cover image Red Burning Sky

Red Burning Sky

Tom Young. Kensington, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3294-1

Operation Halyard, a real-life secret mission to rescue Allied airmen stranded in war-torn Yugoslavia in 1944, forms the backdrop for this engrossing military thriller from Young (Silver Wings, Iron Cross). After Bill Bogdonavich is shot down over German-occupied Yugoslavia, he’s rescued by Serbian civilians. Bogdonavich, whose father emigrated to America from Yugoslavia, is soon acting as an interpreter between Chetnik guerrillas and the hundreds of pilots and air crew being hidden from the German forces. Meanwhile in Texas, Lt. Drew Carlton, a U.S. Army Air Force pilot whose conduct in aerial combat left him labeled a coward, welcomes the chance to redeem himself by taking part in Operation Halyard. The suspense builds as Bogdonavich leads an effort to construct an airfield and Carlton, now stationed in Italy, prepares to fly a cargo plane to pick up downed airmen. Along the way to the satisfying ending, Young touches on such matters as the civil war pitting Chetniks against Tito’s partisans and the loyalties of Italians only recently turned to the Allied side. Readers will be moved to seek out nonfiction accounts about this bold, little-known operation. Agent: Michael V. Carlisle, InkWell Management. (Feb.)