Reviews -Defector

5 "Jets" from Aviation Book Review

"Most aviation books I read are nonfiction books written by pilots who wanted to publish their personal experiences as a pilot. But the events that are described in this book although fiction but told in such a way that it could have happened in reality."

Max Heldring. Aviation Book Review.

5 Star Does to fast-jet combat what Frank Barnard did for Spitfire/Hurricane pilots!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Brilliantly captures what it's like to serve on an RAF fast-jet interceptor squadron during the late Cold War. As a pilot myself (albeit non-military), I found it very refreshing to read a novel by someone who has clearly spent many an hour in the cockpit of a fast jet. The flying sequences were believable and fascinating: and captured in brilliant detail just what goes into flying a jet fighter in high speed air combat: not just the 'fur balls' of close-range engagement, but also the four-ship combat air patrol, beyond visual range tactics, and even the complex geometry of ground-controlled interception and acquisition that most observers take for granted. The author even manages to make exciting simulated NATO air combat exercises where live rounds are not even firing! I also know for a fact that the Radio-Telephony procedures are authentic, because they comply with CAA standards (though obviously cannot comment on the Soviet procedures which are clearly different). The story-line itself was also quite believable, and is loosely based on an incident in 1976 when Soviet pilot Victor Belenko defected to the West via Japan in a then-revolutionary MiG 25 'Foxbat'. Other sequences are also clearly drawn from amalgamation of stories from squadron life and "what-if" and "what-would-you-have-done-if" scenarios that often arise in exercises or just discussions with other experts. My only criticism was that the ending was a bit sudden and disappointing, but I gave it 5 stars anyway for its quality. All in all: can't wait to read your other titles, Mr Gledhill!

By LJB on Amazon

5 Star. A great Cold War-era thriller, packed full of action

This is the sort of book that makes you want not to drop it until finished. A disgruntled Soviet pilot, high-ranking officer, decides to defect to the West. You will almost fly as a third crewmen in RAF Phantoms, feel the excitement in mock air combat exercises and then onto engagements with Soviet aircraft. It's gut wrenching following a damaged Phantom being flown by the pilot's fingertips as it is nursed back to a friendly air station West of the The Wall. The author, with many years of experience as a frontline navigator in Phantoms stationed in RAF Germany, brings life back to those days when World War III was just round the corner. Fully recommended!

R. D. CUNHA "Rudnei" (Porto Alegre, RS BRAZIL)

5 Star. A Great Book, hard to put down.

Having been there and done that in F-4Es both at Bitburg with the 53rd Squadron and at Ramstein with the 512th Squadron, David's book brought back memories of the dark nights and horrible weather we had to face at times. His details on the F-4 were quite good. Overall, he did a great job of weaving the participants into the story. If you like this book, try reading mine, "Pigeons to Peshawar", for more F-4 tales.

Kenneth F. Schanke, Major, USAF (Ret)

5 Star. Very Good

A good read with a fantastic twist and maybe a follow up story in the making.
Enjoyable and easy to read for those who have non military background


5 Star. Defector

Took me straight back to my time on Lightnings in the 60s. An excellent read. I couldn't put it down. 

Kenneth P Smith

Good Read

I enjoyed twists and turns of the plot and the authentic insights into the day to day lives of the cold war era Phantom crews.

David N Ayre

5 Star. Excellent perspective of life as Phantom aircrew

This book is well written, portraying the life of Phantom F-4 aircrews in Germany, as told through the fiction of a incident involving a Russian pilot defector. David tells the story while doing a great job explaining how a Phantom operates. Even more important to me, a former US Phantom pilot, he weaves in several flying scenarios, giving realistic details of air combat that brought back many memories of my time in Germany. This thriller would appeal to any fighter pilot or thrill-seeking fighter pilot wannabe. Readers of Tom Clancy or Richard Herman would also enjoy this.

Michael Beason

4 Star. Defector Review

This first time novel is well worth a read. Great story from someone who really knows the planes, environment and politics integral to the plot. Lots of technical plane bits for the real enthusiasts. Not such a cockpit buff? - you can skim read those bits and still enjoy the story. I did. If you love intriguing plots, planes and the Air Force you can't miss this.


5 Star. Cracking Story!!

Having been posted to Wildenrath during the period the story was set in I can relate to the whole story. It is a well set out plot and the flying sequences are excellent. I can see the QRA scramble as if I was there again!!

K Mclean

5 Star. Diverting read for aviation enthusiasts

This book was easily readable and the storyline kept me on the edge of my seat to the absolute end.
Highly recommended.

... the short entry was stimulating and as an ex F4 linie provoked great interest in what the flying crews got up to after we had seen them off, plus I was at Bruggen during the cold war and experienced the many exercises.


5 Star, Defector by David Gledhill

A very good book well written by a man who knows what he is writing about, one or two small mistakes but they do not detract from the storyline. all in al a jolly good read well done. 

a newsome

5 Star. The Andy McNab of the Skies

Nothing better than a novel that has been written with the writer obviously knowing a great deal about the subject. I was easily transfixed into the actual cockpit at times, finding myself immersed in every line and looking hungrily for more. Hope to see many more from this ex RAF writer.


5 Star. Excellent

Excellent.... A must read for everyone that was involved during the cold war. I would also suggest that it should be read in secondary schools as to what really happened during the cold war.

Tony Magee on

5 Star. This Guy Knows His Stuff

your book took me back to Wilders, and I loved all of it, especially C dispersal being used at the end.. more of the same please

By Argyldaft on

5 Star Five Stars

Review of the paperback version

Great book, could not put it down.

by Charles H Wiggins on