To date, David Bruce has completed five aviation novels, which are available on Kindle and in paparback:

"Finishing School", the title refers to the Lancaster Finishing Schools that were set up in WWII to complete the training of those bomber crews which had been selected to fly the AVRO Lancaster. This novel is set in the month of March 1944 and follows the life of Flight Lieutenant Hugh MacKay, a veteran bomber pilot, who has been given the job of taking a sprog crew through their final training on the Lancaster and on to their first operation.

"Falcon", this novel is the next in the series to feature Flight Lieutenant Hugh MacKay and his crew and follows them as they are assigned to a special project to test a glide bomb. Before long, the need for the 'Falcon' becomes urgent as a German warship looks like leaving its Norwegian base and threatening the Arctic convoys.

"Night of the Whirlwind", as its title suggests, features the Westland Whirlwind fighter, which carved a unique reputation for itself between 1940 and 1943. It is believed that this is the first novel ever to base its story around this remarkable aircraft.

"Prototype" and "Assassin" comprise the Prototype series, which features a neglected area within WWII aviation fiction; that of the prototype fighter. See The Wren Prototypes.

The reviews for each novel are copied from those that have been posted on the Amazon websites and others.


Finishing School

Finishing School by David Bruce

Format: 6 x 9 Inches. 394 Pages

It is March 1944, and while Bomber Command's campaign of attrition bombing against Germany is at its bloody height, Flight Lieutenant Hugh MacKay is allowed to return to operations after a long interval, having sustained serious injuries in a horrific crash the previous year. His first task; to take command of a sprog crew who have just lost their pilot and to guide these young men through their final stage of training at Lancaster Finishing School. His next task; to bring them through their first operation alive - or perish in the attempt.

MacKay, for whom nothing but the operational life now exists, has an outlook as bleak as the war-torn skies over Germany, but the sudden arrival of a woman in his life challenges his simple assumptions. Will fate be the final arbiter as he leads his crew on their first main force operation - the RAF's 'Big Chop' night - the disastrous raid on Nuremberg?

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Reviews of Finishing School

What the publishing industry thought...

"...fascinating and a wonderful tribute to Bomber Command."

"...this is stirring stuff: beautifully paced, evocative, even witty, with unusually appealing characters and some absolutely rip-snorting action sequences..."

"...the author's obviously deep knowledge and understanding of the subject matter shines through, and in particular the scenes that take place on the planes are very well described and gripping..."

"...the author really captures what it must have been like to have flown bombers during the war..."

"...brilliant technical detail..."

"...has got a great style..."

Kindle reviews:

A polished finish

A war story writ large, and from an unusual viewpoint. David Bruce has concocted a comprehensive and thoroughly-researched tale of everyday war time aircrew, in the often-overlooked setting of the final stages of training.

By the time you've finished this novel, your technical knowledge of Lancaster bombers and how to fly them will be at a new level. More for the enthusiast than the romanticism, perhaps, but even as something of an amateur historian of Bomber Command, I learnt a lot.

Bruce's closing section is a harrowing account of the ill-fated raid to Nuremburg on 30th/31st March 1944. No matter how much I might like to identify with the hero of this tale, I'm really glad I wasn't there.

Well done, Mr. Bruce.


Detailed and interesting throughout

A very knowledgeable account with lots of detail, but it was always an interesting read and it has encouraged me to purchase 'Falcon' by the same author, which I have only just done. The characters are well drawn and it was easy to imagine what life was like during the bomber offensive of WWII.


Excellent novel about operating and flying the Lancaster bomber

I am a keen reader of all of David Bruce's aviation novels, including "The Night of the Whirlwind" (featuring my favourite RAF single-seat, twin-engined fighter !), "Prototype", "Assassin" and now "Finishing School".

The term "Finishing School" refers to "Lancaster Finishing School" which were wartime operational training units responsible for taking novice aircrew and blending them into an efficient team, versed in operating the Avro Lancaster bomber in order to survive the night raids over Germany. The predatory Luftwaffe Jagdflieger operating heavily armed nightfighters, were frighteningly effective, making bomber operations an extremely hazardous undertaking. One sombering background fact is that Bomber Command sustained over 55,000 aircrew fatalities (out of 125,000 aircrew) - a staggering 44.4% loss rate ! (source: Wiki).

This "novel" reads more like a documentary of Lancaster flight operations with a wealth of operational detail and processes that I have never encountered even in factual aviation biographies. As a keen military aviation enthusiast, I am well familiar with a range of technical terms like H2S, Gee, Monica - but was caught out on others like Fishpond, API, GPI and MDPI. And who knew that "Wanganui" and "Parramatta" (a city close to where I live in Sydney, Australia) were codenames for different types of Target Indicator markers dropped by the Pathfinder force?

For me, the interaction between the aircrew and a budding romance between the veteran pilot protagonist and a sweet RAF photo interpreter (though enjoyable!) take a backseat to the painstaking exposition of the Lancaster flight operations and planning.

A must read for fans of the "Lanc" and aviation enthusiast alike.

C Wong


Format: 6 x 9 Inches. 305 Pages

The second book in the "MacKay series"

May 1944; when Commander Ian Fleming of Naval Intelligance receives word from the Norwegian resistance that a German auxiliary cruiser has arrived in a northern fjord, he knows that this potential fleet-in-being could mean big trouble for the Arctic convoys. An answer may lie in a complex new weapon, if only he can contrive the necessary political support. It is a challenge that the maverick officer cannot resist...

When Flight Lieutenant Hugh MacKay and his crew are posted to RAF Banff, the pressure is on him and the others in the project to get the Falcon in a state of readiness for Operation "Sacred Bitch" as quickly as possible. However, the testing proves far from easy and has not proceeded far before the threat from the cruiser becomes real.

Falcon by David Bruce
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"Falcon" takes the reader from Naval Intelligence and the corridors of power to the remoteness of northern Scotland and on to an enemy that lurks inside the Arctic Circle. It immerses the reader in the life of a project team that has been set to work on the urgent task of testing a new weapon, and describes the ways in which mid-1940s technology might have been employed in a radical way to shorten the war. The short description would be - a WWII techno-thriller...


Kindle reviews:

A really good follow up to the first book

I really rate the mix of technical detail, allied to an evocative portrayal of the life of a bomber crew. The writing is very impressive, and I look forward to another book in this series.


Night Of The Whirlwind

Night of the Whirlwind by David Bruce

Format: 6 x 9 Inches. 382 Pages

June, 1943. Immense German and Russian armies face each other across the fortifications of the Kursk salient. Whoever wins the impending battle will win the war in the east; and the smallest factor could be the one that turns the tide.

For the Prime Minister, that small factor could be a German Panzer general visiting France; if he can be eliminated then the Russians might stand a better chance of winning. But removing a high-ranking enemy officer in too obvious a manner could compromise ULTRA, the highly secret code-breaking operation that revealed the officer's location in the first place. Churchill has first to convince MI6 that the result will be worth the risk.

With the outcome of a war hanging in the balance, what better plan than to give the mission to a handful of intruder pilots flying near obsolete aircraft?

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Reviews of Night of the Whirlwind

"Excellent. A good read, rich in characters and historically very authentic. The pace is sustained throughout and the ending is not a cliche."

"We have been waiting for a novel about the Whirlwind for sixty years, and here it is. And at last, a WWII aviation story that actually has a decent amount of flying in it! So realistic that you think you are actually sitting in the briefing room with the pilots, and in the aircraft looking over their shoulders as they carry out a week of intensive operations. Really enjoyable and with a truly exciting climax."

Kindle reviews:

Night of the Whirlwind

I have long been a fan of the Westland Whirlwind and found this book through the 'Whirlwind Fighter Project' website (well worth a visit if you're reading this and are also interested in the 'Crikey') and purchased a copy on my Kindle Touch immediately. I must say it is one of the best books I have ever bought. The incredible research that has had to have been done for this book really adds to it's authenticity and it's a real credit to the author. When the pilots get in their cockpits and go through their pre-flight checks you really do feel as though you are stood on the wing root watching them and can smell the high octane and feel the vibrations of the Peregrines as they burst into life!

Buy this book/Kindle edition you won't regret it, it's a compelling read. It's one of those books where you feel sad when you finish it that you're no longer 'part of the Squadron'!

I can't recommend this enough to you.


Terrific read

With enough detail to satisfy aviation enthusiasts plus characters who behave in a believable fashion, this is a superior novel. Well-worth reading and real page-turner. I found I was gripped by the plot and was keen to keep reading in order to find out if the pilots' secret mission would succeed. Staggeringly well-researched, I could almost taste the Woolton Pie and Brown Ale being served in the Officers' Mess. Highly recommended.

Charles E. Sheperd


Format: 6 x 9 Inches. 327 Pages

March, 1942. While British forces everywhere in the world are on the retreat, John Wren is completing the construction of the fastest and most powerful fighter prototype in existence. But the Ministry of Aircraft Production seems unimpressed and cancels the contract. Wren takes his case to the only man in the country who has the power to save his aircraft. Wren wins a reprieve - but at a price...

Churchill realises that Wren's aircraft could be turned into the long-range bomber escort he has been looking for to support the joint RAF/USAAF bomber offensive that is to be a vital part of his 'Germany first' policy. But as Wren throws himself into the task the challenges grow. His test pilot brother is injured; high-level opposition emerges mysteriously; and the test pilot seconded from the RAF seems bent on self-destruction. Technical and personal crises abound as Wren strives to push his machine through a gruelling testing schedule; and towards a vital demonstration. With officialdom and fate dealing him blows at every turn, will Wren ever see his fighter engage the enemy?

Prototype by David Bruce
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Reviews of Prototype (first and second editions)

"This was a cut above most war-novels. It's rich in technical detail and descriptions of aerial combat but also has characters with depth who do not behave in cliche-ridden ways. As someone who has studied the development of fighter aircraft , I can vouch that the author has a strong knowledge of technical detail and his research is clearly thorough. There is also a sub-plot involving the private lives of some of the characters and this was refreshingly free of cliche or sleaze (which often mars war-novels that try to include a love-story). I wondered how the writer could finish the novel without having to justify completely re-writing all history since 1942. He succeeds in a very clever way that is consistent with the motivation of the main characters."

"Reading this book was like watching a black-and-white movie and I expected David Niven to walk on at any moment. The credibility of the story of the creation of the prototype and the realism of the flying episodes makes the Wren Type Six come alive. A really enjoyable aviation yarn."

"An excellent read, the author has managed to capture the feeling of the period brilliantly, this special insight enables the reader to re-live the struggles of both the pilots and Wren (senior) who develops an intriguing relationship with Winston Churchill. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it for the detail of flying if nothing else; I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the author is a qualified pilot......"

"The story begins with the reader being introduced to the Wren Aircraft Company's new test pilot and follows this complex character through a series of personal and professional struggles in his battle to get an new,untried fighter aircraft into production and into the skies to face the German Air Force. The author has managed to avoid many of the usual war-story cliches and delivers a briskly paced and very involving read with a superb climax, which teasingly leaves the door open for a possible sequel. Overall-highly recommended."


Assassin by David Bruce  

Format: 6 x 9 Inches. 409 Pages

The sequel to "Prototype"

December, 1942. The air war is intensifying, but Britain has yet to get a firm grasp of the technology that could make all the difference - the jet-engine. In a huge gamble, the Prime Minister gives a small aircraft company a challenge; a new jet fighter prototype within a year - or bust.

Against all odds, the Wren Aeroplane Company succeeds. But the prototype has a serious flaw and is threatened with relegation to experimental work. The solution? - banish it to northern Scotland for intensive operational testing while the politics are sorted out.

For test pilot Peter Wren, veteran of the Great War and the Spanish Civil War, the task of leading a team of crack Mosquito crews and a pair of Jive-crazy Mustang pilots, all combat-hardened, would be tough enough without having to cope with their personal problems; and his own growing feelings for the widow of an American fighter pilot.

Sample Read

But the testing proves the combat worthiness of the fighter in ways that were never anticipated; and when a deadly threat to the USAAF bombing campaign emerges, the "Assassin" is ready...


Reviews of Assassin

"This book could have been sub-titled ' The Sound Barrier meets Memphis Belle'. It makes you think that if the British government had got its act together on jet powered fighters earlier in the war an aircraft such as the Assassin could have existed. A dynamic story which builds up to a really exciting and action filled climax. Highly realistic and very enjoyable."

"The story of a company who build a jet fighter during WW2 and take it into combat over Europe. A lot of different levels can be seen in this exciting thriller: a mystery story, the human story of a team of pilots and those who are affected by their actions plus scintillating descriptions of aerial warfare. Far from being dry and technical, the human cost of warfare is prominent. To the author's considerable credit, the romantic side of the story is not clichéd and the main characters are well-developed by the author. A terrific alternative history. "

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