Lions of the Sky. Paco Chierici. Braveship Books. Copyright 2018. $26.99; hb, 292 pp.; ISBN: 9781640620674.
Being a Top Gun fighter pilot is not for the timid. It’s fiercely difficult; that’s why these men and women are being tested and trained to be fighter pilots are going through real and simulated scenarios. The action of lack of action can mean instant injury and/or death. Enter the cockpit of an F/A-18 Super Hornet and feel the force of gravity on take-off. This team are not loners; they’re highly dependent on each other for survival. Sam Richardson is the leader. Sam’s dealing with a problem; he’s got two females in this latest division. He had become close to a former female pilot who died in an airplane crash. The questions haunting Sam are did she cause the pilot error and was it because she was a weaker female pilot? Sam has to unlearn that error in thinking because it so severely affects the current women being trained to fly in battle missions. There are nail-biting scenes galore that are truly thrilling adventures that are so enjoyable. Also one experiences many drinking sessions, sharing of meals, sharing of training – supportive and challenging, sad moments at funerals, gifting of hilarious and serious nicknames, on-shore leaves for officers and trainees, etc. I absolutely loved this novel and learned so much during it. The author is a real pilot with over 20 years of experience. The conflict these men and women are getting ready for is a death-dealing one in the South China Sea where China is preparing to do battle with Taiwan and the Philippines over a slew of islands. Not a training session – Paco Chierici knows how to depict the real deal! Highly recommended historical fiction of the 21st century!