David Tinkler has not made up his mind whether this is a serious story about what would have happened in Britain if the Nazis had invaded successfully in 1940, or whether it is meant to be a funny adventure story with a bit of everything thrown in. On neither does he succeed.
Flint’s father has been executed for trying to assassinate Hitler and his mother taken away he knows not where. At 12 he finds himself on a farm hiding away from the Germans who have put Edward VIII on the throne as a puppet king with Wallis Simpson as his Queen. The young Princess Elizabeth has been taken to Newfoundland to await developments. Flint and Alfie get drawn into the Resistance and are given various task to do all involving considerable death and danger. Implausibly Flint is asked to float out to sea with a dead German on a raft filled with explosives to trap the Germans into trying to rescue the body and thereby set off the boobytrap bomb. There are moments of credibility when Edward VIII is captured and forced to make a broadcast on behalf of the government in exile, and it is then one sees what this book could have been.
Flint’s hero is Biggles and his daydreams stem from this admiration, but W E Johns Mr Tinkler is not. I reviewed Hitler’s Angel by William Osborne, also published by Chicken House, which suffered from the same implausibility, two dimensional characterization, and somewhat cavalier attitude to killing and death. There are some very fine novels about what would have happened if Hitler had succeeded in invading Britain in 1940 and young people would do better to read them for a real feeling of the danger the world faced and by implication why the war was being fought.