The Last Sunrise

Written by Robert Ryan
Review by Martin Bourne


In 1948 Singapore, a demobilised American pilot called Lee Crane ekes out a living flying an old air transport. World-weary, he is toying with giving up on the Far East and helping out with the Berlin airlift. His decision crystallises when Elsa, an old acquaintance, turns up, bringing back some painful memories. However, someone doesn’t want him to leave. First his plane is sabotaged, and then he gets mugged in a back alley. Flashback to Burma in 1941, where a more idealistic Lee Crane is fighting the Japanese with the “Flying Tigers,” an American mercenary unit employed by the Chinese. His experiences, in love and war, begin to harden him. He then meets Laura McGill, an inexperienced British spy doing courier work for the colonial authorities – or is she?

This is a tense, tightly written drama with a great period feel. The point of view irritatingly bobs around a bit – I spotted the occasional editorial error – but more importantly the actual plot takes too long to unfold. Still, the attention to minor details is impressive and really does bring things to life.