It is 'Bloody April' 1917, and high over the skies of the Western Front, British and German aircraft battle to the death as the First World War rages on.
On the ground below, slaughter on a scale never seen before, ensues. Tanks, still early in their evolution, are deployed in battle and the soil of the Western Front is drenched in the blood of hordes of soldiers.
Back in the air, Major Wyatt has recently taken charged of 99 Squadron, a British scout squadron, following the death of its previous commanding officer. The 99 pitches its Sopwith Pup aircraft against the Germans, again and again. Many consider the German aircraft superior, but even the mighty Albatroses are not without their weaknesses.
The work of 99 Squadron is nerve-wracking and highly dangerous, but Wyatt is experienced, having been at the Front since 1914. He leads his men with a strength and determination that fortifies the atmosphere within the team.
Until, that is, Second Lieutenant Daintith arrives in a Nieuport 17, and announces that he is to join 99 Squadron.
Most of the 99 find Daintith affable at first. Only one man, who knows him of old, is wary. Yet as time passes, Daintith's veneer begins to fall away - to reveal something much more sinister beneath.
Something that has a subtle, but potentially devastating, effect on the 99.
The Thundering Line presents an unflinching and visceral account of one of the bloodiest wars in history, providing a detailed, fascinating and highly accurate insight into the environments, psychology and behaviour of both British and German fighters.
Richard Townshend Bickers is the author of many successful flying novels of the Second World War. Born in India and educated at St Paul's he volunteered for the RAF on the outbreak of war and served as a regular officer until 1957. He has lived in many countries, travelled all over the world, and speaks and writes nine European and four oriental languages. He has written several radio plays and features as well as articles and short stories, and values bravery, kindness, humour, good food and good wine. This book was previously published under the pseudonym Richard Leslie.
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Used availability for Richard Townshend Bickers's The Thundering Line
June 2016 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition