I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Missions of the DragonFly Squadron #1
on March 1, 2014
Review by Kristin Lundgren on behalf of The Author VisitsVeronica "Ronnie" Somerset, is a ferry pilot of Lancaster bombers from the factories in Canada to England, or flying the 'grumpy hippo', the Sunderland flying boat, on mail runs. Known for speaking her mind, she is sent down to Enysfarne, down by Penzance - a radar station and outpost, but also what was to be her headquarters for the duration of this part of the war.
It is also the birthplace of the Dragonfly, a "special" plane, highly experimental, and mysteriously powered. Here she will live up to all that was the British spirit of have a cuppa, and save the homeland.Joining her in this wild ride of a diesel punk WWII alternative history combat story is her best friend Busbee Collins, Dr. Nigel Pennbridge, the inventor of the Dragonfly and it's special mechanics, and the girls' childhood friend, Vicki, HRH Victoria, Princess of Wales, and heir to the British throne, who also happens to be a damned fine pilot.With an assortment of characters on both the British and Nazi side, and a slew of planes both real and invented, this story takes off and doesn't stop except to refuel.
We go behind the scenes with Hitler and his inner circle and his obsession with the mystical, and are treated on both sides to some interesting and inventive inter-weavings of truth and "fiction."Cons: Although there were some areas where it could be tightened up, and a few loose threads snipped, a few leaps in action without explanation, a few misspellings that could be British or jokingly said (cow-towing), and a few references that are un-PC, but probably okay for the time period in question, overall it was more than a decent job.
Pros: Here's why I have them backwards (pros v. cons). Although I noticed most of those cons in the beginning, by the middle of the story, either they disappeared, or I was so caught up in the story, and in the wonderful flying world the author invented, as well as the incredible illustrations that can be blow up much bigger of the "new" aircraft by "Cutangus" that I never noticed any more issues.
I flew through the book like one of the pilots, nimbly jumping from one sortie to another, from Cornwall to Devon, from Jutland to the Baltic Sea, and back to England to be one of the main reasons the great Nazi invasion of Britain was fought back, esp. after the Americans caved, and made a truce with Germany, withdrawing all their aerial support of the B-17s, the Lancaster bombers, and other aircraft in service at the time, leaving England to stand on it's own, even as most of the royal family, including the King, went via submarine to safety in Canada.
This is a book about WWII, and the planes and aerial combat figure prominently in it, but with the illustrations, and the website full of additional supporting information on the crew and team members of both sides, the aircraft from both (also experimental, but incredible), and the main hero(ines) being three indomitable young ladies with great talent at the stick, this book would appeal to most people. I'm a 50 something woman, and I really enjoyed it, and would give it the highest praise a reader could - I'd love to read more in the series, and I'd read it again!
My Rating: 5 loop-the-loop stars
The Author Visits Reviews DragonFly
I was born in England, raised in Canada and now divide my time between Michigan and Florida. I started writing seriously more than ten years ago. My first published novel, Tiger Paw, won the 2012 Best Thriller Award from the Florida Writers Association. My newest work, the two-part novel, DragonFly ventures into the realm of dieselpunk, a retro-futuristic collision of science fiction and fantasy with overtones of alternative history.
Regardless of what genre I’m writing in, I aim to provide a unique perspective in my fiction, layering hidden meaning inside the protagonist’s journey. My debut thriller, Tiger Paw blends action and intrigue with psychological suspense, and asks the questions, how far will someone go to sell his soul to the Devil? And what if the Devil seeks revenge?
My new dieselpunk series, DragonFly explores the incredibly turbulent times during the 1940s and the ‘what ifs’ that might have been for a generation burdened by the ravages of war. DragonFly follows the journey of Veronica Somerset as she battles the odds to become Britain’s first female fighter pilot. DragonFly is not just a novel, it is a whole new world of fantastic technology, dangerous fighting machines and wizards battling across the boundary between good and evil.
I would love to spend more time in Florida and much more time writing, and maybe in the near future, I will get the chance to do both. In the meantime, I live in Michigan with my wife, my rock musician son, and a cat. Most of the time, the cat wonders what the hell is going on as we lead such busy lives. I must write about that some day. From the cat’s point of view, of course.
A young woman with the fate of a nation in her hands.
An aircraft designed by science, fueled by magic and flown with passion.
A World War re-imagined like never before.
Strap yourself in for a wild ride as award-winning author Charles A. Cornell takes you on his dieselpunk adventure, DragonFly; a collision of science fiction with fantasy that fast forwards steampunk into an alternative World War Two.
In 1942, an unlikely heroine changes the course of history.
On the eve of invasion by the Nazis, twenty-two year old RAF pilot Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Somerset is fighting another battle – winning respect within the stuffy, male-dominated British military. She’s feisty and brash and determined to overcome every obstacle to become Britain’s first female combat pilot.
When Ronnie is re-assigned to Enysfarne, a mysterious Royal Navy base off the coast of Cornwall, fate places her inside the cockpit of the most revolutionary aircraft ever invented. Brilliant engineer, Dr. Nigel Pennbridge has discovered quadra-hydrogen, an element that powers the DragonFly, a remarkable fighter-bomber that carries the hopes of Britain on its blue and silver wings.
Across the English Channel, Nazi Germany is busy planning its next conquest. Reichsführer Bernhardt Morax, Hitler’s personal sorcerer and leader of the Third Reich’s Zauber Korps is preparing his Blutskriegers for the invasion; bio-mechanical warriors created by a depraved occult science whose dark secrets cross the boundaries of evil.
In DragonFly, Veronica Somerset’s adventures unfold in two self-contained novellas:
In Part I: ‘To Hell and Back’, Ronnie proves she’s a hard-nosed, quick-thinking daredevil. She embarks on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines to spy on Hitler’s invasion plans and rescue a defecting officer from the Zauber Korps. Hans Schüller is a Nachtjäger or Night Hunter who introduces her to psychic powers she didn’t know she possessed; powers that entwine her destiny with his.
In Part II: ‘Victory or Death’, DragonFly comes to its dramatic conclusion. The Nazi invasion fleet is gathering off the shores of England. Morax, with help from his spies, is determined to seize the DragonFly and unlock the secrets of Enysfarne’s Druid past. Will the Druid wizard, Affodill – whose ancestral home of Enysfarne has been expropriated by the Royal Navy – join forces with the British, or will he make a pact with the evil Morax? Can Princess Victoria and Ronnie Somerset convince Affodill to place his magic in the service of a nation that has betrayed his Druid ancestors for centuries?
‘DragonFly – the Illustrated Edition’ is the ultimate DragonFly reading experience! It’s packed with sixty illustrations that make the action jump off the page, including character dossiers, historical ‘retrographs’ and fantastic designs of retro-futuristic aircraft. Eleven of the sixty illustrations are exclusive to this omnibus edition of DragonFly and will be unavailable anywhere else!