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04 November 2017

Wilbur Smith: Eagle in the Sky

One of his earliest books that has stood the test of time
I read this book shortly after it was first published in 1974 and I still remembered it better than most of his other books. Revisiting after over 40 years it still gripped me as one of Smith's best action-packed books - a heart-wrenching mixture of the action, terror, and romance.

David Morgan was a young man from South Africa with carefree charm and great wealth who found flying more exciting than joining the family business. He moves to Israel (his mother was a Jew) and becomes a Mirage pilot in the Israeli Air Force at a time of one of the country's worst struggles for survival. There he meets Debra Mordecai again who he had met in Europe and romance develops.

Then disaster happens to both of them. Debra is blinded in a terrorist attack during their wedding ceremony and David is badly burnt when his fighter crashes after a dogfight with Syrian raiders. Two damaged people move back to live in the South African bush and support one another in a truly marvellous way.

Smith's love for the South African countryside and its wildlife shines out. This is an emotional book with the ending especially heart-wrenching as David and Debra adjust to a miraculous change in their circumstances.

I am so glad that I revisited this book which has stood the test of time.

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