Flights for Freedom by Steven Burgauer

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Flights for Freedom by Steven Burgauer

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: An engaging WWI adventure following an American pilot shot down over France who must make it back to England while carrying important secret information, key to Allied victory. Beautifully researched and full of intricate historical detail but never losing the narrative push. Great fun and educational too.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 344 Date: August 2021
Publisher: Battleground Press
ISBN: 978-1087983103

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It's the later stages of World War I and the United States has just entered the conflict. Petrol Petronus is a young American who has signed up and joined the 17 Aero Squadron. This company was the first US Aero Squadron to be trained in Canada, the first to be attached to the RAF and the first to be sent into the skies to fight the Germans in active combat. But before that can happen, Petrol has to master flying the notoriously difficult but majestic Sopwith Camel.

Petrol is shot down in France and it is here his adventures really begin. He must make it through the network of resistance safe houses not just to save himself but also the war effort. Because he is in possession of secret intelligence - plans for an advanced gunsight - that could change the outcome for the Allies.

Along the way, Petrol will see the true horrors of the Great War - the flower of youth dead and dying in their thousands in the beautiful, poppy-strewn French countryside, the orphans left alone in the world, the horrors of occupation. But he also sees the good: the priest who shelters the children and runs a carrier pigeon network for the resistance, the ordinary men and women risking their lives for his own. He will also meet the woman of his dreams. 

Will Petrol make it across the electrified fence separating occupied France from Holland and make it back to England? Will his vital intelligence make it with him? And can he avoid being separated from the woman he loves? 

I really enjoyed this story. It's energetic and entertaining with a good narrative flow and plenty of tension and excitement so that you're always wanting to turn the page. There's a good cast of vivid, three dimensional characters and I promise you'll fall in love with more than one of them. And I defy you not to root for Petrol every step of the way. The dialogue is robust - if sometimes politically incorrect! - and sparkling, full of wit and repartee. But what stands out is the painstaking research involved. Flights for Freedom is full of intricate and accurate historical detail in every respect and there were many things I found out for the first time while reading. But it's show, not tell, so it doesn't bog down the narrative flow.

If you enjoy any adventure stories, but particularly those based in war or espionage, Flights for Freedom will be right up your alley. It really is a satisfying read. You even get some cool information about embroidery and needlework. Not often that you'd find that in a war story!


We have reviewed other books by Steven, which are just as good: Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou, The Road To War: Duty & Drill, Courage & Capture and The Night of The Eleventh Sun.

Booklists.jpg Flights for Freedom by Steven Burgauer is in the Top Ten Self-Published Books 2020.

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Buy Flights for Freedom by Steven Burgauer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Flights for Freedom by Steven Burgauer at


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