by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Blackstone Publishing Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781504757447
Date: 13 June 2017 List Price $26.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
One mission to bomb the Third Reich sends a crew far from where they want to be. The crews of bombers are superstitious. They name their planes in hopes it will help them survive bombing runs. Some ships are cursed, others seem blessed. The Fata Morgana may prove to be both.
Captain Joe Farley has flown quite a few missions. He knows that some planes seem to be cursed. After getting rid of a plane with ill luck, he has a brand new plane and a new chance. But as superstitious as the crew can be, a new member of the crew, Martin Proud Horse, is a potential problem. He is the lone survivor of a ghost ship landing. The rest of the crew have been together for a while and are tight in a way only those who have been through the fire can be. They have a range of backgrounds and personalities. Their abilities will be tested on their next mission.
The mission starts as a typical bombing run over Germany. Even the run goes pretty much typically. On the way back, a portal sucks the plane and crew into a new place. The world they fly to is very different from the one they left. When they land they find people struggling to survive a never-ending war and the living avatar of their bomber. What they learn will affect them for the rest of their lives whether here or back in the 40's.
This is a stand-alone novel. There is no history which is a barrier to entry for new readers. The setting is WWII and the characters have the attitudes of those from that time period. The men are forged by the things they have done and experienced. The actions and choices they make affect them in the ways tough choices face soldiers, sailors, and airmen throughout history.
I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting when I picked up this novel. There was the potential of an alternate earth along the lines of Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series or a time travel novel. I was open to either and I wasn't disappointed in the results. The authors dealt with the time travel paradox deftly.
The first part of the novel reads like historical fiction. The military action seemed accurate and intense. After entering the portal, the science fiction begins. This is a good mashup. The tech is advanced, but not so far ahead that it is magic. The people in the future are used to living within strict limits, but they have lost the innovative spirit. The crew of the Fata Morgana has that spirit and their influence will improve the survivorís lives. Time is a fluid thing, but time spent reading Fata Morgana isn't wasted.