Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this is Derek Robinson's masterly novel of the war in the air over the Western Front in 1918.
World War One aviators were more than just soldiers - they were the knights of the sky, and the press and public idolised the gallant young heroes.
But for Stanley Woolley, commanding officer of Goshawk Squadron, the romance of chivalry in the clouds is just a myth. There are two types of men up there: victims and murderers, and the code he drums into his men bans any notion of sport or fair play. This produces better killers but, even so, Wolley believes the whole squadron will be dead within three months.
Derek Robinson quietly builds the day-to-day details of these men's lives and deaths into a powerful indictment of war. But this classic of war literature is also very funny - often painfully so.
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