Some rivalries run deep and old. When Will went to university to study aeronautical engineering he didn’t expect to be planting his flag with one group or another, but he finds himself drawn into the conflict between the spit-and-prayers Working Men’s Aviation Society and the sickeningly well-funded and successful Royal Institute of Gentlemen Explorers.

It is not long before the conflict turns deadly.

The year is 1933 and it is the ‘Golden Age’ of aviation. This means air travel is slow, expensive and dangerous. Sky clippers race one another on the tea run from India to Britain, and mail runners brave pirates and stormy weather to keep the postal service running. Hydrogen still seems like a good lift gas.

The Great Global Aeronautical Race starts as a way to settle the differences between the Society and the Institute, but as teams from across the globe scramble to sign up, it quickly becomes something bigger.

Will would rather just stay at home with a cup of tea, but somehow events transpire, or possibly conspire, and he does something foolish.

There’s a girl involved.