Dragonfly is a dieselpunk/alternative history novel set in WWII. It follows the harrowing adventures of Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Somerset, a mail drop pilot who is thrust into the spotlight when she becomes the first female combat pilot in the face of a looming Nazi invasion of Britain. Her fearless example leads to an additional pair of women pilots, forming the Dragonfly Squadron.
There is a lot to like about Dragonfly. Mr. Cornell has a firm grasp of the time period, putting the reader in the air and on the ground in the midst of razing bullets, exploding shells, and techno-zombie super soldiers. That’s right, this is dieselpunk, where the speculative intertwines with the historical. Captain America would have been right at home in this novel, but he’s not needed because Veronica and her crew are holding down the fort. Hitler had better look out.
There is some mystical linings that spice the tale up a bit, but the story is solidly footed in the struggle between Britain and Germany in a world that doesn’t particularly follow the history that we know. There are surprises, there is intrigue, and there are those aircraft.
Mr. Cornell takes obviously delight in the design of his nifty fighter planes, from the zippy Dragonfly to the menacing craft of the Nazis. This is an illustrated version, and the designs are outstanding. One can only hope there will be a Hollywood adaption one day, because this story would look outstanding in the same style as the movie Sky Captain. The great part about this story is that it is just the first of a series of books. Personally, I’m looking forward to more of Mr. Cornell’s dieselpunk world.