and thrill, providing tense reading while Jack and his fellow airmen carry out their harrowing orders flying over the English channel to Europe, narrowly avoiding flack and enemy gun fire.
The excitement and detail gave the book something extra because it easily captured interest but also was informative about important world history, with a lot of additional facts added. David Hill could easily develop the novel further into a sequel, either still in the past or in present day, which I’m sure would be an well-received read for many who enjoyed Flight Path.
Reviewed by Sarah Hayward
by David Hill
Published by Puffin