GREAT REVIEWS of “Nor the Years Condemn” by Justin Sheedy
“Nor the Years Condemn” was a truly enjoyable book. Weeks after reading it, I’m still thinking about it. And each time I think about it, it feels good. Mixed with the highly researched historical content, there’s a sense of warmth, intimacy and shared connectedness with the main character that made me wish the book wouldn’t end.
I have never been in a war personally, never flew a plane, have never lost someone I care about to a violent death, but I found myself relating to the characters in such a way that I felt their fear, anger, love, loss and determination in a way that moved me.
There were many parts of this book I found particularly enjoyable, but my favorite would have to be the character development of the main character, and particularly powerful was his connection and communication with his younger brother throughout the story. It struck a chord with me.
I couldn’t imagine changing anything about his book, except to say I’d like it to not end. But I guess all good things must come to an end. Thank goodness there’s a sequel!
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action, drama, history and character driven stories. I’ll be reading a lot more from Mr Sheedy!
NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN – 5 STARS
Review by Michael High, Colorado Springs, USA
“Nor the Years Condemn”: Where to start? The writing. Excellent. Everything flowed and, from the first chapter to the end, was fluid. Hints here and there as to what may happen in the future were freely dropped along the way. This kept me engrossed, kept me reading.
The story. Again, excellent. The history behind these young men (and women), the planes they used, the circumstances surrounding this time frame, et cetera – all well done. I thoroughly enjoyed the “story” of each character and how they interacted with each other. There were some shockers in there; war is hell, no? I also liked the hint of “espionage” involved.
“Nor the Years Condemn”, to me, was a fantastic read. I can but recommend this book to others and impatiently await Justin’s next work.
JUSTIN SHEEDY’S LATEST BOOKS “NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN” & GHOSTS OF THE EMPIRE” NOW AVAILABLE AT THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL! ALSO AT AMAZON – with GREAT REVIEWS, AT DYMOCKS STORES, GLEEBOOKS, BERKELOUW BOOKS, ABBEY’S BOOKSHOP, WATERSTONES & WH SMITH (UK) AND VIA ALL BOOKSTORES.
“Your book is absolutely magnificent; I was completely enthralled and genuinely could not put it down. It is one of the top books of my life. Your detail is so spot on and your background absolutely superb, to me it is 120% out of 100%. Now I am desperately awaiting the sequel. Thank you again for such a wonderful uplifting book and already I know that “Ghosts of the Empire” will be equally exciting, thrilling and memorable.”
I CANNOT REMEMBER WHEN A NOVEL SO ENGROSSED ME
Review by Marc H. Stevens – Author of ‘Escape, Evasion and Revenge: The True Story of a German-Jewish RAF Pilot Who Bombed Berlin and Became a POW’
“Nor the Years Condemn” by Australian novelist Justin Sheedy draws the reader in and simply will not let go.
This story follows the war of an Australian law student who leaves school to volunteer in the RAAF as a fighter pilot. Beginning with the highs and lows of pilot training, the plot continues on to England and the early, uncertain and scary days as a new Spitfire pilot. Inexperienced pilots had no chance unless they could find a way to stay alive long enough to learn how to kill. Not an easy task, and one very well covered by Sheedy. Lucky, and not so lucky accidents and incidents take their toll. Action prevails, both in and out of the cockpit.
The plot and character development show a wealth of research. It is clear that Sheedy consulted with warriors who lived the actual events, and no fault in fact or concept was evident. This is not, by any means, a pretty story; rather, it shows war the way it really was: gory and nasty. In short, this book is as real as it must have been.
I cannot remember when a novel so engrossed me and forced me to read all hours of the day and night. Sleep and work may have interrupted my progress, but I made it through in 5 days, a near record for this plodding reader. I was honestly disappointed that I had to spend time to sleep before my reading could continue. This is a fine novel, and one that begs a sequel.
The cover art says it all: “First time overseas. With a unique job. Stop Hitler.” Well done to the Allied fighter pilots, and to Justin Sheedy.
I DO NOT DO WAR… BUT…
Review by Sandy Neilen, Brisbane, Australia
I do not do war. Not movies, not books, not artefacts – absolutely nothing. So when my favourite writer, Justin Sheedy, published a book on Fighter Pilots in WW2 I was in a quandary. Mindlessly I found myself asking bookshop owners if they carried ‘Nor the Years Condemn’ and as no one seemed to have it, I was, all of a sudden, on a mission. Eventually I found a copy and out of nothing more than blind trust, I bought and started to read ‘Nor the Years Condemn’.
There was just enough of everything to keep me turning the pages. It became my date book – got to get back to that book, sorry, just have to finish the next chapter. In no time it was over and I was sorry it was over. You knew there were horrible things that happened and they are mentioned but not laboured. There is romance, adventure, and good people facing situations never contemplated with varied outcomes. I fell in love with some characters, admired others and despised some as well.
There are some details about planes and missions and even those were easy to read about because by that time you knew Daniel Quinn so well that you care about what he cared about. After reading, I have a better appreciation of some aspects of the Second World War but this was a story about people in a certain time and it is written with heart and it shows on every page. Just a great read – it deserves all the praise it gets.”
(Personal note from Reviewer Sandy Neilen to Author Justin Sheedy…) “You really have mastered Page Turning Quality… I have only just finished ‘Nor the Years’. It has been on my holiday reading list. Fantastic read. I was not able to get ‘Ghosts of the Empire’ up here. It will be an online purchase. Keep up the brilliant work.” – Sandy Neilen
IN APPRECIATION OF “NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN”
Review by Martin Zitek, Sydney, Australia
“Nor the Years Condemn” recounts the horrors of war as seen by one elite and effective unit of WWII. The author puts us there, in that time, by depicting: language, description of locations, the attitudes of the people and the spirit of the nation that would see it prevail through its darkest period of history. The reader is shown in clear, flowing narrative how war can touch us all, from the other side of the world, to the heights of the clouds.
The characters feel so real, we are sure they must have existed. The flying is portrayed so brilliantly, we feel an ace fighter pilot must have possessed Justin’s head while he wrote this. The planes themselves become characters, even though mere machines, they became tools of victory and a symbol of ingenuity, technology and bloody determination. This is a testament to the research undertaken by the author and his wordsmithing we see as the end result.
We should count ourselves lucky today that the whole world has not since been embroiled in such a conflict and we hope it never will be again. Recounting the bravery of these men, and the staggering odds against their surviving, should make us never forget.
We will remember them.
The book “Nor The Years Condemn” is a must have for any history buff. Not only for an insight into what it was like at the start of the war, but also an insight into Sydney at the time. Not only for the boys, everyone will take something away from this. Could definitely see this made into a mini-series or movie. The author sucks you in from the start, it is very hard to put down. You can tell that the author did a lot of research when writing this book and is passionate about the story and characters. Hoping there will be a sequel.
“WOW JUST WOW!” FIVE STARS AT GOODREADS
Review by Sarah Clifton, Sydney, Australia
You’re a very talented author, Justin Sheedy… Wow just wow! Spitfires, Typhoons & Focke-Wulfs… Before reading this novel I didn’t even know about the different types of aircraft used in war. At first I found it a bit confusing keeping up with the air force lingo but the more I kept reading the more I understood and learnt from it.
It was very interesting to read of the different stages of one’s journey from Pilot Officer to Squadron Leader. You depicted the characters in a way that allowed the audience to connect with them, especially the main character, Quinn. I liked how this novel showed us from various angles how war affects people in different ways and their personal views. Various emotions from the characters (and yes us readers) were experienced such as courage, fear, admiration, pride, loss/grief, love and more.
I loved how the Australian culture and language was used and the mateship shown but most importantly I loved how realistically this novel was written… There wasn’t one character who was perfect or immune to life’s hardships e.g. Stephen Maddox’s stutter, suicide, loss of a mate etc.
If I had wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to find one fault of this book which is why I gave it a 5 star rating. I recommend this book to everyone especially young readers – Well done Justin!
Heartfelt thanks to the excellent Sarah Clifton — Justin Sheedy. Review at Goodreads HERE
WANTED TO IMMERSE INTO IT COMPLETELY
Review by Dennis Groves, New Zealand
I took a longer time than is usual to read this excellent novel; mainly because even after a few pages I knew that I wanted to immerse into it completely. I thoroughly recommend it as a true to life and well-researched example of WW2 aviation fiction. For a younger person, Justin Sheedy has done a marvellous job of recreating life in the Allied air forces of the 1940s. Well done! Keep up the good work.
AN UNUSUAL WW2 AVIATOR’S STORY, A TERRIFIC READ!!
Review by Celia Byrnes, Iowa, USA.
This book follows the life of an Australian pilot from volunteering, training, shipping out to England, until the wind down of the war. Meticulously researched our fictional character’s story is wholly believable, from descriptions of military training, learning to fly, airborne dog fights, war torn London, relationships formed and lost. A gripping story of war, love, loss and survival. As a Brit I found it an unusual perspective which is frequently overlooked, try not to let it make you late for work– it did me!
HISTORY BUFF RESPONSE TO “NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN”…
Review by Denise Boneham of Bury St Edmunds, England.
Well I finally got around to reading this the other day. I was predisposed to like it before I started cos it was about Aussie aircrew but it surpassed even my huge expectations. It made me laugh and cry at different times. It’s a work of fiction but the voices and characters almost seemed like it was veterans speaking. Well done, Justin, there’s a mini series in this. Bomber Command based novel next pretty please Justin!!!
My sincere thanks to Denise – please see her review at a great historical website, Commonwealth Forces in World War II. Denise, along with the above reader-reviewers of Nor the Years Condemn, will now feature in the next print-on-demand edition of the book in its Special Acknowledgements section.
Denise’s Review at AMAZON UK…
A NOVEL THAT FEELS LIKE A BIOGRAPHY
Having watched this novel by Justin Sheedy for sometime on Facebook I was predisposed to like it even before I read it. I was not disappointed one iota. It has the feel of a biography because it reads so authentically. The characters are developed well and things happen to them that having read books by veterans of the era could well have happened. Good research Justin! I laughed and cried through the novel and was really glad of the ending. …Read it in one sitting…. Looking forward to seeing your next novel, Justin, but can you make it a Bomber Command one (pretty please). The Sydney Regional Aircrew Group might be good contacts for you for a start…. And maybe ABC will make it into a mini series?”
A war story, a love story and, above all, an historically correct novel for pilots and armchair readers alike. The darkest days of 1943 are resurrected by the memorable characters as the plot moves from Sydney to London and the skies above. Five stars!
My sincere thanks to Stephanie. See her Extended Review down the page…
AN ENTHRALLING READ
Review by Nathan Dickey, Waco, Texas.
My interest was piqued when i saw it was about RAAF pilots in WWII, something we here in the US have to dig for and from my initial thoughts on the book, before it was read, I knew it would be very good. I had no clue though, that it would be even better than I expected. The story is an amazing read and I found the characters exceptional, each with their own unique personality. The way it’s written gives you a connection to the characters and the attention to detail is superb, adding to the realism and feel of the story. It is obvious, the amount of time that was spent researching, little details pop out nicely, adding more depth to already intricate moments. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will read it again and again. I just couldn’t seem to put it down, time escaping me as I read late into the night, several nights.
Truly a story one can get lost in, as I surely did. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in aviation, WWII or the RAAF/RAF in the war.
My heartfelt thanks to the excellent Nathan Dickey. — Justin Sheedy, June 2012.
JUSTIN SHEEDY’S LATEST BOOKS “NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN” & GHOSTS OF THE EMPIRE” NOW AVAILABLE AT THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL! ALSO AT AMAZON – with GREAT REVIEWS, AT DYMOCKS STORES, GLEEBOOKS, BERKELOUW BOOKS & ABBEY’S BOOKSHOP. In the UK at WATERSTONES & WH SMITH & FOYLES (UK) AND VIA ALL BOOKSTORES.
Another insightful review of Nor the Years Condemn, this time from Andrew Landström of Sweden: Andrew writes…
I think a lot of social aspects go missing in a lot of novels about war… like family, love and the main characters’ own feelings… Some authors seem not to be able to get the balance right. I think you did… I laughed out loud in some parts of the book as well as being moved almost to tears. “Nor The Years Condemn” by Justin Sheedy is a book among many about the young men who risked all to fly, fight, love and lose during World War 2. What makes this book stand out is the way it is written, the closeness you get with the main character. I’d have to say it is written with soul and is very balanced… I lost myself in descriptions of emotional trauma, being moved by the characters emotions, which I find a bonus. It is about everything around an individual caught up in the vortex of war, family, friends, love, loss, victory.
My sincere thanks to the excellent Andrew L.
— Justin Sheedy.
Veteran Film, TV and Theatre Writer & Performer, Tim Bean, who ordered Nor the Years Condemn from AMAZON, has just penned the following Review of the book…
NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN is Goodreading.
NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN, by Justin Sheedy, is an engrossing war novel set amid Britain’s fighter squadrons during WWII. In 1939, Daniel Quinn, 20, Sydney University 1ST XV Rugby star, applies to join the RAAF almost on a whim. It’s a whim which will have him flying a Spitfire over Nazi Germany with a one in three chance of survival. Told mostly from Daniel’s viewpoint, NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN details the misfortunes of war experienced by a generation of young pilots, the best of the best, most of whom will die young. Daniel faces his first flight, first kill, first love, first loss and first meeting with a young colleague old before his time. It’s a tense, well told story, gripping, from prologue to epilogue. (To those readers in the habit of skipping prologues, a word of advice: Don’t skip this one.) Justin Sheedy’s no-nonsense style of writing fits perfectly with his subject matter. The detailed research is obvious, yet there are no glaring information dumps. Instead, the exposition is so well integrated that it becomes part of the drama. In all, NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN is a very good read which, incidentally, would also make a very good movie.
My huge thanks to Tim Bean. Please see Tim’s veritably iconic contribution to Australian Film, TV, Theatre and Cultural Scene HERE. Tim’s incomparable insight recently provided me, as the author and cover-designer of the book, with a true ‘light-bulb-going-on’ moment re a potential improvement to the back cover of Nor the Years Condemn. Tim’s suggestion has resulted in an enrichment of the all-important experience for the bookstore browser of the book in being ‘drawn into’ the Key Character of the book, an experience richly promised by the front cover and which has now been made a reality, and to wide public approval.
Another excellent Reader Response from Nathan Dickey of Waco, Texas, who ordered Nor the Years Condemn from AMAZON…
A STORY ONE CAN GET LOST IN.
Initial Response from Nathan Dickey, Texas…
Anyone who is interested in RAF/RAAF stories or historical fiction focusing on WWII will enjoy this. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it so far; I like stories that allow you the chance to connect with the character, and this one does that quite well for me. A big thanks to the author for making it available as print-on-demand, and for writing a story one can get lost in. …I love the writing style.
Massive thanks to Nathan Dickey, who, along with all the above Reader-Reviewers, now features in the Special Acknowledgements (pages) of Nor the Years Condemn. — Justin Sheedy.
FULL REVIEW by Stephanie Speakman, USA…
WAR TORN SKIES
Justin Sheedy convincingly paints Sydney and London from a fighter pilot’s perspective. The story jinks like a Spitfire in Focke-Wulf’s crosshairs. An airman’s story and a love story, Nor the Years Condemn captures the essence of a time when life expectancies were short, when young men and women made the most from the moments they had as they gave their all to save the world they knew. Mateship was an unspoken assumption, and understatement a common denominator. Sheedy is totally at home in 1943; he knows the aircraft and their idiosyncrasies, the spirited thoroughbred of a Supermarine Spitfire, the unforgiving war horse of a Typhoon that could kill a pilot as easily as the enemy. He evokes blitzed London, its atmosphere of rubble, unexploded bombs, and dive-in-the-wall pubs contrasting sharply to the Sydney his protagonist, Daniel Quinn, left behind, brought to mind through family letters. An historically correct, beautifully crafted novel, Nor the Years Condemn leaves me anticipating Justin Sheedy’s next work. Five stars!
My profound thanks, once again, to Stephanie Speakman. — Justin Sheedy.
WHAT A CAPTIVATING READ
Review by Stephen Horsman, Perth, Western Australia.
“Nor the Years Condemn. What a captivating read. Justin tells the story in such a way that one feels like one has become a character in the story. I believe that there is sub plot which pays tribute to the Australian men and women who volunteered their services for mother England during WWII and the sacrifices they made in doing so. The reader feels the ultimate glory of becoming a fighter pilot – the wish of all who volunteered – but only a very few actually achieved this dream. We see the reality of what those poor boys (and they were boys) had to endure when faced with the reality of a dogfight. I would recommend this book to all who have a love of history or aircraft of the era.”
MY WARMEST THANKS to Stephen Horsman. He will be featured, as will his review, in the Special Acknowledgements page of the next edition of the book. — Justin Sheedy.
A MAGNETIC TAKE!
Reader Review by Paddy O’Connor, UK…
“I found this tale absolutely magnetic… His writing is highly readable and the storyline maintained my interest right from the beginning. His research was obviously long and deep, for the authenticity of locations, the excitement of the fight sequences, the overall strategic needs & detail and the general run of the plot made a brilliantly enjoyable book which ended with really quite unexpected pathos that was entirely in keeping with the spirit of the story. Happily, he avoided being drawn into the trap of broadening the two obvious love elements, yet managed to provide an interest in that direction by capturing the war-time emotional need for immediacy rather than the measured courting of less stressful times. I say all this, not because the author and I become ‘friends’ on Facebook following a mutual (UK) friend’s recommendation of the book but because what I say is exactly what I feel – and I look forward greatly to reading the sequel… Keep writing Justin Sheedy – you tell a brilliant tale.”
My Heart-felt thanks to Paddy.
BEST BOOK I EVER READ (?!)
Reader response from Logan Meddler Dehn, Indiana, USA…
“Justin, I absolutely LOVED your book. Every detail all fits together to make an amazing, compelling, and fascinating story! The best book I’ve ever read! I almost felt like I was there; I could see every scene in my mind and almost feel the rumble of the Spitfire’s engines. I would recommend this book to anyone!”
Sincere cheers to Logan – Justin Sheedy, August 2012.
Reader response from Justin Osborne, Gainesville, Georgia, USA.
“This was an excellent book and shows what the young men went through during World War 2 while flying the latest fighters of the day and the sacrifices they made to protect the free world from Nazi Germany and the imperialist Japan. I strongly recommend this book for anyone that is a WW2 buff. I give this book 10 stars.”
YOU WILL BE ENTHRALLED
Reader response from Jason Mitchell, UK.
“For anybody who likes a good read try “Nor the Years Condemn” by an Australian chap by the name of Justin Sheedy. It’s about young Australian pilots who volunteer to join the RAF in our time of our darkest days of WW2 when the Luftwaffe were relentlessly bombing our airfields and cities. You will find the story exciting and you will be enthralled and want to read it over and over again. I highly recommend the book and it would make anybody young or old a brilliant stocking filler.”
My most sincere thanks to Jason – Justin Sheedy, October 2012.
SHOULD BE ON THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Review by Angela La Camera Paino, Sydney, Australia.
“There have been 2 most positive experiences since I got on to Facebook. One of them has been reading “Nor the Years Condemn” by Justin Sheedy.
Set during WWII, this is an outstanding novel where its Australian author has captured the perfect balance between what is expected of “story telling” & historical accuracy. The author’s incredible sensibility reflects in his portrayal of each & every character. I thought particularly moving his description of how Daniel (the main hero) spent his last day in Sydney with his younger brother Matt and again in Matt’s letters to his beloved & much admired brother Danny, a wonderful way for the author to give us an insight into life in Sydney of the period. A wonderful way to make them so real, so human and a clever way to let us in to their innermost dreams & aspirations… The perfect way to make them so real; you do believe they are & feel all they feel along with them.
The author’s meticulous & accurate description of the flying, the planes (I never knew there were so many!), the training, the missions over foreign locations, the hint of espionage, the glory & the emotional trauma of its characters has all the makings of a classic war movie – At times I could liken to a documentary. So much so, that I believe this is a book which should be made part of the SCHOOL CURRICULUM. For what better way to inspire & capture the young ones’ imagination but with a book such as this?!
Did I say 2 most postive experiences since I got on to Facebook? I will leave the 2nd one for a later time !!!!”
My true thanks to Angela La Camera Paino for her most insightful and elegant Review – Justin Sheedy, November 2012.
Reader Response by Mitchell Newell of Sydney, Australia.
“Nor the Years Condemn” brings to life the realities of war. The reader is able to put themselves in the positions of the main characters – I would recommend this novel to anyone I come in contact with.
Thank YOU, Mitchell – Justin Sheedy.
CANNOT PRAISE THIS BOOK ENOUGH
From Ms Glen Knight, UK. (Review on Amazon UK)
“I cannot praise this book enough, it is written with a real understanding of people, aviation and era… A superb depiction of life, love and war in the 1940’s. The research for it must have been thorough and extensive, but that leaves even more credit to the author who writes in a way that makes you believe you are actually there… his characters are friends. Anyone who thinks this is just another “War Book” is in for a pleasant surprise.”
My most sincere thanks to the wonderful Ms Knight. My response to her was as follows…
“Dear Glen, thanks from the bottom of my heart for your so very kind words. I am truly touched that you’ve engaged with Nor the Years Condemn in the way you describe. You are Spot On, too: My greatest hope for the story is that it should be a homage to the People who made the history and to the Era, and also that it might educate people even now learning about this stunning period of our history by putting them RIGHT IN that history – especially by engaging them with the Characters who made it, and ‘characters’ they were: in order to become fighter pilots, the best & brightest of a generation, their loss so tragic. And that was indeed my inspiration to write this story. To write an Anti-War Story.” – Justin Sheedy 2013