The story centers on Dan Roberts, a pilot who enters the Vietnam War with little idea of the actual realities of battle. As Roberts grows to understand the true nature of death and conflict, he finds himself questioning the war itself and the loyalties of his fellow sailors when he is assigned the investigation of the disappearance of a young man named Franklin. During the investigation he uncovers a series of duplicitous characters involved in drug dealings. He soon finds his life threatened by unknown forces, while he tries to overcome the dangers of war. The author contrasts Roberts' investigations with the battles he encounters as he simultaneously faces the overwhelming threat of air combat, the insidious plot of the drug ring and his own personal problems. While focusing on the interactions of the sailors with one another, the author introduces several diverse characterizations. Timothy Bryan and Bobby Thomas are two men close to Roberts but suspected of questionable motives; Peter O'Leary, a sympathetic friend, is revealed to be responsible for Franklin's death. Ultimately, Roberts must overcome multiple betrayals.
The core of The Spad Driver is the description of the complex world that the characters inhabit. The story focuses on the meaning of the Vietnam War through Roberts and the character of Major Nguyen Binh, a disillusioned North Vietnamese intelligence officer, and concludes with the President of the United States reacting to the harsh realities of war.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What an excellent recounting John Britt has provided us of the lives, fears, aspirations and loyalty of our young, brave naval aviators and of those who supported them and their aircraft during the Vietnam War. Executing ill-defined missions and following political leaders they rarely agreed with; sacrificing their lives daily for a cause they were never fully sure of; and enduring hardships and fears most of us can hardly even imagine, they did their duty because that is what their country asked them to do! I enjoyed The Spad Driver immensly and hope this is only the first of many books by John Britt as he is obviously a very talented writer with much to share with a broad spectrum of readers.
The Spad Driver is an insightful, thought provoking, look at being a Navy Pilot during the Vietnam War. John Britt's first published book is outstanding. I look forward to reading other works by him.