Through the heartless machinations of fate, an American Air Force bomber pilot and German U-boat commander in the waning days of World War II end up on the ground — in enemy territory for both of them, no longer predators, but prey.

When they meet, they realize they can no longer be enemies if they are to survive. They have to join forces. Together, they’re going to have to hide from civilians and soldiers alike.

Silver Wings, Iron Cross (Kensington), a novel by Tom Young, tells the story of the unthinkable alliance between U.S. bomber pilot Karl Hagan and the German soldier Wilhelm Albrecht. 

A TEST OF TWO SOLDIERS’ LOYALTY

It’s the last weeks of World War II, and the zeal that fueled both men’s patriotism is being severely tested.

Karl has been ordered on a mission that will require him to bomb the German city of Bremen where his parents were born and where he still has relatives. Can he fly this mission?

Wilhelm and his crew, painfully aware of the direction the war is headed, have still been carrying out their orders for the Fatherland with precision and courage — until Albrecht is commanded to take his crew on a suicide mission. 

The two men couldn’t be further apart from each other at the beginning of the book — one man in the ice-blue sky above the clouds and the other plunging into the black water under the surface of the sea. Yet, the two are both commanders of their ships and their men, both honorable and highly trained military personnel. 

When they find themselves in a unique bind, Karl’s goal is simple: find some Allied forces. Wilhelm’s is more complicated, but his will to survive is the same.

AN UNLIKELY AND UNEASY ALLIANCE

The cultural differences between the American and the young German officer create an uneasy truce, sometimes almost deadly, sometimes downright funny. Luckily, both men are bilingual, but Karl’s accent is suspect; and when Wilhelm is forced to hide in plain sight, his habit of avoiding contractions could give him away. 

Each of the men has brought his own brand of military training to the mess they’re in, and soon they acknowledge their mutual need for each other — a need that grows from practical to psychological to a bond neither of them will ever forget. 

Silver Wings, Iron Cross is richly layered and falls into more than one genre. Clearly, it’s a historical novel, a WWII story from an unexpected angle. It’s a military procedural, with realistic and detailed depictions of flying a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber and the operations onboard a German U-boat. It’s a story of an unlikely friendship, a study of cultural differences and a psychological drama about fear, duty and self-doubt.  

Militarily accurate and historically correct, Silver Wings, Iron Cross exposes the chilling reality of war as well as the surprising and healing kindness of mankind.

For more about Tom Young, visit his BookTrib author profile page.

About Tom Young:

Tom Young served in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Air National Guard. In all, Young logged nearly 5,000 hours as a flight engineer on the C-5 Galaxy and the C-130 Hercules while flying to almost forty countries. Military honors include the Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, three Aerial Achievement Medals and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.

In civilian life he spent ten years as a writer and editor with the broadcast division of the Associated Press, and currently works as an airline pilot based at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. Young holds a B.A. and M.A. in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

He is a member of the National Press Club, the Air Force Association, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Young serves as a vice commander of American Legion Post 20 in Washington, DC.