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Blue Man Falling Hardcover – 6 Feb 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; First Edition edition (6 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755325532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755325535
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 24.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,293,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The author of three best-selling novels about the RAF in World War Two Frank Barnard has just completed a fourth, of epic proportions, spanning the years 1890-1940, involving flying again but dealing with class and family-life set in Kent, Sussex and France. It is due for publication in April 2011 and is already hailed as ' a magnificent epic...about heroism, the romance of aviation and the conflict between fathers and sons...encompassing two world wars..elegiac and profoundly moving.'
Barnard has come late to fiction; at least published fiction. Blue Man Falling* was published by Headline Review in 2006 when he was 68. But he started his first novel at the age of 18 when a reporter in Kent and finished it as a National Serviceman in the RAF. It failed to find a publisher...
His subsequent career included journalism, public relations and advertising. He part-retired at age 52 to assume various non-executive directorships with international media groups as well as sail and race cars, both a lifelong interest. He may be the only novelist to compete in the annual Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. He retired for good in 2000, as chairman of Fleishman-Hillard Europe, having been instrumental in creating a European network of agencies, to write full-time.
He is married with two daughters and four grandchildren and lives near Rye, Sussex. More information, including a blog, at frankbarnard.com
* ' A gripping fusion of thrills and historical plausibility...subtly deflates the rhetoric of derring-do with never a jarring hint that his tenderly drawn pilots are not wholly rooted in their time. His fine balance of freshness and authenticity is, most assuredly, no literary piece of cake.' Daily Telegraph
28 August 2006

Product Description

Review

This is brilliantly researched with terrific flying and combat scenes - a fictional version of the very successful non fiction book "FIGHTER BOYS". --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A riveting novel of World War Two fighter pilots - Band of Brothers for the air

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Smithy on 23 April 2007
Format: Paperback
"Blue man Falling" is a great first novel and a welcome addition to the smallish realm of WWII aviation fiction. I must admit that initially I was a little sceptical being a great fan of Derek Robinson's novels and espeically "Piece of Cake". However I was very pleasantly surprised. This is a great novel, well-written, good characterisation, and a writing style that whips along without detracting from discription. In fact Barnard has done an exemplary job recreating the time, places, people and atmosphere of the Phoney War and Blitzkreig in France. However what really made the book stand out were his brilliant discriptions of aerial combat, these being some of the best I have read in a novel and, dare I say it, better than those of Derek Robinson. As the old cliche goes, they really put the reader in the cockpit - stirring stuff! The only minor point I would make is that the book tended to "waft off" a little in the middle to latter stages with the secondary plotline which was a flashback to earlier during the Phoney War. However this is by no means a major gripe and overall I think it's a splendid read. Well done Mr. Barnard and I'm looking forward to "Band of Eagles" and (hopefully) forthcoming titles.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sudworth VINE VOICE on 19 Jan 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a great story of the RAF and I only dropped a star as the the civilian subplot was not critical to the main story.

The quality of the writing describing the flying and the conditions was great with some of the banter between the pilots reminding me of 'A Piece of Cake' by Derek Robinson (another cracking read). The UK / US pilot split also reminded me of that book but this is better in that they seem to want to at least understand each other.

I finsihed the book thinking ' I hope there is a sequel ' - and now I find that there is - excellent !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wildlife Bookworm on 4 Feb 2008
Format: Paperback
Blue Man Falling is a tale of a fictional RAF squadron in the doomed battle for France that took place in May and June of 1940. The story centres around two main characters and focuses on their experiences, their histories, and their conflicting attitudes to the conflict.

One of the most refreshing aspects of this book is that Barnard has not found it necessary to tie himself to factual people, engagements, and places in the way that many writers do. Instead he uses the general sequence of events and dates as they happened as a framework round which to construct a plausible but entirely fictional novel.

The book is split into four parts, the second of which goes eight months back in time and follows the lives of the pilots during the `phoney war' between the declaration of war and the start of the blitzkrieg across France. It describes the ludicrousy of a situation where pilots may be sipping champagne in a 5 star hotel one day and patrolling the sky for enemy fighters the next. The drawback is that this part of the book can be seen as slightly dull and one of the characters maintains a mediocre sub-plot that lasts through out the rest of the book, slowing the story and essentially causing it to be 80-odd pages too long.

The depth of characterization in both the main and secondary figures is excellent as is the development of the characters as time progresses. `Blue Man Falling' may not be as full of action as one might expect and it may not have a very clear and structured plot. Some may also find it slightly repetitive at times. But what is produced here is a very real and graphic portrayal of life in a fighter squadron at this time, without the tiresome propaganda found in the many novels of this type written in earlier decades.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. C. Rost on 9 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
This really is a brilliant and highly accomplished first novel.

For me it captures the harrowing, insidious shadow of despair that swept across France and the civilised world in the wake of Blitzkrieg. It's not just a novel about RAF valour in the face of insurmountable odds, although it is this certainly; Frank Barnard recounts how a sleeping Europe was awoken to an unimaginable and terrifying new world order and how people came to terms with the reality.

There is nothing two-dimensional about Barnard's characters, however minor; each is drawn with touching, intimate detail.

It is the many finely portrayed action scenes that gives this novel a life of its own. Not just the aerial action, which is excellent, totally absorbing and thrilling; but also the dramatic accounts of action on the ground as France is overwhelmed - the brutal massacre of a Dornier crew by retreating Sengalese, the gruesome bombing of Fonteville, the ditch-execution of prisoners, the shotgun killing of French anti-semites, the deserted race circuit at Le Mans; above all the tranquil illusion of civilised normality in Paris while the panic-stricken refugee-filled roads of North West France are being strafed and blown to pieces.

For me, the characterisation was one of the best parts of this novel, not just the portrayal of RAF characters, though this was great. Deeper than this, I loved the way Barnard contrasted the differing world-views of reserved Englishman, Kit Curtis, and Ossie Wolf, the blooded American war-hardened realist.

This soft/hard contrast is also played out in the difference between Hannah and Bebe. There is no place for sentimentality or soft love in Bebe's desperate, Godless world.
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