This is for the love of the US Navy
Paco Chierici knows planes. Lions of the Sky leaves no doubt the author lived what he is talking about. You would never think this was his first novel.
I was partial to this book when I looked into the author and his background. My daughter has enlisted with the US Navy as a corpsman. So naturally, I dove into the pages with vigor.
The characters are full of animation and individual flair. Who doesn’t love a bunch of fierce pilots, right?
I will have to say that I had to reread some areas because I am not familiar with all the ins and outs of naval speak and procedures. Additionally, sometimes it jumped too quickly from one character to another. But again, I’m slow. Take that into perspective.
It was thick to muster in the beginning of the character building because of the intellect combined with the military jargon. But, Chierici sets the reader up with background and details so you can feel like you are picking it up from field experience. It just takes a moment to gain ground.
Lions of the Sky is full of action and intrigue. Plus, some good old fashioned fun. It will not disappoint.
Twists, turns, and a dark side which keeps you on edge. When you reach the end, you will want it to go on into a long time series.
Unique to other novels, Chierici adds a strong feminine character, Silvers, which upsets the apple cart. I like that. She isn’t an easy candidate. Like many fish out of water, she is cautious in her trust.
Paco Chierici captures her spirit. She doesn’t always get along, but she has a cool edge. She and Dusty, a female colleague, really have to prove themselves.
It’s a competitive group. I can relate.
Silvers isn’t the main character.
Although it revolves around Sam Richardson who is a veteran, it feels like a group hug. There are several characters with great parts to the story: various personalities and all Type A.
Richardson has to take on the entire class. It is a chore with all the power struggles. He can handle it. What would aviators be without an ego and a drive to prove themselves on top.
The pressure to produce top notch pilots seems to be old hat to him. It is the other things that make Sam Richardson a complex protagonist.
You need to really get to know him which unfolds along the way. Or do we? You will have to read to find out what I mean.
Richardson has an outstanding reputation; it stands for itself.
Progressing along his naval career, he has transitioned into training those to carry on after he retires some day. As the class instructor, he takes on all the mish-mash of hierarchy building within the aviators. The climb to excell sometimes flows like butter and other times appears as a clash of the Titans.
Slammer and Quick remind me of some rookies I used to work with and kept me entertained.
New to me was the dialogue in flight, cockpit convos, and drama in the air. It felt like it was genuine, emotional, and captivating which is reflected from Chierici’s naval career and flying prowess.
Enjoy the ride.
We always want good to prevail over evil. It really sticks in our craw if the darkness comes from the inside of the circle. Even if it penetrates the circle from the outside, it hits us in the guts. You might find something like that in Lions of the Sky.
I have to give you an example of how well Chierici sets up the reader to be there in each scene. For instance, this is a piece from the beach toward a climax. I felt sand in my shoes.
Chierici writes, “The General [Yongsheng] was shaking his shiny black boots, trying in vain, no doubt, to preserve them from the dirty sand on the remote island a stone’s throw from mainland China. The breeze from the spinning helicopter thirty meters behind barely ruffled his slicked black hair.”
I mean, can’t you just picture the stoic General with a pompous attitude and no patience? I imagined him having an underling shine his boots after getting them dirty.
I can’t give away the voyage, or the landing. But, I can tell you it is an exciting read with a contemporary flavor. Military pilots, camaraderie, suspense, thrills. If you thrive for anything action packed, this is for you. If you loved Top Gun, pick this up. It’s a blast.
You can get yours on Amazon.com: Lions of the Sky
About the author
From his bio: Francesco “Paco” Chierici is the author of Lions of the Sky. During his active duty career in the US Navy, Chierici flew A-6E Intruders and F-14A Tomcats, deployed to conflict zones from Somalia to Iraq and was stationed aboard carriers including the USS Ranger, Nimitz and Kitty Hawk. Unable to give up dogfighting, he flew the F-5 Tiger II for a further ten years as a Bandit concurrent with his employment as a commercial pilot. Throughout his military career, Paco accumulated nearly 3,000 tactical hours, 400 carrier landings, a Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star, and three Strike/Flight Air Medals. Chierici’s writing has appeared in Aviation Classics magazine, AOPA magazine, and Fighter Sweep. He also created and produced the award-winning naval aviation documentary, Speed and Angels. Currently a 737 captain, Chierici can often be found in the skies above California flying a Yak-50 with a group of likeminded G-hounds to get his dogfighting fix. He lives in Northern California with his wife Hillary, and two children.