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11 November 2012

Stephen Coonts: The Intruders

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Jake Grafton - a post Vietnam prequel
With lots of aerial action and detail this is a great vintage Stephen Coonts about life on an aircraft carrier. "The Intruders" is set in 1973, shortly after the end of the Vietnam War and tells the story of Jake Grafton's experience after the stresses of Vietnam. Actually this is a bit of a 'prequel' because it was written out of sequence (it should have been book 2 after "Flight of the Intruder" but was written as book 5 after "The Red Horseman").

The main story is about Jake Grafton adjusting to a degree of normality after the stresses of Vietnam and his life as a carrier pilot. We also revisit Grafton's budding relationship with and love for Callie McKenzie that carries through strongly in later books. The book contains some memorable words about his first contact with his future father-in-law:

"You....drop...bombs?" His face was blank, incredulous. "And shoot missiles." Jake said firmly...."Doesn't it bother you? Dropping bombs?" "Only when the bad guys are trying to kill me."

A lot of the book is taken up with Coonts detailed description of shipboard life for a carrier pilot, how naval aviation worked at that time (things have changed a bit since then) and the action and excitement of flying in a dangerous environment.

If you like that kind of thing then you will love this book. Otherwise wait till later books when Grafton matures and gets promoted into an environment of world shattering responsibilities.

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