My interest in this novel stemmed from the fact that my father flew in the aircraft featured (the FE2b) in 1918. I had hoped that the author had some first hand knowledge of what it was like to go on night bombing missions in the First World War. In fact, it seems that he flew in Lancaster bombers in the Second World War, so it seems unlikely that in 1914-18, he was of an age to be involved.
Nevertheless, it is obvious from reading the book that the author has researched the history of the FE2b very thoroughly and so far as I can see his technical knowledge is excellent and consistent with what I have read from other sources and what my father told me. This makes the novel an interesting read for anyone like me whose ancesters flew in this remarkable and unusual machine.
On the other hand one has to remember that this is a work of fiction, and the behaviour of the pilots and observers has to accord with what readers expect from an adventure story set in a great war. One must expect that the characters will behave in unpredictable ways, often foolhardy and sometimes very brave. A lot of them get killed, as they were in 1917-18. Some of them were more careful than the characters in the story, and some of them survived. I felt that, as an adventure story, this book is not at all outstanding. The characterizations were not very interesting. The plot was a succession of dangerous and perilous missions, with several unreal coincidences, and little in the way of development. The ending was weak, with no real surprises.
Nevertheless, there is something we all can learn here about the relative merits of low level and high level bombing, and the usefulness of night bombing as opposed to bombing in daylight. Both issues involve a balance between accuracy and the number of planes and crews lost, and a tendency to disregard the number of civilian casualties, a factor which this book, along with many others, virtually ignores.