Red Burning Sky: A WWII Novel Inspired by the Greatest Aviation Rescue in History (Hardcover)

Red Burning Sky: A WWII Novel Inspired by the Greatest Aviation Rescue in History By Tom Young Cover Image
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A powerfully authentic and thrilling saga based on the true story of Operation Halyard, WWII's most daring and successful rescue mission, from air combat veteran and acclaimed author Tom Young...

Summer 1944: Yugoslavia is locked in a war within a war. In addition to fighting the German occupation, warring factions battle each other. Hundreds of Allied airmen have been shot down over this volatile region, among them American lieutenant Bill Bogdonavich. Though grateful to the locals who are risking theirlives to shelter and protect him from German troops, Bogdonavich dreams of the impossible: escape.  
With three failed air missions behind him, Lieutenant Drew Carlton is desperate for redemption. From a Texas airbase he volunteers for a secretive and dangerous assignment, code named Operation Halyard, that will bring together American special operations officers, airmen, and local guerilla fighters in Yugoslavia’s green hills. This daring plan—to evacuate hundreds of stranded airmen while avoiding detection by the Germans—faces overwhelming odds. What follows is one of the greatest stories of World War II heroism, an elaborate rescue that required astonishing courage, sacrifice, and resilience.
Red Burning Sky is a riveting and ultimately triumphant military thriller based on true events, all the more remarkable for being so little known—until now.

About the Author

Tom Young is the highly acclaimed author of historical fiction and military thrillers. He served in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Air National Guard and logged nearly 5,000 hours flying missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Latin America, the horn of Africa, and the Far East. His military honors include three Air Medals, three Aerial Achievement Medals, and the Air Force Combat Action Medal, and he retired from the military as a Senior Master Sergeant. In civilian life, Young spent ten years as a writer and editor with the broadcast division of the Associated Press, and he works as an airline pilot based at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. He is a member of The National Press Club, The Authors Guild and International Thriller Writers, and is a vice commander of American Legion Post 20. More information about Tom Young and his work can be found online at

Praise For…

Praise for Red Burning Sky

“The narrative gallops along in…lean, direct language, giving the muscular feel of adventure novels and thrillers in a fast, easy read. Fans of warbird aircraft, WWII history, manly adventure, and novels about war and strife in general will all enjoy this novel. Its human focus adds a literary feel. It may resonate more keenly today as a new war erupts in the same general region.”
New York Journal of Books

“Operation Halyard, a real-life secret mission to rescue Allied airmen stranded in war-torn Yugoslavia in 1944, forms the backdrop for this engrossing military thriller from Young….  Along the way to the satisfying ending, Young touches on such matters as the civil war pitting Chetniks against Tito’s partisans and the loyalties of Italians only recently turned to the Allied side. Readers will be moved to seek out nonfiction accounts about this bold, little-known operation.”
Publishers Weekly

"Gripping....A fictionalized retelling of the real-life Operation Halyard, the largest rescue of stranded airmen in U.S. history....The narrative tension escalates as the men struggle to secretly build by hand a landing field capable of handling multiple aircraft arriving in the dead of night....Young is a pilot and a decorated air combat veteran who flew in Afghanistan and Iraq. His easy familiarity with aircraft and flying make the text of Red Burning Sky realistic and credible. His writing style is casual and self-effacing so that the reader’s full attention is focused on the plight of the men and their struggle to escape.....The suspense stayed with me to the finish.”
Washington Review of Books

"Red Burning Sky, Tom Young's exciting and moving World War II tale, explores a daring and unlikely rescue of American flyers by American flyers in then-Yugoslavia. The book delivers suspense and thrills along with the heartbreak of mortal combat against a vicious foe, while remembering how civilians suffer alongside the warriors.  Don't miss this one!"
David O. Stewart, national bestselling author of The New Land

Praise for Tom Young and Silver Wings, Iron Cross
“Courage and honor in the face of the enemy have not been so brilliantly portrayed since the great novels of the Second World War.”
—Jack Higgins
“A gutsy, gritty thriller told only as one who’s been there and done that could write It ...[a] terrific new writer.”
—W.E.B. Griffin
“Young has a gift for allowing the reader to experience the emotional aspect of being a soldier...Military-thriller fans should make Young’s work an essential addition to their reading lists.”
—Booklist, STARRED Review

“One of the most exciting new thriller talents in years!”
—Vince Flynn
“Exciting…genre fans will find a lot to like”
Publishers Weekly
“Fresh and exciting”
—Historical Novel Society
“From start to finish we understand both men’s motivations and frames of reference. We can understand how they transition from enemies to friends. Our own perspectives are broadened because of them...If you read only one story about World War II, this is a great one to choose.”
The New York Journal of Books

“Full of heart and action”
The Butner Creedmore News
“Gripping and impressively authentic.”
—Frederick Forsyth

“Like Tom Clancy, Young has an eye for detail about military equipment, operations, and thinking that will ring true with any veteran.”
General Chuck Horner, USAF (RET.), former Commander, U.S. Central Command Air Forces

“A page-turner that might’ve been torn from today’s headlines...engrossing, enlightening, and extremely entertaining.”
—Doug Stanton

Product Details
ISBN: 9781496732941
ISBN-10: 1496732944
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English