Breaking Point: A Novel of the Battle of Britain
by John Rhodes
Suncoast Publishing

"Dense smoke shrouded every scene. Everyone was ashen faced and coughing. Park groaned at each fresh sight of the destruction he had failed to prevent."

The Battle of Britain was a turning point for World War II and indeed for the entirety of world history. In England’s fabled finest hour, a stand against all the odds prevents Hitler from completing his westward march across Europe. Two figures factor into this historic moment, tied by a university friendship and separated by the horrors of war. In the skies, Johnnie Shaux is one of the RAF’s hotshot pilots, risking his life in mission after mission as he engages the Luftwaffe high above his homeland. On the ground, Eleanor Rand is a mathematician and staff officer in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force who starts to see patterns in the combat that lead to strategy but struggles to be taken seriously because of her gender. While the undertaking is momentous, the efforts of these two solitary people will contribute to the making of history.

Based on the historical accuracy of the Battle of Britain but with fictional elements, the narrative's focus alternates between the two protagonists, Shaux and Eleanor. Prominent figures factor in primarily to Eleanor’s story, and the details of the fighting are true to records. The use of the two fictional leads allows for a strong balance of militaristic action and workplace tension and drama. Those who are new to learning about the air combat of the Second World War can consult the appendices at the end of the book, which offer detailed information about the various planes, figures, and speeches that so prominently define this era of history. A good story in its own right, the historical power and significance of this book’s backdrop lead to a read that is fast-paced, dangerous, and addictive.

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