Review of ‘A Great Disservice’, by Pat Cunningham

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by Pat Cunningham
Published by Pecsaeton Publishing
(ISBN 978-0-9556325-5-6 (2009)

This is the fourth and final book of the Magnificent Diversion series, a fictional saga set against fact-based aviation during the First World War. Author Pat Cunningham DFM flew for 40 years with the RAF and with British Midland Airways, since which time his career as air historian cum novelist has truly taken off in its own right.

With its tragedies and romances, peopled by heroes and victims both on and off duty, the saga brings together the flying career and rocky love life, or rather lives, of Paul Cowley (check out the initials). In an age of great bravery and high mortality risk, Cowley would have been one of many airmen to adopt a 'love for the moment' philosophy, and why not? Except that in retrospect, and with the end of the war perhaps in sight, he has cause for regrets ... and a very personal complication.

Fresh professional challenges have been gathering pace since the flying services were amalgamated to become the RAF. When Cowley is ordered to take the new monster Super Handley V/1500 on a mission, it boosts his unlikely personal belief that one day, large long-range aircraft would be circling the world for pleasure. In 1919, however, such a massive machine had only one purpose and a darker thread running through the story draws Cowley - and the magnificent machine of his dreams - to the staggering truth behind the Great Disservice of the title. Each book in The Magnificent Diversion is a complete volume in its own right. For an author given high praise for historical accuracy in the field of aviation, he certainly takes the chocks away when our romantic hero is off duty too. Overall, a plot par excellence.

Review by Julie Bunting

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