Lucky Duke Thomas

Dear Current and Future Readers,

This is the weekly blog where I discuss key parts of the novel and characters.

Today I wanted to highlight one of the important qualities that help our main character, Duke, survive tremendous odds against him during the Sky Raider adventure, and it is mentioned in the first paragraph of Chapter 1.

Lt. Duke Thomas smiled. He was glad to be alive after another aerial battle. It was April 1917…

Sky Raider

Duke was LUCKY to be around to smile, as the British aviators (RFC) called this particular month Bloody April for a good reason. They had been tasked to support the Battle of Arras during which they suffered heavy casualties to the German Jastas in a ratio of about 4 to 1!

The British had inferior flight training that was shortened to keep squadrons staffed due to the heavy casualties. At this time, the single-gunned Allied fighters, especially the pusher style DH2s, and the Nieuports which Duke flew, were already obsolete for the most part. There were, however, some successful allied fighters such as the Sopwith Triplane and the Spad VII Biplane.

Unfortunately they were up against the mass produced Albatros D1 and D2 Biplanes, which were twin gunned, and although inferior in number, stayed over their lines. They were well led by excellent fighter pilots such as Manfred Von Richthofen, the “Red Baron”, already a high scoring ace. He had formed specialized fighter groups called Jastas that could mass, or “circus”, where needed on their side of the lines and obtain air superiority with devastating affects on the Allied aircraft. New Allied pilots often lasted only a couple flights, and the average life expectancy for a new pilot at this time was only 11 days.

This is the first time we see one of the most important qualities in Duke: LUCK, which will become increasingly important as he faces greater odds and threats against him while the adventure progresses.

Enjoy the Adventure!