‘Then suddenly it was there over the end of the runway, hanging like a great, clumsy bird over the trees, dropping towards the concrete, its landing flaps down, the props turning slowly. I scrambled to my feet and began to run. Tubby was running, too. Saeton levelled out for the touchdown and as the gap between plane and concrete lessened, the aircraft seemed to gather speed till it was rushing towards us. Than the belly hit the concrete. Pieces of metal were flung wide…’
This is the story of an enterprise begun in a hanger on a deserted airfield in Wiltshire. The three men behind it are ex-RAF flyers who though widely different in character, find themselves bound together by a common purpose. Against the background of the post-war blockade of Berlin, it tells of their desperate attempts to get their machine on to the Airlift in time…and reveals the workings of that greatest of all flying operations.
THE STTRANGE LAND
‘I was used to it now, but I could remember how I had felt when I first saw it. There were thousands of people down there; people from all over South Morocco – from the desert and the palmeries and from the inaccessible villages of the Atlas. They crowded in circles round the story-tellers and the snake charmers and the troops of dancers, or wandered hand-in-hand among the booths of doctors and barbers and letter-writers…It was a shifting pattern of colour that sent up a continuous, inhuman roar.’
For the stranger, Morocco was a last refuge. Here he hoped to build a new life for himself. But three people were waiting for him: Latham, one-time smuggler turned missionary; Kostos, a pale, undernourished man with his grubby fingers prodding into every pie; and a girl out of the stranger’s own mysterious past who waited for him at the waterfront cafe as though he was bringing life itself..