Posted by Alex Jordan on
Old books are like old friends... you have to visit them from time to time. So, this weekend I tore through Ken Follett's Hornet Flight for the third or fourth time. I love the book and never grow tired of it, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it makes Denmark sound amazing, like an entire country that feels like Cape Cod and southern New England. For another, it takes the World War II spy genre - run into the ground time and again by various writers, Mr. Follett among them - and revitalizes it by moving the action to the oft-ignored issue of Denmark's occupation.
I also love the characters in the novel, especially the villain, Peter Flemming, a cop that is incapable of distinguishing between merely doing his duty - enforcing the law, obeying the Germans - and when that sense of duty bleeds into his more petty and vicious urges. I also greatly admire the main character, Harald, whose fits of youthful rebellion against Flemming, his father, the Germans, and other various obstacles reminds me that I'm starting to get old(er). Harald's angry flailing against his persecutors makes me kind of miss the teenage tendency to freak the hell out and conjure all sorts of misguided rage and revenge against slights both real and imagined. It's kind of sad, really... I can't remember the last time I felt passionately about something small and stupid that really pissed me off and made me swear vengeance. I'm turning dangerously milquetoast in my mid-20's... does anyone want to start a blood feud with me? Please?
With Hornet Flight down, I have a strong urge to read through Follett's older works. I greatly enjoyed Jackdaws, Whiteout, and World Without End, but I've got The Key to Rebecca sitting here. I dropped it the last time I tried reading it, but my renewed urge to read Follett's stuff should be motivation enough to pick it back up.