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Nor The Years Condemn and Ghosts of the Empire - Book Reviews

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by May (subscribe)
Typical Gemini, with the concentration span of a gnat & not one for sitting still. My old Da used to say that "you're a long time dead". So my mantra is get busy living.Please join me for more at
Published April 14th 2016
An Aussie who shows us how to make history interesting
My father did not discuss his war service with me until I was forty and divorced. Prior to that, it seems I was a delicate flower. What he did do when I was in my early teens was provide books for me to read, such as No Passing Glory, the biography of Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, and Enemy Coast Ahead by Guy Gibson, V.C., D.S.O., and D.F.C. When I returned the books to him he would then throw questions at me to ensure I had understood the the content. I did not dare make any mistakes.

With Anzac Day looming I've recently found an Australian author who fills in many of the gaps and puts a very Australian perspective to Australians serving in the Airforce during WW2 in a trilogy of War Historical Fiction.
courtesy of Justin Sheedy
Flyer for Trilogy

Nor The Years Condemn by Justin Sheedy introduces us to 20 year old Daniel Quinn, law student, rugby player, and loving son and brother. He enlists when war is announced as do many of his contemporaries, and we follow his successes and struggles through the Empire Air Training Scheme.

We feel both the pride and fear of Daniel's family when he is transferred to England. We follow Daniel's adventures in a world on the other side of the globe, in which he experiences loss and tragedy, as well as the joy of grasping life's experiences as if each were his very last.

Piloting Spitfires into combat over Germany we then follow Quinn's climb up the chain of command, the author cleverly weaving historical facts throughout.

In Ghosts Of The Empire we meet Mick O'Regan, a working class lad and the eldest of five motherless children . He enlists in the Airforce with the ambition of becoming a flight training instructor, thus never having to leave Australia and contributing financially to his family's welfare.

That doesn't pan out and we also follow Mick to England with the same goal, though different route: Bomber Command.

The blurb on the back cover sums the story up succinctly : "A blacked-out world where dancing partners, sex and death flow in equal abundance. And worlds in between."

As well as enjoying Daniel and Micks' journeys I was impressed how the author fleshed out details to provide readers with a better understanding of how a generation lived during wartime. I did not know the definition of a Flying Ace, nor had I ever considered how difficult it must have been for Aussie airforce crews to fly over Europe when their own country was in peril once the Japanese had entered the war and were forging through the Pacific. I enjoyed learning more about the important role of the Boomerang Club, and other insights that perhaps were taken for granted as common knowledge in books written 60 or 70 years ago.

The last book in this trilogy, No Greater Love, is due for release in July, 2016.

I would recommend these books to anyone with an interest in history and Australiana. As such I will be purchasing several sets as gifts for the younger members of my clan so that they too can attain a better understanding of what a generation went through, and not all that very long ago.

Available from Dymocks and Amazon.
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