Readers' Favorite Reviews

Flight of the Black Swan

Birds of Flight Novella

    Flight of the Black Swan by J.M. Erickson is part of the Birds of Flight series and is an action/adventure tale with espionage at its core. When the chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Agency is found dead, Alexander Burns discovers the chairman’s hidden bunker holding a wealth of secrets, missions, and covert ops that could potentially change the world. So unfolds the world of the secret agent as the story encompasses missions from America to Canada and France. Missing persons, revenge, stalking - all have pivotal roles in this fast-paced thriller.
    In this novella, it is assumed the reader has already read the previous four books in the series, which will give them familiarity with the characters. However, as a stand-alone read I found the story believable and captivating. Author J.M. Erickson has done a splendid job of creating a complex yet exciting adventure. The writing is smooth and the characters well-developed and with a well-formed storyline that kept me page-turning to the end.
    For lovers of espionage thrillers, this will definitely encourage a reader to discover the earlier books in the series. For those who have not, there is a cast of characters at the end which is helpful, although it would have been preferred at the start before the story commences. There are complex characters where previous knowledge would be an advantage, but I was able to follow the storyline without having read the character list. All in all, an enjoyable short read which would work well as a taster for the other full-length books in the series. - (5 stars), Jane Finch

Flight of the Black Swan is a novella that follows the plot lines of the Birds of Flight adventure series written by J.M. Erickson. It's May 2nd again, and John Helms and his partner Diane Welch are getting ready for a meet with Rachael Janeson, who had formerly worked for the FBI and was later revealed as having ties with Alexander Burns. Instead, they meet with her uncle, Dr. Volkov Volkanoff. He informs them that Rachel and Burns are "tying up loose ends" that still persist long after the downfall of Eric Icarus Daniel, the former head of a secret intelligence agency. They agree to cooperate in a partnership with Volkanoff, and Burns continues to work at protecting his family from any remaining threats.
    I was pleased to see J.M. Erickson had written Flight of the Black Swan, a novella based on his Birds ofFlight series. I've read the books in the series and have come to consider Burns, Becky and the rest of the characters as old friends. Erickson provides just enough background in Black Swan to let it stand on its own and he includes a List of Characters which is filled with information about the series. This said, I strongly recommend that new readers begin with the first book in the series to get the full power of this continuing saga. I enjoyed Flight of the Black Swan. It brought back to me all the excitement and adventure of the Birds of Flight stories, and it made me think that it's time, perhaps, to reread these remarkable stories. Flight of the Black Swan is most highly recommended. - (5 stars), Jack Magnus

    The Flight of the Black Swan needs a little more work. The characters seem interesting and it seems like the plot underneath everything would be too, but there is too much going on. It’s difficult to keep track of all the different characters, who they are and what they are doing. There are also far too many names thrown around in each point of view which makes it even harder to keep track of everyone and everything that is happening. It felt too busy and I found myself very confused as I kept reading.
    I had to read several areas a few times over because I was confused over who was talking or confused about what was happening. I think this needs a little more simplification. It’s a very short book which means that not a lot should be happening. You don’t want to introduce too many characters in a book that’s only 65 pages long because there’s not enough time to get to know them or understand who they are. The characters seemed a little repetitive as well with several of them thinking about the same events or same characters that had already been mentioned. A little more work would turn this book around a lot. It just needs some help in focusing on a few ideas and a smaller number of characters rather than getting too absorbed in too many extra things that aren’t really needed to benefit the story. It also might want a little more mystery instead of the plot and even what’s going to happen being very upfront. - (3 stars), Samantha Dewitt (Rivera)

Flight of the Black Swan is a thrilling action/adventure novella by J.M. Erickson which gives readers further insight into the gritty and action packed world of the Birds of Flight series. The novella picks up where book four, Falcon, left off, and retains the multi-character narration that readers of the series will already know and love. Departing from the usual novel format where the Falcon, Alexander Burns, is the focal point of our attention, Flight of the Black Swan allows readers to gain further insight into many of the series’ most beloved side characters, CEO of Allied Federation International Diane Welch, and the retired director of the FBI, John Helms, to name my personal favorites.
    J.M. Erickson displays a true flair for character development in Flight of the Black Swan that his full length novels sometimes don’t have room for, due to their action-packed nature. Though this novella has plenty of intrigue, and answers many of the questions that fans would be dying to know after reading Falcon, Flight of the Black Swan is much more of a character driven episode than the series’ mainstream tales. Where I’ve found the full length novels to be set at a dizzying pace in the past due to their highly complex plot, this novella slowed things down just enough for me to find new appreciation for characters I hadn’t given thought to in the previous books. Fans of the existing series will no doubt love this extra slice of intrigue, and those who may have lost their way during reading will find this novella a welcome addition – and clarification – to the series' complex web of politics, military and daring secret deeds. - (5 stars), K. C. Finn

    Flight of the Black Swan by J.M. Erickson is an action novella that starts off where Falcon ended. It explores some of the questions that were left unresolved. Based on a four-book series, Flight of the Black Swan is an action-packed treat for fans of the series as Erickson weaves a globe-trotting tale full of assassins, operatives and double crosses. Eric I. Daniels, the once powerful chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Agency, is dead. All of his black ops, covert missions and conspiracies have come to light after his secret bunker is discovered by Alexander Burns, Falcon 5. As Becky Littleton's desire for resolution leads to a final confrontation with organized crime boss Angelo Panelli, AFI specialists Christine Dillon and Ana Ramsey see justice at their fingertips as they finally corner Jeffery “Snowflake” Glenn in Montreal, Canada. But of all these passions, it is the “Black Swan” that outshines them all.
    Flight of the Black Swan by J.M. Erickson, is a short, fast paced read that packs quite a punch. I can easily see it becoming an espionage movie. Black Swan reads better as a treat for the fans than as an introduction to the series since the characters get only the briefest of introductions. Hints at their motivations and back story are minimal. I assume they've all been delved into in the previous novels. As such, I couldn't get into the story as much as I would have liked and that tempered some of my enjoyment. It is definitely an action novel and, the way Erickson crafts his scenes, is sparsely written yet powerfully done. I also enjoyed reading the excerpts from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at the start of each chapter; they set the tone perfectly. A short, quick read, great for fans hungry for Erickson's next book. - (4 stars), Kayti Nika Raet