I have been a fan of Damien Lewis for several years, he is a writer of both fact and fiction and is deft at both. Several months ago I heard some dribs and drabs about his latest book, a work of historical fact from World War II concerning an RAF gunner, Robert Bozdech and his remarkable dog Antis.
Set for a June/10 release I have been granted a sneak peek of The Dog Who Could Fly and I am greatly impressed. Once again Damien Lewis has found a relatively unknown piece of history and brings it to life.
Damien’s normal Modus Operandi is to get the story ‘straight from the horses mouth’. Alas that was imposable in this case, Robert Bozdech is no longer with us. But by a twist of fate the book is indeed largely written by the airman.
How could that be? Well the story behind the story is a strange one. Damien Lewis had heard about Robert Bozdech and Antis before. But nothing seemed to add up. The names kept changing, both man and dog seemed to have aliases. Sometimes the dog was Ant and sometimes it was Antis. Sometimes it was Robert, sometimes it was Jan. There was even a rumor of a movie about the story, but what there wasn’t was much in the way of fact. The absolute best rumor was that in the early 1960’s Robert Bozdech had penned a story of his life and times with Ant. If such a document existed, it would be a treasure trove.
Damien Lewis tracked down Roberts three children Robert Jr, Pip and Nina. Yes the manuscript existed, Robert Bozdech had handwritten it and his daughter Pip had taken the time to use a good old typewriter to make a copy. The copy was in an aging blue binder.
I wish I could have witnessed the look on Damien’s face when saw it! To make things even better, the family had pictures of their father and his flying canine companion.
It would be grossly unfair to say what was in that blue binder. I will do that later. But I will make a prediction, on June/10 there are going to be a whole lot of people lining up to find out about what is in that blue binder.
The story of Robert Bozdech is riveting. He was a man of passion, a man that knew right from wrong. Ant, or as he was renamed later Antis, was a dog like no other. Ant also knew right from wrong. The pair made for a wonderful combination. Antis found himself grounded after being hit by shrapnel, his mission while in recovery was to protect a four year old girl! The young lady could not have been in better hands.
You can pre-order this fabulous book by using the Amazon link above.