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Ascent

by Jed Mercurio

Orphaned at the end of World War Two Yefgenii Yeremin grows into a man determined to be the best and you will soon find yourself willing him on. He becomes a fighter ace in the Korean War and is then trained as an astronaut. A mixture of fact and fiction, Ascent is packed with vivid descriptions of fighting and flying and it builds to a conclusion which will stay in your mind long after you have closed the book. Page-turner might have been invented to describe this novel, I read it in two sittings.

Extract

The stick was quaking but the needles held still on their marks as he sucked in short breaths and strained out long ones. Greyness encroached on the rim of his vision and he had to quicken his respiration. He was going at thirty a minute and was beginning to feel light-headed. Then the Sabre swam into his gunsight. He'd out-turned it. His finger hammered the trigger and in seconds the American was smoking.

Parallels

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
Moondust by Andrew Smith
Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins
 

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