Leo Burke learned to fly when he was young, joined the Army Air Corps while young, and witnessed the horrors of air combat as a young man. The 1937 air war over China made a hero out of him, but it almost cost him his life. Three years later, Lee runs afoul with mafia boss Victor “Black Hat” Scarletti and crooked FBI agent Arlen Tate. His only recourse to escape death or prison is to return to the country where he'd been grievously injured fighting the Japanese. Claire Lee Chennault, US Army Air Corps legend and mentor to Lee, offers Lee a job to train Chinese pilots and get them ready to face the Japanese aerial juggernaut that stands unapposed in China.
But Mafia hitmen and Arlen Tate are not the only advesaries Lee must overcome in order to reach China. A special branch of the Japanese secret military police, the Kempei-Tai, commanded by Lee's arch nemessis over China, Akido Nakajumo, are hot on his trail. The Kempei-Tai pursue Lee, his long time friend Jack Krackar, WW1 ace and aviation pioneer Mace Lannear, and martial arts master Kun Bu Kai, from San Francisco to Hawaii and beyond.
Once in China, Lee finds that neither the twenty pilots or an abundant amount of aircraft with which to train pilots awaits him. A tiny group, held together by Kun's son, Fai, is all that is left of the pilots picked by Chennault. The rest had been swayed to join the private air force of a local warlord, Zhang, a paid informant of the Japanese. The resulting clash inexorably draws Lee back into the conflict he was trying to avoid. He will face his greatest challenge both in the air over China as well as on the ground.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael Shinavier