Cross Seas Press

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MORAL FIBRE: A Bomber Pilot’s Story

By Helena P. Schrader

IR Rating:
Author Helena P. Schrader’s MORAL FIBRE: A Bomber Pilot's Story folds in all of her research effortlessly, delivering high-flying WWII action with a touching romantic tale at its core.
IR Approved
After refusing to fly because his best friend was killed in a raid on Berlin, RAF flight engineer Christopher “Kit” Moran is given the opportunity to retrain as a pilot. With his loyal crew, Moran pilots a Lancaster bomber on vital missions as WWII reaches its climax.

When RAF flight engineer Christopher “Kit” Moran refuses to fly again after an ill-fated sortie to Berlin saw his skipper and best friend, Donald Selkirk, die in action, he is designated LMF (lacking moral fibre) by his commanding officers and sent for psychological assessment. Out of guilt for the loss of his friend, Moran agrees to retrain as a bomber pilot and take to the air once more. Set in the last years of World War II, Helena P. Schrader’s MORAL FIBRE: A Bomber Pilot’s Story follows Moran’s journey through his training and onwards as he plays his part in numerous historic bombing raids.

In this meticulously researched novel, Schrader strikes the perfect balance of marrying historical fact with engaging, well-crafted fiction. The verisimilitude of the scenes set in training camps and on numerous bombing raids is backed up by extensive historical notes and a glossary provided at the end of the book. The representation of the trauma of war and the fortitude of the young men thrust into battle is compelling, but it is the more subtle emotional touches that elevate the book above much wartime fiction. By having her hero embark on a complicated love affair with Georgina, the fiancée of his deceased friend, Schrader imbues her characters with complex inner lives. They are compounded by the wartime circumstances for sure, but they’re also very real and relatable. Though (as suggested by the book’s subtitle) Moran’s story drives the plot, Georgina is a fully-rounded, sophisticated creation—no mere hero’s foil. But it is Moran’s survivor’s guilt and how he addresses it that is at the heart of the story. As one character remarks on Moran’s return to the air, “he believes he should have been killed instead of Don, and that he’s giving himself a second chance to die.”

Equally well-drawn are the supporting characters, most especially the members of Kit’s crew (including troubled navigator Adrian Peal, described as “a film-maker’s image of an RAF officer”). Something else to note is Schrader’s focus on how the war changed British society as a whole, from the attitude of those on the “Home Front” during the war to the implied ongoing repercussions of colonialism that saw much of the RAF training taking place in South Africa. (Moran himself had been born in Africa, his heritage including a Zulu grandmother.) Overall, MORAL FIBRE is quality historical fiction that showcases the thrills of combat and the emotional roller-coaster of a love affair tested by circumstance.

Author Helena P. Schrader’s MORAL FIBRE: A Bomber Pilot’s Story folds in all of her research effortlessly, delivering high-flying WWII action with a touching romantic tale at its core.

~Kent Lane for IndieReader

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