Roaring Thunder: A Novel of the Jet Age

Walter J. Boyne, Author . Forge $24.95 (304p) ISBN 0-765-30843-6

A former director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, Boyne is prolific in aerospace nonfiction (The Influence of Air Power upon History ) and fiction (Dawn Over Kitty Hawk ). Here, we get both: the main character of this enthusiast's delight, Vance Shannon, is fictional, but Boyne gives more than walk-ons to the likes of Sir Frank Whittle and Hans von Ohain, who independently and nearly simultaneously invented the jet engine. Although much of the drama centers on the race to build jet fighters during WWII, the major developments come later, and Boyne's narrative follows the story until 1954, incorporating the evolution of the B-52 bomber and the Boeing 707 commercial jet airliner. A former air force pilot, Boyne writes convincingly about flying, but those who don't know an aileron from a nacelle will be baffled by the engineering jargon. There is an obligatory love story, but it's superficial and distracts from the main action. The love story that most readers will be interested in is that with aviation and the need for speed. Boyne doesn't disappoint there. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/10/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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