WINGS OF ROMANCE
First Published in book form in February 1939 - 220 pages
Originally published in THE THRILLER magazine in six parts from 25th September 1937 to the 30th October 1937
Also published in FLYING magazine in seven parts between 4th June 1938 (Vol. 1 Issue 10) and 16th July 1938 (Vol. 1 Issue 16)
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The original first edition dust wrapper showing the original price of 3/6 on the front flap
The original second edition dust wrapper showing the now lower price of 2/6 on the spine.
The Latimer editon reprint dust wrapper showing the price of 6 shillings on the front flap. I believe this was published on 16th July 1951.
And finally - The original French edition dust wrapper of “Wings of Romance” showing the title “Aventuriers de l’air” which translates as “Air Adventurers”
(If you read the very last letter of the book title as an “L” instead of an “R” it translates as “Garlic Adventurers”!)
Steeley is over in England from the United States whilst his wife has gone to tend to her sister who is ill in New Zealand. With time on their hands, Steeley, Tubby and Brian accept a job to travel to Prava, the capital of the Republic of Carabonia in Central America. Their job is to reorganise the Carabonian Air Force on the latest European lines. After meeting the corrupt President of Carabonia, Pedro Ramoza, our heroes soon realise that they have been tricked into coming to this country and they want to leave as soon as they can. This is easier said than done. Travelling to the airfield at Campanella, they discover the "air force" to consist of a few old wrecks. They meet Luke Rogers a European mechanic, also tricked into coming to Carabonia. Rogers tells them about the corrupt and evil President and how a Spaniard named Antonio Gonzales is leading a rebellion against him. Rogers and a Scot called Alec McNash are killed whilst trying to get away in an aircraft that could barely take off. Later, our heroes and the evil looking band of locals at the airfield are attacked by a Gipsy Moth aircraft and machine-gunned. Tubby sees the plane suffer mechanical failure and suffer a forced landing in the distance. Taking a car, Tubby sets off to see if the pilot has survived and at the end of his journey he is astonished to find that the pilot is a beautiful girl. Her name is Anita Gonzales, the daughter of Antonio. Tubby helps fix her plane and she flies him to her home to meet with her father. Here Tubby meets Don Antonio and pledges to fight on his side and attempt to rescue, Antonio's son, Ramon Gonzales (Anita's brother). Ramon is a prisoner of President Ramoza. Anita flies Tubby back to Campanella where he parachutes down to the airfield. Tubby finds that Steeley and Brian have returned to the capital, Prava. He is taken here by one of the local villains and finds himself locked in a cell with Steeley and Brian. They are all being held prisoner. However, Tubby has with him a hacksaw and a rope as he has come prepared to help Ramon escape. They are soon out of their cell and able to free all the other prisoners including Ramon. Ramon takes them to the house of a friend of his called Fernando Nuez to hide. Soldiers' raid Nuez's house and he is killed as Steeley, Tubby and Ramon escape. Returning to Campanella, our heroes fix up a plane to escape by air. They get some way before being forced to land due to the aircraft's defects. Here they are rescued by men sent by Don Antonio Gonzales who is eternally grateful for the rescue of his son. Next morning Steeley flies in Anita's plane to the United States to meet with his father-in-law who is a millionaire. Gonzales is offering certain contracts if and when he becomes President, in exchange for some assistance, particular aircraft. Tubby and Brian remain at Gonzales hacienda. Over the next few days, Tubby attempts to train all the men Gonzales can raise, so they can fight like a disciplined modern army. Getting word that President Ramoza is on his way to the hacienda with a large force of men, Tubby determines to take his small army and defend the pass through the mountains. Here a major battle is fought after a little night time skirmish in order to steal arms and ammunition. Just as Tubby's men are about to be overwhelmed, two modern aircraft arrive. Steeley is back. Some low strafing soon breaks the moral of the President's troops. The next step in the plan is to fly 60 or 70 men to Prava and take the President's fortress of a palace while his is not there. This is easily accomplished as the palace is only being held by a handful of men who soon give up after being bombed. Reports come in that Ramoza has been killed by his own men and Gonzales is declared President. Tubby returns to Anita, as they have fallen in love with each other.
Wings of Romance
Subtitle - A "Steeley adventure"
Publication Details - originally published by George Newnes