The Long Flight Home

Front Cover
Kensington Books, Jul 1, 2019 - Fiction - 304 pages
“Tense, heartwarming and life affirming, The Long Flight Home gives a fresh slant on heroism in WWII.”
—Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of In Farleigh Field, The Tuscan Child and the Royal Spyness novels

Inspired by fascinating, true, yet little-known events during World War II, The Long Flight Home is a testament to the power of courage in our darkest hours—a moving, masterfully written story of love and sacrifice.

It is September 1940—a year into the war—and as German bombs fall on Britain, fears grow of an impending invasion. Enemy fighter planes blacken the sky around the Epping Forest home of Susan Shepherd and her grandfather, Bertie. After losing her parents to influenza as a child, Susan found comfort in raising homing pigeons with Bertie. All her birds are extraordinary to Susan—loyal, intelligent, beautiful—but none more so than Duchess. Hatched from an egg that Susan incubated in a bowl under her grandfather’s desk lamp, Duchess shares a special bond with Susan and an unusual curiosity about the human world.

Thousands of miles away in Buxton, Maine, a young crop-duster pilot named Ollie Evans has decided to travel to Britain to join the Royal Air Force. His quest brings him to Epping and to the National Pigeon Service, where Susan is involved in a new, covert assignment. Codenamed Source Columba, the mission aims to air-drop hundreds of homing pigeons in German-occupied France. Many will not survive. Those that do make the journey home to England can convey crucial information on German troop movements—and help reclaim the skies from the Luftwaffe.

The friendship between Ollie and Susan deepens as the mission date draws near. When Ollie’s plane is downed behind enemy lines, both know how remote the chances of reunion must be. Yet Duchess’s devotion and her singular sense of duty will become an unexpected lifeline, relaying messages between Susan and Ollie as war rages on—and proving, at last, that hope is never truly lost.

“Based on true events, The Long Flight Home has everything I love in a novel—the sense of discovery, the epic drama of a life-or-death situation, and the soaring sense of hope gained from the depths of despair. It’s a gorgeous, impressive first novel by a hugely talented author.”
—Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

“I’ve always been fascinated by homing pigeons, and Alan Hlad makes these amazing birds and their trainers shine in The Long Flight Home—a sweeping tale full of romance and espionage, poignant sacrifice and missed chances, uncommon courage and the ongoing costs of war. A compelling debut told with conviction and great heart. “
—Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thornton37814 - www.librarything.com

Ollie, a crop duster from Maine, decides to join the Royal Air Force. His plans change when traded by an officer to a nearby Epping farm. Susan helps her grandfather raise pigeons used by the Royal ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - GrandmaCootie - www.librarything.com

Let me say right away that I unhesitatingly recommend The Long Flight Home. If you like a solid story with good, strong characters this book is for you. It’s beautifully written and will make you ... Read full review

Contents

LONDON ENGLAND
NORTH WEALD ENGLAND
EPPING ENGLAND
NORTH WEALD ENGLAND
EPPING ENGLAND
EPPING ENGLAND
EPPING ENGLAND
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2019)

Alan Hlad is a corporate executive turned writer. He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Literary Cleveland, and the Akron Writers' Group. Alan lives in Ohio with his wife and children. The Long Flight Home is his first novel. You can find him online at alanhlad.com, Facebook.com/AuthorAlanHlad and on Instagram @AlanHlad.

Bibliographic information