Helena Schrader's Historical Fiction

Dr. Helena P. Schrader is the winner of more than 20 literary accolades. For a complete list of her awards see: http://helenapschrader.com

For readers tired of clichés and cartoons, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers nuanced insight to historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Characters of "Where Eagles Never Flew" - Reformed Playboy

 All my novels are character-driven and each character contributes materially to the shape and texture of the book. Over the next weeks I plan to introduce the most important characters in "Where Eagles Never Flew." 

Today I introduce the main male protagonist, Robert "Robin" Priestman

 "The others scrambled up the off wing and peered into his Hurricane. There were a lot of admiring whistles and excited comments. Priestman left the others to it and slid to the ground leaning against the trailing edge of the wing. Only once before had he been so conscious of divine protection -- after capsizing a small boat in a Force Five gale in the Solent. Then he'd been a foolish 15-year-old boy, who had over-estimated his abilities and for whom God had no doubt felt pity.  Today, with so many others dead, it was hard to understand why he should have been one of the lucky ones."


When the novel opens in May 1940, "Robin" is a Flying Officer in a Hurricane Squadron. The posthumous son of a navy officer, he has grown up in Portsmouth in straightened circumstances; his mother had no income aside from a Royal Navy pension. Fortunately for Robin, his paternal grandfather was willing to finance his education at a lesser-known public school, and his aunt paid his way through Cranwell. Rather than being humble and sober, as such a background might suggest, however, Robin has a track record of dubious escapades.

Most seriously and recently, while serving in the Far East on a torpedo bomber squadron, he challenged a pilot of the Imperial Japanese Navy to an aerobatics duel. While his main intent was to get his hands on the controls of Japan's latest fighter and test fly it, the result was the Japanese pilot killing himself -- and crashing in the RAF Wildebeest. HM's Air Ministry was not amused.

Then again, having proved he was very good at aerobatics and keenly competitive, the RAF thought maybe he would be a good addition to the RAF's aerobatics team. So for much of 1938-1939, he took part in international shows and competitions with the rest of the team. It was a heady time of international travel, dangerous flying, champagne and socialites. 

Speaking of which, Robin never had any trouble attracting women. His bigger problem is shaking them off. Very focused on his career, however, he was always determined not to let any girl get in the way. What that meant was not getting attached or involved with anyone he would have to take "seriously." He was careful to flit from one bright starlet to the next among the upper class girls, to avoid middle glass girls altogether, and have his illicit fun with girls from the lower class.

And then the war came. 

A professional with hundreds of flying hours, Robin is ready -- indeed anxious -- to do his duty. He fully comprehends the issues at stake and is determined to do all he can to stop a Nazi invasion.  In his first encounters with the Luftwaffe, he is shot up -- and shot down. He confronts his mortality, but learns very fast. Within ten days, as the casualties pile up, he becomes a flight commander and acting squadron leader. And then his luck runs out. 

Badly injured, he is taken out of Dunkirk by ship and assigned to Training Command. His job, he is told, is to help other pilots learn the skills that will enable them to survive. 

Robin is neither a good instructor (flying comes too naturally to him to be able to explain it to others) nor is he happy out of the fray with Britain's fate more at risk than ever before. He longs to get back to the front lines. And quite unexpectedly and inconveniently, he meets a woman who threatens all his principles about not getting involved with nice girls. 

 "This is the best book on the life of us fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain that I have ever seen.... I couldn't put it down."-- RAF Battle of Britain ace, Wing Commander Bob Doe.

Winner of a Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction, a Maincrest Media Award for Military Fiction and winner of "Silver" in the Global Book Awards.

Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/where-eagles-never-flew





Also by Helena P. Schrader

Riding the icy, moonlit sky,

they took the war to Hitler. 

Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent. 

Their average age was 21.

This is the story of just one bomber pilot, his crew and the woman he loved. 

It is intended as a tribute to them all.  

Buy now on amazon

or Barnes and Noble


Disfiguring injuries, class prejudice and PTSD are the focus of three heart-wrenching tales set in WWII by award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader. Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/grounded-eagles





For more information about all my books visit: https://www.helenapschrader.com



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