A Good War
In 1940 Adam Tomaszewski is a fighter pilot in the RAF when he meets the charismatic Irish soldier Gerry Cunningham. They form an unlikely friendship; Gerry is forceful and garrulous and Adam is diffident. Their friendship is severely tested when they become rivals for the attentions of the wealthy and mysterious Moira. As the war continues, each man goes his own way. Adam turns to piloting drop planes and Gerry joins the special forces. As the Allied invasion of Europe begins Gerry and Adam meet again behind the lines with more than one kind of battle to fight and resolve.
The novel basically takes a young Polish airman and charts all aspects of his life during World War II. The characters are not always likeable, but they are well written and the reader can empathise with their decisions and choices. Both the combat and the emotional dramas are charged with tension, and the outcomes do not always take the usually trodden path. The writing is strong and assertive and powerfully conveys the atmosphere of living on the edge—although everyone did seem to eat suspiciously well for the times, and I found it odd that rationing of food and petrol did not seem to be issues.
This is Patrick Bishop’s first novel, following on from non-fiction, and a fine debut.