The Japanese military has turned the once-thriving Chinese city of Nencheng into a reeking pile of blood and ash. And now the Japanese Rising Sun threatens to scorch the ancient—and oil-rich—Kingdom of the Silver Lake. Can the Chinese survive the onslaught? Do they have a prayer?
The answer is about to fall out of the sky. He is The Falcon Killer. China’s ace fighter pilot and scourge of the Japanese air force, he is in fact Bill Gaylord, an American orphaned and self-reliant—a man without a country and without fear. Like William Holden, he’s the guy every man wants to be … and every woman wants to be with.
Shot down over Nencheng, Gaylord parachutes into the arms of the one woman who can give him reason to live… and to rejoin the fight against Japan—as he squares off against their top spy. His prey is in his sights, and catching it will change everything … for The Falcon Killer.
As a young man, Hubbard visited Manchuria, where his closest friend headed up British intelligence in northern China. Hubbard gained a unique insight into the intelligence operations and spy-craft in the region as well as the hostile political climate between China and Japan—a knowledge that informs stories like The Falcon Killer.
Format: Unabridged, Multicast, 2 CDs
Length: Approx. 2 hours
Cast list: Audio drama performed by Chris Emerson, R.F. Daley, Christina Huntington, Jim Meskimen, Mark Silverman and Robert Wu.
The Falcon Killer Glossary
The Stories from the Golden Age series reflect the words and expressions used in the 1930s and 1940s, adding unique flavor and authenticity to the tales. While a character’s speech may often reflect regional origins, it also can convey attitudes common in the day. So that readers can better grasp such cultural and historical terms, uncommon words or expressions of the era, the following glossary has been provided.
ablutions: actions of washing or cleansing of the body.
altimeter: a gauge that measures altitude.
aught: anything whatever.
Boxer Uprising: Boxer Rebellion; an unsuccessful rebellion in China from November 1899 to September 1901. The objective was to drive out all foreigners, remove all foreign influence and compel Chinese Christians to give up their religion. Boxer means “The Fist of Righteous Harmony” and was the name for members of a secret society that launched the Boxer Rebellion. Their symbol was a clenched fist.
brass cash: any of various Asian coins of small denomination with a square hole in their center.
bravo: a hired soldier. The term comes from the Italian word for brave and was first applied to hired assassins retained by noble houses of Italy.
chamberlain: a high-ranking official in various royal courts.
Chang Tso-lin: (1873–1928) one of the major warlords of China in the early twentieth century. He was the warlord of Manchuria from 1916 to 1928 and at one time ruled an enormous area of north China.
Chiang: Chiang Kai-shek (1887–1975); military leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party that attempted to purge Communism from China and unite the country under one central government. Civil war broke out in 1927 between the Nationalist government and the Red Army led by Mao Tse-tung. China was also involved in intermittent conflicts with Japan since 1931, with full-scale war breaking out in 1937. In 1949, the Nationalist government’s power declined and Communist control ensued, forcing the Nationalists from mainland China into Taiwan.
compass card: a freely pivoting circular disk carrying the magnetic needles of a compass and marked with the 32 points of the compass, the 360 degrees of the circle.
convict arrow: the symbol of a broad arrow used by the British to identify property of the government and probably best known for its use on convicts’ uniforms.
cordite: a family of smokeless propellants, developed and produced in the United Kingdom from the late nineteenth century to replace gunpowder as a military propellant for large weapons, such as tank guns, artillery and naval guns. Cordite is now obsolete and no longer produced.
cowl: a removable metal covering for an engine, especially an aircraft engine.
cretin: an idiot.
drome: short for airdrome; a military air base.
foils: airfoils; any surfaces (such as wings, propeller blades or rudders) designed to aid in lifting, directing or controlling an aircraft by using the current of air it moves through.
hogsheads: large barrels or casks, each with a capacity ranging from 63 to 140 gallons.
Inner Mongolia: an autonomous region of northeast China. Originally the southern section of Mongolia, it was annexed by China in 1635, later becoming an integral part of China in 1911.
Mex: Mexican peso; in 1732 it was introduced as a trade coin with China and was so popular that China became one of its principal consumers. Mexico minted and exported pesos to China until 1949. It was issued as both coins and paper money.
Mills bombs: oval hand grenades, named after the English engineer Sir William Mills. The grenade was pineapple-style with an explosive core around which was wrapped a thick, knobbly metal case. When the bomb exploded the force of the explosion blew the case apart, sending shrapnel in all directions. Fighter squadrons carried Mills bombs into battle and manually threw them overboard.
Mitsubi: a type of machine gun made by Mitsubishi, a Japanese aircraft manufacturer in the 1930s, known for its bombers and fighter planes.
pallet: a narrow hard bed or straw-filled mattress.
Peking: now Beijing, China.
pigsticker: one who hunts for wild boar, usually on horseback and using a spear.
pom-poms: antiaircraft guns or their fire. The term originally applied to the Maxim automatic gun (1899–1902) from the peculiar drumming sound it made when in action.
portières: curtains hung in doorways, either to replace the doors or for decoration.
rising sun: 1. military flag of Japan. It was used as the ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the war flag of the Imperial Japanese Army until the end of World War II. 2. Japan; the characters that make up Japan’s name mean “the sun’s origin,” which is why Japan is sometimes identified as the “Land of the Rising Sun.”
rudder: a device used to steer ships or aircraft. A rudder is a flat plane or sheet of material attached with hinges to the craft’s stern or tail. In typical aircraft, pedals operate rudders via mechanical linkages.
Scourge of Mankind: Genghis Khan; Mongol warrior of the thirteenth century who led a constant military campaign for three decades that ravaged vast areas and subjugated millions of people, earning him a reputation in the history books as a brutal monster. His empire, which included parts of China, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, lasted more than 150 years after his death.
Shanghai: city of eastern China at the mouth of the Yangtze River, and the largest city in the country. Shanghai was opened to foreign trade by treaty in 1842 and quickly prospered. France, Great Britain and the United States all held large concessions (rights to use land granted by a government) in the city until the early twentieth century.
shrouds: the ropes connecting the harness and canopy of a parachute.
slipstream: the airstream pushed back by a revolving aircraft propeller.
slope: to depart; disappear suddenly.
Tartars: members of any of the various tribes, chiefly Mongolian and Turkish, who, originally under the leadership of Genghis Khan, overran Asia and much of eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. Also the descendants of these people.
tea gown: a semiformal gown of fine materials in graceful flowing lines worn especially for afternoon entertaining at home.
tracer: a bullet or shell whose course is made visible by a trail of flames or smoke, used to assist in aiming.
Valhalla: (Norse mythology) the great hall where the souls of heroes killed in battle spend eternity.
wingover: also known as the Immelmann turn; an aerial maneuver named after World War I flying ace Max Immelmann. The pilot pulls the aircraft into a vertical climb, applying full rudder as the speed drops, then rolls the aircraft while pulling back slightly on the stick, causing the aircraft to dive back down in the opposite direction. It has become one of the most popular aerial maneuvers in the world.