cover image The Aviators

The Aviators

W. E. B. Griffin. Putnam Adult, $18.95 (409pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13380-0

This seventh novel in the bestselling Brotherhood of War series is relatively short on action but rich in those insightsfor which Griffin has won acclaiminto the souls or minds of military men and their wives. It is 1963, and the deteriorating situation in Vietnam has called for the creation of an Air Assault Division, mainly composed of helicopter gunships to operate behind enemy lines. After gallant service with the division, Captain Oliver becomes aide-de-camp to General Bellmon, commander of the Army Aviation Center, in Alabama. He is thus at the hub of the military aviation program, involved in training flyers, testing equipment, investigating crashes and serving as a link between junior officers and the top brass. In the process, he has an affair with the widow of a pilot killed in a chopper accident. It's a story of subdued but steady tension, with here and there a flare of action. Griffin gives the impression that what he doesn't know about the technical side of military aviation isn't worth knowing; but he seems equally conversant with the way the American soldier thinks, feels and speaks. His popularity in this genre assures this book a wide audience. Military Book Club main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (August)