During a career spanning six decades in print and broadcast journalism, military and Congressional service, corporate public relations, and aviation art, Jack D. Hunter has authored 16 acclaimed, award-winning novels. In THE ACE, an offbeat love story, he revisits the fiery arena of World War I aerial combat portrayed in THE BLUE MAX, his best-selling classic whose movie version still enjoys worldwide popularity.
The Aceby Jack D. Hunter
In The Ace, four Americans - a 20-year-old social outcast, a breezily iconoclastic Army officer, a ruthless US senator, and a guilt-ridden heiress - are inexorably drawn together in their struggles to deal with America's chaotic involvement in World War I. Their interwoven destinies lead from poverty-stricken slums through the opulence of 1917-1918 Washington, London, and Paris, and, climactically, into the Western Front's vicious aerial combat, which establishes the matrix for all air warfare to come. THE ACE is, above all, an intricate portrayal of indomitable love belabored by human frailties and the cruel pressures of war.
- Blue River Press
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- 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
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Those who have read Hunter's THE BLUE MAX will remember his eye for detail and insistence on historical accuracy. THE ACE, Hunter's last novel, is set in the same historical period: World War I. This time, the protagonist is an American hero. And the book, written by a master storyteller, is a fascinating read. Like its characters, the novel's setting ranges all over the Western World, from London to Paris to New York to the Western Front. Like the novel, the characters are believable and sympathetic. Even the "bad guy" elicits our sympathy. The main character, John King, a troubled young American of German stock with a near-genius musical talent, is reluctantly shoved into the world spotlight by his aerial combat expertise. As we watch his rise from a New York slum to his derring-do in the air, we share his loneliness and alienation. But Mary Lou Whiting, beautiful heiress to a spectacular fortune, can't quite get John King out of her mind and heart. John finds a sympathetic friend in Bill Carpenter, who manages to get his fingers in all the political maneuvering and behind-the-scenes plotting as America desperately tries to build an air force from scratch in six months. Hunter's historical accuracy makes the story believable, and it's through Carpenter that we learn what really happened in those early years of World War I. This is not just a book for aviation aficionados. Although Hunter's accurate and spell-binding descriptions of aerial combat are legendary, his portrayal of the very human characters, with all their faults and foibles, will keep you turning the pages when it's long past bedtime. An engrossing read. Highly recommended.
Jack Hunter writes a story that is full of surprises and spins and humanity that is very rare and wonderful. It's a story of life, love, ambition and airplanes that never goes where you expect it. "The Ace" is an ace. Five out of five.
In many ways, Jack Hunter's latest novel, THE ACE, might be viewed as a "bookend" to his first published novel, THE BLUE MAX. Both novels deal with World War I, more specifically, its aerial combat. THE BLUE MAX is told from Germany's point-of-view, while THE ACE comes from America¿s perspective. While THE BLUE MAX depicts a longer span of aerial dog-fighting, THE ACE is set during the time before and after America joins the Great War. The United States, its armed forces and its government are desperately trying to prepare their country for the conflict they are joining ¿ and for which their combat air forces are not yet prepared.
Hunter introduces four primary characters into this rich stew. Bill Carpenter is a cynical Army aviator who tries to hide his better instincts beneath a hard exterior and plenty of alcohol. Thaddeus Slater is a corrupt, striving congressman who has fought his way to a position of importance overseeing development of the fledgling air force programs. Mary Lou Whiting is a wealthy heiress who desperately wants to find love and meaning with someone who values her for herself and not her father¿s fortune. Last of all is John King, a. k. a. Johann König, a young German-American who becomes a combat flier, risking his sanity in doing so.
Hunter manipulates his characters with great skill and psychological insight, uncovering the deep uncertainty, loneliness, insecurity, and even madness that lurk behind their bravado, scheming, acts of kindness and bravery, and brief attempts at love. His compelling characters, vivid descriptions and intimacy with the period's history combine to produce a tale teeming with aerial warfare, political intrigue and complicated human emotions.
I heartily recommend THE ACE to anyone desiring an evening spent with a fascinating book.
In the second year of World War I, a totally unprepared United States was forced to meet the threat of Germany's powerful air fleet, and in his novel, The Ace, author Jack D. Hunter tells the story of four Americans caught up in the military, industrial, and political chaos that surrounded America's effort to build an effective air service out of virtually nothing.
The story focuses on John King, a self-effacing 20-year-old living in the slums of Lackawanna, a steel factory adjunct of Buffalo, N.Y. John¿s life changes forever when he rescues Bill Carpenter, an army pilot and rebellious free spirit, from the wreckage of a crashed ¿Jenny¿ plane. Jon and Bill instantly bond and develop a student/mentor relationship. John, encouraged by Bill, joins the army, where both he and Bill become entangled in the intrigues of greedy Congressman Thaddeus Slater, who enlists Bill to help him with his schemes to profit from the rise of the American military air fleet. Slater corners the nation's ash lumber supply and recruits Bill to convince the military to use only ash wood in the construction of its badly needed aircraft. Interwoven with this high-level and often corrupt in-fighting is John's emotional struggle as Mary Lou Whiting, heiress to one of the nation's greatest fortunes, falls in love with him.
Hunter delivers a passionate story with strong writing and intriguing subject matter. By incorporating factual historical accounts and documents of WWI in the fiction, he has foreshadowed the world we know today while offering an engaging and entertaining look at major themes, such as greed, the psychological effects of war, love and heartache, guilt, and blind ambition. As the plot unfolds, each character reveals humanities strengths and weaknesses. Through his relationship with John King, Bill Carpenter¿s growth becomes one of finding his humanity. John King¿s development involves an internal struggle with his own humanity as he faces the real human costs of war. Mary Lou¿s desire to understand John¿s pain reveals the emotional costs of war on loved ones. The emotional struggles of each character are a reminder of the painful human cost when war becomes a political and economic venture.
The technical details of WWI fighter planes and their performance in combat are well-researched and described in commanding detail. The most notable descriptions include plane types, specifications, and how they fared in the fighting that introduced the world to the concept of air power.
Hunter successfully shines a light on how America¿s WWI aviation endeavors helped shape the military industrial complex of today. The Ace is highly recommended to historical fiction fans, war buffs, and aviation enthusiasts.
Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services