Fly with the Falcon; Love. Loss. Liberty by Ed Cobleigh

Fly with the Falcon; Love. Loss. Liberty by Ed Cobleigh

Fly with the Falcon; Love. Loss. Liberty by Ed Cobleigh, connects complicated, layered stories of conflict in the sky and on the ground for three aviators. An intense love for flying comes through all the different storylines, helping to connect various experiences.

In one storyline, a young woman is ready for a promotion, but discovers a career setback she can’t fly around. Melissa Taylor is a skilled pilot who deserves a promotion to major on her own merits, but can’t get it without a reference from her superior, who promises a glowing one…but only after she provides him with sexual favors. It’s made clear that she’s not the first talented female pilot in this situation, and that he can easily destroy her flying career. This villain represents the truly awful issues of sexual coercion, and the tension here comes from Melissa’s powerlessness against this predator and against the board who work to protect his career, not hers, regardless of her talent.

Another pilot, Melissa’s friend “Frenchie” Thibodaux, is going through his own troubles as his marriage collapses. Melissa’s situation with her promotion makes Frenchie aware of the sexual predator on the base. The author introduces an unusual story of a man discovering some of the invisible traps and difficulties for the women he considered his colleagues. Frenchie wants to help, but he has to consider whether by reporting the base’s predator, he’ll be making their lives better or worse. Frenchie also considers ways he might have been oblivious to a secret system around him, in which a powerful man always happens to have beautiful secretaries working for him. There’s great character growth for Frenchie here, and it adds depth to the storyline.
Frenchie has joined the Air Force to fly, not to fight, and when he is confronted with death, he needs to consider what he really wants to do with his life. This is the moving story of a man discovering his values, even if that means upheaval. It’s impossible not to root for Frenchie, even for readers who don’t usually read military fiction.

The author vividly portrays the joy of flying throughout the book, while also depicting Melissa and Frenchie experiencing the dark side of their passion for flight. The third aviator is a beautiful peregrine falcon. These images are deeply enjoyable, both for the simple beauty and for connecting our human characters to the wider natural world. The falcon, like Melissa and Frenchie, suffers an injury and is grounded for a while, creating another connected story arc around flight and freedom.

Fly with the Falcon; Love. Loss. Liberty shows readers the fascinating, intertwined lives of three aviators, showcasing their love for flight despite challenges. Through the experiences of Melissa, Frenchie, and the peregrine falcon, the author navigates themes of compassion, responsibility, and freedom. Despite a few disjointed moments moving between different storylines, the overarching theme of flight brings the different stories together, offering readers an interesting and engaging look at life in the air.