Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars
“Freedom is not free” is credited to retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Walter Hitchcock.
This gripping novel follows an American bomber crew through their secretive training, a harrowing raid on Japan, and on their desperate journey through occupied China to Chungking, the seat of the country’s wartime government.
The crew, along with an American missionaries’ daughter whom they’ve rescued, must evade the Japanese occupiers every step of the way. And amidst all the horror and turmoil of war, a romance blossoms between the rescued woman and the crew’s pilot.
When Heroes Flew: The Shangri-La Raiders is a captivating tale of bravery, determination and an unlikely love that will leave you hooked until the very end.
A tale of love during a time of war mixed with historical fact! Lt. Colonel Jimmie Doolittle and a squadron of sixteen, B25 Mitchell bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet to bomb the Japanese mainland in WW II. The takeoff of a heavy bomb-loaded aircraft from the carrier deck was unheard of! They usually needed well over a thousand feet of runway to get airborne. These planes only had 360 feet. The first plane off the flight deck was Doolittle himself!
The training and heroics of the young crews cannot be overstated. Training was done at numerous bases in the United States and then actual carrier training was done at Pensacola, Florida. The crews were selected from among the best B25 bomber crews in the Army Air Force. Colonel Doolittle did not ask them to do anything that he didn’t do. He also led the attack on the Japanese islands. The United States needed a victory after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, HI.
After the bombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities, the planes flew to mainland China, as they had no way of getting back to the USS Hornet. The flight took off nearly 600 miles from the Japanese coastline. The worry was that the planes would not be able to get to China after the bombing run. All of the crews were volunteers who knew that they may need to ditch in the ocean! Some of the flight crew were unable to swim and the planes carried only one life raft!
After bailing out over mainland China, the crews were frantically searched for by the Japanese. They were considered war criminals and would surely be executed upon capture. The narrative spells out some of the heroic efforts made to evade capture and return to the U.S. for further military deployment. A fictional officer named Lieutenant Raymond “Boss” Howser was the flight leader of one of these planes. His was the seventh bomber that took off from the deck of the Hornet. As his plane was running out of fuel he had his flight crew bail out of the coughing plane.
The assistance of the Chinese people who were being brutalized by the Japanese military was at great personal risk. Thousands of Chinese men, women and children were brutally murdered if suspected of assisting the American devils. Lt. Howser and his crew are aided by a missionary, his wife and daughter. The assistance was found out and the parents were savagely tortured and executed. The crews escape back to U.S. held lines included hiding in the jungles of central China and getting aide along the way from the Chinese people who hated the Japanese. The story is a compelling read and heartwarming in the execution of the tale. 5 stars – CE Williams
We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. Now on pre-order.
Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, Sea Adventures Fiction, Military Thrillers
Publisher: Severn River Publishing
Print Length: 303 pages
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: When Heroes Flew: The Shangri-La Raiders [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
The Author: H. W. “Buzz” Bernard is a best-selling, award-winning novelist.
His debut novel, EYEWALL, which one reviewer called a “perfect summer beach read,” was released in May 2011 and went on to become a number-one best seller in Amazon’s Kindle Store.
PLAGUE (“One of the best thrillers of 2012″–novelist Al Leverone) came out in September 2012, and won the 2014 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) eBook Award in the suspense/thriller category.
SUPERCELL (“Races along with the speed of a twister”–novelist Michael Wallace) was published in late 2013 and became a best seller on Kindle as well as the winner of the 2015 EPIC eBook Award in the suspense/thriller category.
Buzz’s fourth novel and third in his “weather trilogy,” BLIZZARD (“A terrific book”–novelist Deborah Smith) was released in February 2015. It led to his nomination for a 2016 Georgia Author of the Year award.
CASCADIA (“heart pounding”–Reed Farrel Coleman, NYT best-selling author WHERE IT HURTS) hit the market in July 2016 and went on to garner the 2018 EPIC eBook Award in the suspense/thriller category, making Buzz a three-time “Eppie” winner.
Buzz’s newest novel, WHEN HEROES FLEW (“vivid, unforgettable”–P. T. Deutermann, author of award-winning PACIFIC GLORY), was released in April 2020.
Before becoming a novelist, Buzz worked at The Weather Channel as a senior meteorologist for 13 years. Prior to that, he served as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force for over three decades. He attained the rank of colonel and received, among other awards, the Legion of Merit.
His “airborne” experiences include a mission with the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, air drops over the Arctic Ocean and Turkey, and a stint as a weather officer aboard a Tactical Air Command airborne command post (C-135).
In the past, he’s provided field support to forest fire fighting operations in the Pacific Northwest, spent a summer working on Alaska’s arctic slope, and served two tours in Vietnam. Various other jobs, both civilian and military, have taken him to Germany, Saudi Arabia and Panama.
He’s a native Oregonian and attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science; he also studied creative writing.
Buzz is a past president of the Southeastern Writers Association. He’s a member of International Thriller Writers, the Atlanta Writers Club, Willamette Writers, and Military Writers Society of America.
He and his special needs adult grandson live in Roswell, Georgia, along with a fuzzy and strangely docile Shih-Tzu, Stormy . . . probably misnamed.
Buzz’s Website can be found at www.buzzbernard.com.
©2021 CE Williams – V Williams –