It is Christmas Eve, 1957. Flying home, on leave from Germany, he is alone in the cockpit of the Vampire. Sixty-six minutes of flying time, with the descent and landing - destination Lakenheath. No problem, all routine procedures.Then, out over the North Sea, the fog begins to close in. Radio contact ceases and the compass goes haywire. Suddenly, out of the mist, appears a WorldWar II bomber. It is flying just below the Vampire, as if trying to make contact.
©1975 Frederick Forsyth (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I first heard the story by accident on CBC, driving in the FL panhandle on X-mas Eve. Read by the author it lasted around 1/2 hour (45 min?) and I thought that's all there was. Have to admit I never read the book. But i loved the story and found that short version of it on X-mas stories CD and I've listened to it count less times since. So I approached this rendition with a lot of apprehension. Now I love it as much as the first rendition I've heard! I love the additional material that missing from the short version. Narrator does an excellent and convincing job as well. Listed to it twice in the 24 hrs since purchase. I have to disclose that I'm extremely biased toward stories dealing with flying. Being a pilot myself I tend to associate into the story a lot, and imagination gets easily set off :-)
A classic Christmas ghost story, by the estimable Frederick Forsyth, shivery but touching, quietly and atmospherically read.
One of his best! He really knows how to tell a great story. Love It! His characters & suspense followed by a great ending never fail to enthrall the reader!
I can't compare this to the written version but its a great listen for any fan of non-traditional Christmas stories and Audio Books.
There really isn't any long development of the other characters...just the Narrator. But that character was well defined with human frailty and fears, augmented by an aviator's cockiness. Based upon the short but thorough development of Johnny Kavanaugh's personality and character, I would chose him...his strength of character and his nature leave the listener satisfied but unsurprised by his gallant actions.
The final scene wherein the "Truth" about the Shepherd's identity is revealed and understood by the Narrator.
Happy Christmas, Johnny Kavanaugh!
A wonderful, sweet story for Listeners who want to hear more than the normal Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th St, or It's a Wonderful Life. There isn't too much surprise, but it leaves you with a nice feeling, as it ends with a short by compelling summary of the character of John Kavanaugh, leaving the listener nodding in agreement that this story is in character for that fabled pilot. I liked it and will listen every Christmas.
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