Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Flight of Eagles by Jack Higgins

This was a very interesting experience for me. My first reaction was frustration based on how simple the book seemed. I mean, it is really just a report of things that are happening. No deeper meaning, no glimpses into the inner life of any one character. It is the kind of book anyone could have written, and yet here it was, the 28th book published by this author. But then I began to appreciate the speed with which the story was being told. You can cover a lot of ground when you’re not dealing with the inner life, and I began to respect it for the deftness it showed. It was a fairly good story, after all. I especially liked the way Higgins didn’t bother repeating anything the reader already knew. If one character had to tell another character what had happened in a previous chapter, we didn’t have to read it again. We were just told that the first character told the second character. That kept things moving pretty well. But finally I began to notice that all the characters were pretty much the same. Three different characters at three different times, when faced with being told bad news, all said, “Tell me the worst.” And they were all a little too shallow and melodramatic for my tastes. One brother giving his life to save the other and shrugging it off like one getting his haircut before the other. “One of us has to survive.” Please.

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