Eagle in the Sky

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EAGLE IN THE SKY [047-066-4.9]

BY WILBUR SMITH

Synopsis:

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

Rage

A Time to Die

The Ballantyne novels:

A Falcon Flies

Men of Men

The Angels Weep

The Leopard Hunts in Darkness

Also:

The Dark of the Sun

Shout at the Devil

Gold Mine

The Diamond Hunters

The Sunbird

The Eye of the Tiger

Cry Wolf

Hungry as the Sea

Wild Justice

Golden Fox

Elephant Song

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

dedicated.

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

Library

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.

Acknowledgements

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

sincerely grateful.

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

approach.

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

away abruptly.

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

winter sunshine.

Nothing, Sir.  The admission was refreshing, and Barney felt his mood

sweeten slightly.

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

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