The Mustering of the Hawks

The Mustering of the Hawks
© 1972 John Harris/Max Hennessy
272 pagws


“When you consider that practically every aviator in the world’s been mustered together in France in a strip of territory some three hundred miles long by ten miles wide, it’s no bloody wonder that there’s a lot o’ pigeons among ’em and that there’s a pretty picking for them that are ’awks.’

Ira Penaluna has been in and around airplanes since he was in diapers; his father was an aviation pioneer.   Serving in the Royal Flying Corps was an obvious choice for him, even if he did have to lie about his age to get in.   The Mustering of the Hawks sees the quiet boy with a happy talent for shooting down Germans grow into manhood through four years of boredom, terror, and the constant death of friends,  ending his service as a respected flight leader with over forty kills to his name.   Combat fiction that moves throughout the western front, as the technological edge continues to shift between the Allies and Germany,   The Mustering of the Hawks  also has some solid characters and a lot of fun writing – especially when Ira and the boys are trying to chase women.  As with The Bright Blue Sky,   the main character is tortured in love, though  Dick Quinney had a much harder time of it on that front, I think.  There are a lot of similarities between the two novels,  but both were fun and I anticipate continuing to read this author.

Some kindle highlights:

“The aeroplanes hung stiffly above an earth that seemed to revolve slowly beneath them like an endless magic lantern film from childhood and the patrol was uneventful.”

“Why is it that the young Anglo-Saxon always goes into a decline the minute flowers are mentioned? Lad, you’re competing against the French, who know not only exactly ’ow many roses to take a young woman but also exactly what colour.”

“As they stopped by the front door, they heard a distant thudding – so faint it was almost like the beating of a heart. ‘It’s the guns in France,’ Nancy said. ‘We sometimes hear them when the wind’s in the right direction. Won’t it be wonderful when they stop?’”

“‘It’s no longer a simple thing of dim military types like us setting about each other,’ he said. ‘All heroic but a bit romantic with noble old-fashioned ideas. It’s political nowadays. Big business. Efficient killing done by numbers.”

“Worthing, the new major, wore the uniform of the R.A.F., which was rumoured to have been designed by an admiral and an actress, and he looked like something out of a musical comedy.”

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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2 Responses to The Mustering of the Hawks

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have a bunch of WW1 novels expected for the end of the year (not that I’m planning too far ahead). Not many aviation ones though…… I seem to have accumulated mostly naval epics. I’ll see if I can slip one or two in over the long summer [muses].

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