What the Raven Brings

Written by John Owen Theobald
Review by Ann Northfield

Second in the Ravenmaster trilogy, this novel continues on from These Dark Wings, the story of Anna and Timothy, residents of the Tower of London, but takes place a few years later. The book alternates between Anna and Timothy narrating in the first person; at times it is difficult to work out who is speaking. Anna is inspired by an Amy Johnson film to want to fly and so becomes a pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), which delivered planes around the country to RAF bases, flying without radio or instruments and facing constant danger from German aircraft and bad weather.

One major plot line involves jealous engineers and RAF personnel sabotaging planes to make the women flyers look incompetent. Perhaps this is based on reality, but I found it hard to believe that professional airmen would be so petty in a time of war. There is also another confusing plot strand about Anna’s father being a German, but this is not really developed or very clear. The fear engendered by Hitler’s new secret weapons is evident, and the atmosphere of wartime is conveyed well, especially the Bethnal Green underground railway disaster, where many people were crushed in the panic. It is interesting to find out what happens to the characters we met in the first novel in the series, and this novel sets various conflicts in train for the third book.