‘Nor the Years Condemn’ by Australian novelist Justin Sheedy draws the reader in and simply will not let go.
This story follows the war of an Australian law student who leaves school to volunteer in the RAAF as a fighter pilot. Beginning with the highs and lows of pilot training, the plot continues on to England and the early, uncertain and scary days as a new Spitfire pilot. Inexperienced pilots had no chance unless they could find a way to stay alive long enough to learn how to kill. Not an easy task, and one very well covered by Sheedy. Lucky, and not so lucky accidents and incidents take their toll, but the novel’s protagonist persists and survives, against all odds. He moves up the chain of command at a harrowing pace, eventually becoming a fighter ace and assuming command of his own squadron flying ground attack Typhoons. Action prevails, both in and out of the cockpit.
The plot and character development show a wealth of research. It is clear that Sheedy consulted with warriors who lived the actual events, and no fault in fact or concept was evident. This is not, by any means, a pretty story; rather, it shows war the way it really was: gory and nasty. In short, this book is as real as it must have been.
I cannot remember when a novel so engrossed me and forced me to read all hours of the day and night. Sleep and work may have interrupted my progress, but I made it through in 5 days, a near record for this plodding reader. I was honestly disappointed that I had to spend time to sleep before my reading could continue. This is a fine novel, and one that begs a sequel.
The cover art says it all: “First time overseas. With a unique job. Stop Hitler.”
Well done to the Allied fighter pilots, and to Justin Sheedy.
Marc H. Stevens
Author of ‘Escape, Evasion and Revenge: The True Story of a German-Jewish RAF Pilot Who Bombed Berlin and Became a POW