During World War II, there were many efforts that flew under the radar. The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad hones in on one of those efforts. From 1939-1945, the National Pigeon Service, which provided birds to the Royal Air Force and the Army and Intelligence Services, deployed 16,554 war pigeons throughout Europe. The pigeons were used to send encrypted messages—a service that was incredibly important to the information sharing of the Allies.
Alan Hlad's debut fiction novel follows Susan Shepherd, a woman who raises homing pigeons in Epping, Britain with her grandfather Bertie. Susan shares a special bond with Duchess, a pigeon she hatched from an egg. Her story intertwines with that of Ollie, a crop duster from Maine who joins the British Royal Air Force. Ollie is sent to Epping for a covert mission with the National Pigeon Service, a mission Susan is involved with, and the pair form a deep friendship. The mission is supposed to drop hundreds of pigeons in German-occupied France, but when Ollie's plane goes down, Duchess may be their only hope.
Together with Kensington Books, Early Bird Books is giving away 20 copies of The Long Flight Home. Enter for your chance to win now!
By submitting your email address you agree to receive emails from Kensington Books and Early Bird Books.
About the Book
The Long Flight Home
Inspired by fascinating, true, yet little-known events during World War II, The Long Flight Home is a testament to the power of courage in our darkest hours—a moving, masterfully written story of love and sacrifice.
It is September 1940—a year into the war—and as German bombs fall on Britain, fears grow of an impending invasion. Enemy fighter planes blacken the sky around the Epping Forest home of Susan Shepherd and her grandfather, Bertie. After losing her parents to influenza as a child, Susan found comfort in raising homing pigeons with Bertie. All her birds are extraordinary to Susan—loyal, intelligent, beautiful—but none more so than Duchess. Hatched from an egg that Susan incubated in a bowl under her grandfather’s desk lamp, Duchess shares a special bond with Susan and an unusual curiosity about the human world.
Thousands of miles away in Buxton, Maine, a young crop-duster pilot named Ollie Evans has decided to travel to Britain to join the Royal Air Force. His quest brings him to Epping and to the National Pigeon Service, where Susan is involved in a new, covert assignment. Codenamed Source Columba, the mission aims to air-drop hundreds of homing pigeons in German-occupied France. Many will not survive. Those that do make the journey home to England can convey crucial information on German troop movements—and help reclaim the skies from the Luftwaffe.
The friendship between Ollie and Susan deepens as the mission date draws near. When Ollie’s plane is downed behind enemy lines, both know how remote the chances of reunion must be. Yet Duchess’s devotion and her singular sense of duty will become an unexpected lifeline, relaying messages between Susan and Ollie as war rages on—and proving, at last, that hope is never truly lost.
For full details, see official rules.
Note: The sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington, DC who are 18 years of age and older by April 29, 2019.