Ken Follett is an author that I always enjoy. His novels are always highly detailed glimpses into a piece of the past. They usually feature smart, kick ass women. Hornet Flight is no different. In this instance, it’s set in the early days of the Danish Resistance in World War II.
At its heart, Hornet Flight is a novel of connections. The British are suffering staggering losses in their bombing campaign against the Nazis. They can’t figure out why. The Danish have surrendered without a fight to the resentment of many of their people, but as a result the treatment of their people hasn’t been as harsh as it might otherwise have been. In both countries people are working behind the scenes to solve these problems.
Enter Harald Olufsen. A jazz loving teenager with an aptitude for fixing all manner of mechanical items, he lives on an island off the coast of Denmark. He sees something he shouldn’t after cutting across a Nazi base while taking a short cut home along the beach one night.
The plot is actually pretty straightforward – can the critical information make it safely to the British in time to be used to turn the tide of the war? It’s the myriad and labyrinthine connections I mentioned earlier between Harald and Bletchley Park that hold the story together and drive the plot forward. I’m not going to say anything further because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who might decide to pick up Hornet Flight and read it.
One of the things I love best about Follett is that he never shies away from treating people like the sexual beings they are. Here it’s acknowledging that couples driven apart by war can still love each other even as they feel attracted to someone who is nearby for the duration. It’s a testament to Follett’s writing that you feel sympathetic for all involved. Even the bad guy, to an extent.
If you like historical suspense, Hornet Flight is definitely worth your time. If you like reading about brave, clever people standing up to fight the good fight, give this a try. If you like reading about lesser known corners of World War II, this might be right up your alley.