EAGLE IN THE SKY [047-066-4.9]
BY WILBUR SMITH
With a dull but awful roar, the Mirage bloomed with dark crimson flame
and sooty black smoke, the wind ripped flames outwards in great
streamers and pennants that engulfed all around them, and David
staggered onwards in the midst of the roaring furnace that seemed to
consume the very air.
Drawn to the sky as though to his natural element, young David Morgan
spurns the boardroom future mapped out for him by his family for the
life of a jet pilot. Then he meets Debra the beautiful Israeli writer
for whom he will fight, in another country's war, at the controls of his
Mirage. Yet the breathless action which brings them together is also
the very tragedy that will threaten to tear them apart.
The novels of Wilbur Smith
The Courtney Novels:
When the Lion Feeds
The Sound of Thunder
A Sparrow Falls
The Burning Shore
Power of the Sword
A Time to Die
The Ballantyne novels:
A Falcon Flies
Men of Men
The Angels Weep
The Leopard Hunts in Darkness
The Dark of the Sun
Shout at the Devil
The Diamond Hunters
The Eye of the Tiger
Hungry as the Sea
Wilbur Smith was born in Central Africa in 1933. He was educated at
Michael-house and Rhodes University.
He became a full-time writer in 1964 after the successful publication of
When the Lion Feeds, and has since written twenty-three novels,
meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide.
He normally travels from November to February, often spending a month
skiing in Switzerland, and visiting Australia and New Zealand for sea
fishing. During his summer break, he visits environments as diverse as
Alaska and the dwindling wilderness of the African interior. He has an
abiding concern for the peoples and wildlife of his native continent, an
interest strongly reflected in his novels.
He is married to Danielle, to whom his last nineteen books have been
WILBUR SMITH A Mandarin Paperback
First published in Great Britain x974 by William Heinemann Ltd
This edition published 11992 by Mandarin Paperbacks an imprint of Reed
International Books Limited Michelin House, 8i Fulham, Road, London SW3
6RB and Auckland, Melbourne, Singapore and Toronto Reprinted 1993
(twice), 1994 (twice), 1995 (three times), i996 (three times)
Copyright C Wilbur Smith 1974
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British
ISBN 0 7493 o622 X
Photo-type-set by Intype, London
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Cox &Wyman Ltd, Reading, Berkshire
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of
trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated
without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover
other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition
including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
While writing this story I had valuable help from a number of people.
Major Dick Lord and Lieutenant Peter Cooke gave me advice on the
technique and technicalities of modern fighter combat. Dr. Robin
Sandell and Dr. David Davies provided me with the medical details. A
brother angler, the Rev. Bob Redrup, helped with the choice of the
title. To them all I am
While in Israel many of the citizens of that state gave help and
hospitality in generous measure. It grieves me
that I may not mention their names.
As always my faithful research assistant gave comfort,
encouragement and criticism when it was most needed.
This book is dedicated to her son, my stepson, Dieter Schmidt.
Three things are too wonderful for me, four I do not understand, The way
of an eagle in the sky, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a
ship on the high seas,
And the way of a man with a maiden.
Proverbs, 30, -8-2o
There was snow on the mountains of the Hottentots, Holland and the wind
came off it, whimpering like a lost animal. The instructor stood in the
doorway of his tiny office and hunched down into his flight jacket,
thrusting his fists deeply into the fleece-lined pockets. He watched the
black chauffeur-driven Cadillac coming down between the cavernous
iron-clad hangars, and he frowned sourly. For the trappings of wealth.
Barney Venter had a deeply aching gut-envy.
The Cadillac swung in and parked in a visitors slot against the hangar
wall, and a boy sprang from the rear door with boyish enthusiasm, spoke
briefly with the coloured chauffeur, then hurried towards Barney.
He moved with a lightness that was strange for an adolescent. There was
no stumbling over feet too big for his body, and he carried himself
tall. Barney's envy curdled as he watched the young princeling
He hated these pampered darlings, and it was his particular fate that he
must spend so much of his working day in their company. Only the very
rich could afford to instruct their children in the mysteries of flight.
He was reduced to this by the gradual running down of his body, the
natural attrition of time. Two years previously, at the age of
forty-five, he had failed the strict medical on which his position of
senior airline captain depended, and now he was going down the other
side of the hill, probably to end as a typical fly-burn, steering tired
and beaten-up heaps on unscheduled and shady routes for unlicensed and
unprincipled charter companies.
The knowledge made him growl at the child who stood before him. Master
Morgan, I presume?
Yes, Sir, but you may call me David. The boy offered his hand and
instinctively Barney took it, immediately wishing he had not. The hand
was slim and dry, but with a hard grip of bone and sinew.
Thank you, David. Barney was heavy on irony. And you may continue to
call me "Sir".
He knew the boy was fourteen years old, but he stood almost level with
Barney's five-foot-seven. David smiled at him and Barney was struck
almost as by a physical force by the boy's beauty. It seemed as though
each detail of his features had been wrought with infinite care by a
supreme artist. The total effect was almost unreal, theatrical. It
seemed indecent that hair should curl and glow so darkly, that skin
should be so satiny and delicately tinted, or that eyes possess such
depth and fire.
Barney became aware that he was staring at the boy, that he was falling
under the spell that the child seemed so readily to weave, and he turned
Come on. He led the way through his office with its fly-blown nude
calendars and handwritten notices carrying terse admonitions against
asking for credit, or making right-hand circuits.
What do you know about flying? he asked the boy as they passed through
the cool gloom of the hangar where gaudily coloured aircraft stood in
long rows, and out again through the wide doors into the bright mild
Nothing, Sir. The admission was refreshing, and Barney felt his mood
But you want to learn?
Oh, yes Sir! The reply was emphatic and Barney glanced at him. The
boy's eyes were so dark as to be almost black, only in the sunlight did