Hornet Flight

Written by Ken Follett
Review by Mark F. Johnson

In the spring of 1941, England was almost singlehandedly taking on the German war machine as it devastated Europe. Daily bombing raids were the only offensive action available. Since long-range fighters were still on the drawing boards, the bombers were on their own as they crossed into enemy skies. Their losses were appalling. The RAF bomber command was convinced the Germans had developed a radar system that was far more advanced than anything the English had at the time. Furthermore, the radar installation had to be somewhere near the English Channel in order to acquire the bomber formations as they approached the coastline. Finding that installation became the responsibility of the Nightwatchmen, the fledgling Danish resistance movement.

This story follows young Harald Olufsen as he is, through a series of seemingly benign circumstances, drawn into the resistance. One step behind him is Peter Flemming, a hard-nosed, by-the-book detective who believes anyone who breaks any law at all should be punished to the full extent. Harald has pictures of the radar installation and must get them to England. Peter wants to impress a Nazi general in order to gain a promotion, so he stops at nothing to thwart Harald’s plan. What follows is enjoyable reading, although I found the plot to be too convenient, too easy. Flemming’s detective skills seem to be limited to an uncanny ability to tell immediately when someone, anyone, is lying. Connecting the dots revealed the final picture much too soon.