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Flight to St Antony [Paperback]

Tony Blackman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Jun 2008
Flight to St Antony is a modern accurate aviation mystery/thriller where the detective Peter Talbert, an aviation insurance expert, is instrumental in solving the reason why an airliner with over two hundred people on board is forced to ditch at night in the Caribbean near the island of St Antony. There are only a few survivors, all from the rear of the aircraft and they were saved through the efforts of two stewardesses. Talbert is helped in his investigation by one of the stewardesses but the situation is complicated by the disappearance of one of the two crash recorders and the incorrect operation of the other. In addition a well know criminal and drug runner was travelling in the aircraft. By travelling to San Francisco, Seattle and back to the UK Talbert starts to gather valuable clues as to what might have happened. The stewardess is kidnapped and Peter not only manages to find and rescue her but also discovers the missing recorder. However the vital memory module with the conversation between the pilots is missing. Modern airliners are incredibly safe and it takes all Peter's expertise and understanding of human nature finally to establish what really happened. This is the fourth book in a series and Peter shows all his usual skills and aptitudes. A must read book for all lovers of crime, thrillers, mystery and aviation.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Blackman Associates (1 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955385660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955385667
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,012,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking good read 26 Aug 2008
Tony Blackman's new (2008) book "Flight to St Antony" is a cracking good read. I've seen the phrase "unput-down-able" before without really taking in its meaning until I got my copy of the book in the post last night. Unput-down-able - I read the first half of the book before I fell asleep, and then woke up early and read the rest. Late for work that day, of course, but worth it. I'm still buzzing over the book, and it is now the following evening.

The book builds on his earlier aviation thriller books, with an easier flow of technology and a relaxed and entertaining style. The author has a good - nay an excellent - command of aircraft technologies, which is a good part of the pleasure of reading. He skilfully weaves his way through the latest aviation developments (think the 777 crash earlier in 2008 at Heathrow), and then mixes that with human adventure, crime and romance. This is a really good book for anyone who is aviation-minded, as are his earlier books. I confess to having purchased all the others over the last year or two, and I've read them a couple of times each. If you can tell the difference between a CVR and a FDR, or wonder if the 2nd 28volt generator on an engine really gives adequate redundancy, then prepare yourself for a good read. The girls add a twinkle. And if you are looking for a gift for someone who is aviation-minded, you can't go wrong with this book. It'll be a good read for anyone from a serious pilot through to an enthusiast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flight to St Antony 5 Sep 2008
This is a first class aviation mystery, easy reading and credible even to someone from the airline industry like me. The story had me guessing (wrongly) to the end. I found it increasingly difficult to put down preferring it to two first class TV shows which I then had to record on this new fangled method of accessing past shows on a computer.
It is a mystery concerning the ditching of a modern twin engined passenger aircraft operated by a major British airline at the end of a transatlantic flight to the Caribbean island of St Antony. The accident brings to the island the usual gathering of accident inspectors, company flight managers and an assessor from the company carrying the insurance liability. It is this last person who digs deeper than most in his investigation; who starts to uncover certain irregularities and finally the real reason for the accident.
It will be of particular interest not only to aviators, since it written in their language with plenty of aeronautical definitions, but also to those outside the industry. There is an excellent table of aviation acronyms at the beginning of the book to refer to. As someone with 36 years experience in commercial aviation, I had a few experiences where events lead to incidents. In all of them, where was management input to the event and when the enquiry took place, there were sometimes attempts to sweep certain factors under the carpet. I shall say no more at this point for fear of giving readers too many clues.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book and I read it in 3 days Lots of good technical information, based on facts
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2.0 out of 5 stars Writing style is terrible 14 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Storyline not too bad, but writing style is terrible and makes reading the book quite difficult, couldn't wait to get to the end.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Author's expertise mixes nicely with good storytelling ability 14 Oct 2008
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Aviation and mystery enthusiasts will discover a fast-paced compelling story that delivers both the human and technical side of tragedy.

Our main character is a highly sought after aviation insurance expert, Peter Talbert. Peter's investigative assignment takes him to the small island of St. Antony near Barbados.

Following the disastrous night-time ditching of Alpha Delta Airlines flight from London, Gatwick, and then to Barbados, Peter is called into service by Hull Claims Insurance Company. Hull Claims may be liable for a vast sum if the airline's fuselage was, in anyway, the cause of the ditching. Peter's assignment is to determine if this is the case.

Of course, Peter's straightforward claims investigation is anything but. Woven nicely into the story, Peter discovers romance. The romance is more than a page-filler-it is relevant to, and captures, the story's human side. As Peter finds himself unraveling the truth about the reason for the flight ditching, he puts himself and his paramour's life in danger.

There are ample aeronautical terms and language to satisfy aviation buffs, which complements a well-crafted story of intrigue for mystery fans.

The author takes you from the airliner's perilous ditching and the passenger's panic for survival to the forty-second day when the mystery is ultimately solved.

In order to keep the numerous story characters straight, the author provides you with dramatis personae and a description of their responsibilities. This proves to be extremely helpful as you are constantly introduced to different and reoccurring characters throughout the story.

A table of aeronautical acronyms and definitions prove useful; this will maximize your enjoyment of the mystery and minimize confusion as the terms are liberally used to create a realistic aviation mystery investigation.

Author Tony Blackman is a noted aviation authority. As such, his mystery is incredibly convincing. This is the fourth mystery written by Tony with his central character, Peter Talbert, deeply involved in the investigation. There is no doubt that you will find yourself equally engaged in seeking a solution to the mystery. Enjoy.

Armchair Interviews says: Factual woven with fiction to make a very good read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping mystery, recommended 7 Nov 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Air is the safest way to travel, with thousands throughout the country dedicated to maintaining that position. "Flight to St. Antony" is a story of figuring out where one flight went wrong. Peter Talbert is charged with investigating a flight that tragically crashed on the Island of St. Antony, left to dig through the evidence and figure out why. Figuring it out should be hard enough, but there are those who want the mystery to stay and mystery, giving Peter the challenge of his life. "Flight to St. Antony" is a gripping mystery, recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent example of an aviation techno-thriller 15 Sep 2008
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
An airplane flying nonstop from England to the Caribbean inexplicably develops engine trouble and is forced to ditch in the ocean a few miles from an emergency landing on St. Antony. Although the flight crew does an incredible job in managing the water landing, the plane sinks fast and it is only the skill of the attendants that allows some of the people to survive. One of the attendants is named Helen and she manages to get people out the emergency exit, grab the emergency gear and even cut the escape slide/life raft from the sinking plane. Once she is on the raft, she fires the emergency flares that guides some fishing boats to their location.
Peter Talbert is an aviation expert and an investigator for an insurance agency. He is as good as there is and he begins probing the crash. At first nothing makes sense, it is the consensus that what happened could not have happened. This starts him on a methodical path towards the truth. His probe runs into difficulty when he learns that a known drug dealer was on the plane and he had an extremely valuable diamond with him.
When one of the flight recorders is stolen from the submerged plane and the data on the other is largely missing, the investigation appears hopeless. However, Talbert is relentless in his probe and is not deterred, even though he becomes romantically involved with Helen and is forced to tackle the drug dealers.
Finally, all of the clues come together and the impossible becomes possible and then known. Like most such "impossible" events, a combination of errors, synergistic mechanical breakdowns and human malfeasance led to the crash. Until the explanation is given in non-aviation language, it is hard to understand just what went wrong. However, the reading of the transcript as the flight crew calmly work the problem in an attempt to save the plane keeps you spellbound.
This is an excellent example of the techno-thriller, although in this case, it is all about airplanes and what can go wrong to make them fail. It is clear that the author is an expert in aviation and he transfers that expertise to the lead character in the manner of a gifted writer.
4.0 out of 5 stars Combines Technology with Mystery 8 Jan 2013
By DZ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent blend of mystery writing with the technological aspects of aviation writing. One would probably need to be more interested in the aviation side than just the pure mystery writing to rate this over other mystery novels.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent aviation mystery written by an expert 9 Oct 2008
By Cy B. Hilterman - Published on Amazon.com
A twin-engine commercial jet airliner is supposed to fly on one engine in the event one engine fails. Tell that to the passengers and crew of Worldwide Airlines flight 442 flying from London's Gatwick Airport to the Barbados, carrying passengers and crew of 245. When one engine sputters and has to be shut down the crew felt confident that they could fly on one-engine easily and make their destination. When strange things occur on board the Independent Transport Aircraft Company 831 airplane, the crew still felt they could successfully land the plane. Helen Partridge and Linda Sutcliffe were crew members assigned to the rear area of the airplane. They prepared the passengers as well as possible in case they would have to ditch in the ocean.

When this disastrous ditching occurred, Helen and Linda got the escape shoots down and rushed to get the frightened passengers out of the rapidly sinking body of the airplane. Only 69 had survived in very harrowing conditions. Those in the front area of the airplane had no chance with the water filling fast causing the angle of the inside to be far too steep for anyone in the front to get out. Helen and Linda remembered their emergency training steps very well and were very heroic assisting passengers before they themselves could escape. They didn't feel like heroes since so many died.

Peter Talbert was a private insurance investigator who was asked by the hull manufacturer to investigate the accident. He was asked to go to St. Antony to find out what actually occurred that caused the flight to have to ditch. Peter dug deep and didn't care how many he might have offended. He was much more than an insurance investigator; he was interested in finding out what did happen during the flight that caused this grievous wreck.

Peter discovered that Helen, who had survived the crash despite being hurt, was still on the island recuperating. He found her and started questioning her in all aspects of the flight. In addition, he became personally very interested in Helen. She was very beautiful and smart, which didn't deter Peter at all. Helen sometimes assisted Peter in his investigation.

As Peter dug deeper, at first trying to find out what was on the flight recorders (orange boxes) to tell him why this plane had to ditch so close to shore. When one of the boxes disappeared, he got more inquisitive and contacted more and more of those that had anything to do with the airplane itself, the mechanics, the crew of this flight and past flights, and of course Helen and Linda.

Any aviation buff will love this story. Even if you don't understand all of the author's abbreviations, which are listed for your information, the story itself is a terrific mystery that grows and grows to the very end. Tony Blackman is very educated in all particulars of aviation. Being a pilot for years, he became an electronics expert and helped develop some of the in-plane displays and avionic systems in use in various areas of the world.

Tony, you amazed me with your knowledge and especially your way of weaving a mystery that doesn't give the plot away until the very end. Keep these coming. Your writing is great.
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