'Guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat' (The Sunday Times).
Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published thirty novels since. They include Schindler's Ark, which won the Booker Prize in 1982 and was subsequently made into the film Schindler's List, and The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith, Confederates and Gossip From The Forest, each of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novels are The Daughters Of Mars, which was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize in 2013, and Shame and the Captives. He has also written several works of non-fiction, including his memoir Homebush Boy, Searching for Schindler and Australians. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney.
A troupe of Australian aboriginal dancers is flying from New York to Frankfurt on the last leg of a world tour when their jetliner is hijacked by Palestinian terrorists, and Frank McCloud their manager is identified as an enemy of the people and sentenced to death. In a chilling account of the next 48 hours Keneally relates blow-by-blow the hijackers' plot to intimidate, demoralize, and manipulate the minds of a plane load of people. The minds of the terrorists, the victims, the Barramatjara dancers, the pilot, and selected passengers are laid bare as crisis after crisis occurs in the microcosm of the jetliner suspended in time over the Atlantic. The author's command of his topic is superb, and his technique of tempering suspense with humor and loathing with understanding sheds new levels of meaning on an often misunderstood act. A recommended purchase from an author who never repeats himself. Keneally's The Playmaker was one of LJ 's ``Best Books of 1987.'' Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/90.-- Thomas Kilpatrick, Southern Illiois Univ. at Carbondale Lib.
Palestinian terrorists hijack a jet en route from New York to Frankfurt, among whose passengers are an Australian aboriginal dance troupe and their white Australian tour manager. Divergent cultural worldviews collide in the skies in Keneally's ( To Asmara ) edge-of-the-seat suspense novel, which brings a rare degree of psychological nuance to the thriller genre. Designating tour manager Frank McCloud as a sacrificial victim, the hijackers attempt to turn the tribal dancers against him by portraying McCloud as a tool of mining interests and the CIA, a claim lent plausibility by a recent expose written by an outspoken London journalist, also among the hostages. Other key passengers include an eloquent, beautiful American woman of Japanese descent and a Jewish-American computer contractor whose software enables Israel to construct personality profiles of suspected terrorists. McCloud's last-minute decision not to become a passive victim reverberates with political as well as personal import. (Apr.)
YA-- A tale of intrigue and hijacking. Frank McCloud is the manager for the international dance tour of the Barramatjara, a remote Australian tribe. On the troupe's flight to Europe, a small band of Arab terrorists hijack the plane in hopes of obtaining the release of political prisoners. McCloud and two other men are singled out as the people's enemies. Taliq, the terrorists' leader, accuses him of exploiting the tribe for their land and begins brainwashing the crew, passengers , and the Barramatjara themselves to turn them against the scapegoats. Keneally, in a slow methodical plodding style, allows readers to see, and sometimes feel, the plight McCloud and his companions experience. The tension and psychology at play here are believably presented and add greatly to the book's appeal.--Diane Goheen, Topeka West High School , KS
Thomas Keneally has a keen eye for out-of-the-way cultural juxtapositions. Along with it goes an energetically eclectic imagination . . . out of the atmosphere on a beleaguered aircraft, he generates stifling suspense * The Sunday Times * The reader's anxiety is awoken soon after take-off and is kept to a high pitch throughout * The Times * A smooth and elevated entertainment * Independent * A fast, memorable read . . . when we look at the century in retrospect, he will emerge as one of the great writers * Literary Review * A novel of great scope, intelligence and humanity * The Scotsman * Enthralling . . . ranks with Keneally's Booker-winning best * Daily Mail * Guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat . . . by the time the narrative puts its breaks on, you find he has navigated his fast-moving thriller over an impressive amount of thematic territory * The Sunday Times * As an intellectual piece of suspense, Flying Hero Class can hardly be surpassed * Observer * Once you start reading, you can't put it down * Guardian *