Thomson rushed off to the huge plate glass windows on the promenade deck and stared out into the shadows of the shed.
“Do forgive me, Irwin. I was lost in thought. I look forward to returning in this airship to the land of my birth."
"India, sir? That’ll be very nice.”
“It’s fate, Irwin. Do you believe in fate?”
“I suppose I do.”
“Yes, our fate is written,” Thomson said.
“I’m sure you’re right about that, sir.”
Thomson grabbed Irwin’s hand and clasped it warmly in two hands.
"This ship will be the making of us, Captain Irwin. All of us!"
Praise for The Airshipmen
The Airshipmen is a riveting story that plays out against the background of one of the most intriguing chapters in aviation history. David Dennington weaves a fascinating web of romance, courage, tragedy and shattered dreams and gives the reader a front row seat to eye-opening, high-stakes political battles on two continents. A real page-turner with the constant feeling that something new and unexpected in about to unfold.
David Wright, Daily Mirror Journalist.
The whole future of the airship program in Great Britain rests on the famous flight of Cardington R101. Will politics play too large a role? Will Charlotte be able to handle the very real stress of being married to an airshipman? Will her stalker, Jessup, triumph? Will Princess Bibesco say yes to Thomson’s proposal of marriage? Dennington brings it all to life with his meticulous research. The beautiful sketches scattered throughout the book add to the enjoyment of the story. He deftly handles a blend of fascinating real people with the characters he has created to allow us to experience likely authentic conversations that could have happened at the critical stages of airship history. This is a story written on an epic scale and a fine tribute to those who risked everything to try and make airship flying safe.
Jeffrey Keeten, Goodreads Top Book Reviewer. April 2018
I enjoyed reading this book. It is a long work, yet it flows like a television mini-series with lots of dialogue and rotating scenes between characters . The writing is understated and precise, yet one feels clearly the suspense of the unfolding tragedy as well as pockets of wry humor. The events of the airship disaster are historical. Just as the Titanic disaster has spawned many accounts colored with memories and fantasies of interpretation, the author works within the framework of the chronicled facts, but gives thoughts and motivation to the characters to show people as they are, their follies and their nobility. It is a snapshot of life in the British Isles during the late 1920’s. One should take time to read Mr. Dennington’s epilogue material even before starting the novel: there is so much there to enrich your understanding and enjoyment. Rosemary Williams, Amazon Reviewer. December 2018
An excellent book. It was a very exciting tale. Filled with adventure, love, history, intrigue and devotion! It was a wonderful story laced with history and I was so very sorry to see it end! Margaret Page, Amazon Reviewer.
This is definitely a book I'll be sharing once I've read it a couple more times. Joannie, Goodreads Reviewer.
This is a big story, layered and cinematic, one that I did not want to end. I couldn't imagine myself reading a book about airships--but it's much more than that. It's about blinding love, vaulting ambition, loyalty, greed, deception and the whole gamut of human frailty. I met a wonderful group of people that I came to love. This book is full of secrets and surprises and hard to put down. Edith Schorah, Editor, Florida.
The Airshipmen is a very human story … historical fiction based primarily in Britain in the 1920s and follows the sweeping passions and adventures of the airship industry … with main characters, Lou and Charlotte, both beautifully flawed characters. Lou is haunted by his experiences in WWI, as well as the R38 disaster, but his love for airships keeps drawing him back into this high risk game. Charlotte had witnessed the R38 disaster firsthand. She doesn’t trust airships, and longs for Lou to walk away from them … an incredibly interesting fictionalized take on an important and experimental time in air travel history … recommended for fans of history, air travel, and historical fiction with just a touch of fantasy. Portland Book Review.
Hats off, David. This is a wonderful book—humane and filled with the love of the men for their wives and families while at the same clearly attuned to the highest levels of power and the effect that the decisions made at those echelons have, not only on the course of human events on the grand scale but also on the humble lives of the men caught in the crossfire. The entries in Wikipedia concerning Thomson, MacDonald and Princess Marthe correlate absolutely with the story Dennington tells—with one exception: His chronicle takes place over hundreds of pages and renders these three historical characters in flesh and blood. Their saga is replete with concrete and exquisite details. It illuminates a fascinating period of recent history almost lost from view, and it does justice to the complexities of the personalities of the people involved. A gripping story masterfully told; one that reverberates in the reader’s mind long after it is over. Steven Bauer, Hollow Tree Publishing.
An impressively crafted multilayered novel, The Airshipmen is a fully absorbing read from beginning to end and clearly showcases author David Dennington as a gifted storyteller of the first order. A solidly entertaining novel. The Airshipmen is very highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections. Midwest Book Review.
An epic read … a sure feast for those interested in … pre-World War II aviation history. Historical Novel Society.
There have been other books about the R101 tragedy, but this is the first one ever which weaves us through the people and places we know so well. Lord Thomson’s relationship with Princess Marthe Bibesco is wonderfully interwoven. The book is beautifully written and sets the scene so well and describes events with such detail, in a Fleming-like narrative. I’d never come across a book of this caliber for our subject. I believe it to be perfectly paced with wonderfully rich characters, and research on the subject in immaculate detail. David brings colour to a black and white subject. Having discussed this with the Editor of Dirigible, we believe this is a unique book, the first of a genre, of airship “fiction” based on extremely well researched facts. Alastair Lawson, Cardington.
I love history but often find it challenging to find historical fiction that is both well researched and a good story. The Airshipmen is both. A love story wrapped around politics of the day, woven into a tale that reveals the rise and fall of the great airships of the 20th century. I'd recommend this book to anyone who would like to visit this little-known legacy. A truly gripping story. Kathryn Johnson, Author of The Gentleman Poet.
This is a marvelous book. I read it through in just a few days and was fascinated, moved and informed. The author has created a compelling and well written story weaving together fact and believable fiction.
Peter Humphris, Goodreads Reviewer.
I am a fan of author Nevil Shute and therefore knew of the R100 / R101 adventure since Shute was deeply involved with the ship constructed by the non government faction. Fascinating subject matter, and well written. It is in my opinion perhaps the closest a person will ever get to the whole story. James Reising, Goodreads Reviewer.
I am sure you have been reading a book which you just did not want to see the end come; this was such a book for me. Clifford Archer, Goodreads Reviewer.
I loved this book. It was a very interesting era in Britain and of course, airships are fascinating. I found myself looking up the events and the characters on Google all the time. Airships are fascinating.
Ruth Lee, Amazon Reviewer.
A good book is when you must read it whenever you have a spare moment ... and when you feel being in a vacuum having finished it. So was this book to me. Thanks for great research and very fine writing!
Claus, Amazon Reviewer.
Very interesting historical novel that weaves fiction and fact into an amazing story of love, ambition and politics. I found myself researching some of the historical events as I read. The characters in the story are full of life and through the tales told of them, you, the reader will feel that you are experiencing and living in their period of history. This is a long read, but well worth the time. I would love to see this story some day reach "the big screen".
Bob, Amazon Reviewer.
An AMAZING debut novel! I just finished this cleverly-written, well-researched book and really enjoyed the read. I was surprised, as it’s not the type of book I would normally choose. I got so involved with the plot and the intrigues surrounding all the characters—never boring for a second, as the plots were continually changing and the unexpected happening. It had a wonderful love story ... how you thought it was headed ... and then the final twist. I was sorry it ended, but it left me in a good place, which is what I like in a book. Cheryl R. Goodreads Reviewer.
This epic is bursting with devastating, colourful images, great humour, lush storylines, tender love stories, exciting plot twists and a plethora of factual historical information. It is both fiction and non-fiction - 'faction', perhaps!
Lauren Dennington, LCD Editing, Editor of The Airshipmen.
She stood with one patent leather, two-eyelet, polka-dotted shoe over the threshold of the Gentlemen’s Bar—an intolerable, some would say sacrilegious, act! She loped purposefully toward Hinchliffe.
“Captain Hinchliffe, my name is Elsie Mackay.” Her voice was public school, Cambridge perhaps.
Brancker climbed down from his bar stool, adjusted his monocle and slunk out of the bar. Elsie leaned in closely toward Hinchliffe and whispered. He felt her warm breath on his cheek. Her long, black eyelashes fluttered.
“I hear you want to take a shot at the Atlantic?”
The Ghost of Captain Hinchliffe
Praise for The Ghost of Captain Hinchliffe
One of the things I most enjoy about Dennington’s books is his development of female characters. They are not merely furniture or cardboard cutouts. They are women who are multi-talented and not at all compelled to be confined to a traditional role. They want to experience life on the same scale that any man would want. He has an affinity for bringing strong female characters, real or imaginary, to life. What I really like is that they are multi-talented women. They aren't just good at one thing. That is certainly why I find them so fascinating. In this novel, Millie Hinchliffe and Elsie Mackay are so vividly portrayed they still haunt me. We certainly should not to forget these women of the air who dared to challenge this new frontier. This book intersects with The Airshipmen. Some characters in one book show up in the other. Jeffrey Keeten, Goodreads Top Book Reviewer.
This book is a shorter companion story to The Airshipmen, also by David Dennington. It shares some characters and some scenes with the longer novel, although this story is more personal and less documentary. Emilie Hinchliffe, a recent widow of the “Ghost,” becomes convinced of the authenticity of her husband’s communication from beyond the grave and moves to warn the builders and the public of a coming disaster to the giant dirigibles being built in England for passenger transport. Several British political figures of the time appear in cameo as she publicizes the remarkable warnings. In the aftermath of WW1 it was quite common for surviving relatives to turn to seances and mediums to find comfort after the loss of their loves ones. There were scams, of course, but some of the encounters defied logical explanation, such as the core events of this story. I liked the gentle, understated tone of the writer as he brings the talented heroine to develop qualities of leadership and public activism through her personal tragedy. This would make a great movie! Rosemary Williams, Amazon Reviewer.
Another riveting tale from David Dennington, author of The Airshipmen. This time, he cleverly weaves together a couple’s amazing love and the temptation it faces with the drama of a transatlantic flying record attempt and a spine-tingling psychic connection from beyond the grave that becomes the only hope of preventing a horrific aviation disaster. It’s an intriguing recipe that makes it hard to put down The Ghost of Captain Hinchliffe.
David Wright, Daily Mirror Journalist, London.
I enjoyed The Airshipmen by David Dennington immensely and I was certainly not disappointed by his second most intriguing tale, The Ghost of Captain Hincliffe. A thoroughly gripping, enjoyable and very well-written follow-up and as was the case with The Airshipmen, very disappointed to have turned the last page! Great movie material. Amazon Reviewer.
A wonderfully exciting story the reader could not put down until the very end. Very interesting character development. Depicts a strong heroine who believes in her cause regardless of the consequences to her, and her family. Most enjoyable read. Goodreads Reviewer.
This is a very good read and seamlessly joins fictional characters with historical people. It covers the period after the first world war and is obviously well researched, my paternal grandparents were both from the village of Cardington which was were the English airships were built and based so I'm able to confirm that the relevant historical facts are accurate. The plot moves forward very well and I would like to see more historical fiction from this author as his treatment is so good. David Martin, Goodreads Reviewer.
Having read David's previous excellent novel, The Airshipmen, I thought I would follow up with his next novel. Like The Airshipmen, it was a good read, and David is an excellent storyteller, taking established facts, and real life situations and people, and knitting them in to his stories. The Ghost of Captain Hinchliffe is of a similar vein. The story is surrounds a character with experiences based on the Eileen Garrett R101 seances. Similar to David's previous work, The Airshipmen, it must not be forgotten that this is a work of fiction based on historical facts, which makes it a good read. I believe the genre for some aviation buffs might be a put off, but it's still a good story. David always paints the picture of the period very well, and it's easy to immerse yourself back into the 1920's with his characters and dialogue. Alastair Lawson, Amazon Reviewer, Cardington