This is the heroic story of an 18 year old WW II USAAF fighter pilot with the eyesight of an eagle and a passion for the sky. In 1944, John Philip Garreau responds to the call of war by enlisting. On a P-51 D Mustang, he quickly becomes an ace in air combat, then a double and a triple ace in the European skies.
In London, he fells in love with Muriel, a young woman whose fiancé is prisoner of the Japanese. That’s war, World War II. It’s complicated and Johnny Garreau wants to take some distance. He asks for a tranfer in Corsica, where he meets Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the great aviator and writer, and has with him a harrowing discussion on the « real faked death » of the Little Prince. They don’t know that both of them are going to die soon.
During a mission over Burgundy, Johnny’s plane is hit by the German flack. The Mustang is barely maneuvrable. First Lieutenant Garreau must make a quick decision : to bail out or to try a crash landing.
70 years later, Hélène Marchal, a French journalist, discovers his heroic behaviour. He died in his attempt to steer the plane away from a house in which was a four year old little girl : her mother. Hélène realises that she owns him her life.
Who was this young man ? Hélène only knows he was from Browning, Montana. She decides to travel there to investigate. Gradually, she will piece together the life of this pilot nicknamed Little Eagle. With hindsight, his story – and this novel– takes on the dimensions of a legend. And with it brings the protagonists to question their own destinies, over time and space.
Florian Rochat is a writer and journalist who lives in Switzerland. He is the author of a previous novel, "Cougar Corridor", and a memoir, "Un printemps sans chien" (both in French).