Blue Man Falling

Written by Frank Barnard
Review by Mike Ashworth

Blue Man Falling is set during the Battle of France in 1939-40. It follows the fortunes of two RAF pilots, an Englishman, Kit Curtis, and an American, Ossie Wolf. The book opens at May 1940 with the German advance, bringing with it the horrors of total war, before regressing back to October 1939 and the uncertain pleasures of the “phony war,” with leave in Paris and the occasional foray against mainly unsupported enemy bombers. Fighting for different reasons, the two men soon clash. Curtis dreams of fighting a gallant enemy and personal glory, and is shocked by the fighting tactics of the American who with experience of combat in the Spanish Civil war has darker motives. As the war progresses both men become involved, not only with the Fifth Column which is actively assisting the German invaders, but also the impoverished Russian Countess Dubretskov who uses both men for her own ends. As the book returns to 1940 both men find common cause, not only in survival, but to the ideals they find they hold in common. However, don’t be dismayed; this is no “Boys Own” story of derring-do. The descriptions of air combat are powerful, and Mr. Barnard paints a graphic picture of what it must have been like in France during that period, not only for the pilots, but for the civilian population as well. Recommended.