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Press Release

May 15, 2018

White Wing Takes Flight Again

In 1985, "Gordon Kendall" published White Wing, his first (and apparently only) novel, which Gordon R. Dickson called "A powerful story by a strong new talent." The book garnered praise from Locus ("Kendall explores his characters' dilemma in a clever, dynamic plot filled with intrigue, danger, and surprises."), Amazing ("Emphasis is on the interplay of characters.… It's an interesting book."), Amazon readers ("I've loved this book for ages," "one of the best Sci-fi books I've ever read," "awesome and well done"), and GoodReads readers ("brilliant," "one of my favorites," "fantastic story line").

Now Fantastic Books is thrilled to announce the identity of "Gordon Kendall," and the fact that we are bringing this wonderful novel back into print. Gordon Kendall was a pseudonym shared by Shariann Lewitt and Susan Shwartz, who would each go on to write many kick-ass novels in their solo careers.

In White Wing, Earth has been destroyed, but the remnants of humanity fight on, in uneasy alliance with the Galactic League—their only purpose to avenge their world, their only pride the Honor of the Wing. But League politics will not tolerate pride in a refugee people, and the White Wing is under insidious attack. A powerful enemy attempts to brand one unit of the Wing as traitors, discrediting the entire human race.

Written at the height of the Cold War, the book has a surprising resonance with the world of today, and the prose stands the test of time.

Fantastic Books is honored to republish White Wing—featuring the original cover art by Janny Wurts—in a new trade paperback edition. Authors Shariann Lewitt and Susan Shwartz claim their proper credit for the book, which is now available.

White Wing by Shariann Lewitt and Susan Shwartz
Fantastic Books, 242 pages, $14.99. ISBN: 978-1-5154-1036-2.

White Wing—and all Fantastic Books titles—are distributed via Ingram, and available through all major online retailers and specialty sf shops via direct order from the publisher.

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Review by Faren Miller
Locus, September 1985, page 13

In this post-Vietnam era when even Heinlein has turned to fantasy and social satire, sf novels of military action and ideals may seem almost as archaic (if still as popular) as tales of opera-cloaked vampires. It takes a particularly talented author to produce military sf with an appeal for non-believers, the un-gung-ho. Gordon Kendall has managed it in his first novel, WHITE WING.

The Galactic League and its enemy, the Sejiedi, are all variants on a standard humanoid type, enough so that space war follows the pattern of earthly conflict, complete with spies and traitors. No Bug-Eyed Monsters, no tentacled horrors. To the members of the League, the refugees from the destroyed Earth seem about as alien as anyone can get, inscrutable as the Sejiedi. The Earthers' branch of the League's military, the White Wing, provokes more fear and suspicion than admiration, despite its outstanding achievements. The White Wing exists under constant pressure, in or out of combat. It's a political situation as desperate as anything conceived by C.J. Cherryh—though considerably easier to grasp. Add the presence of a traitor close to, maybe among, the White Wing, and the tension nears breaking-point.

The squad/family which serves as the book's focus lives a schizoid existence, maintaining a stoic façade while protecting a rich, vulnerable private life. What's most impressive about these men and women is not their heroism or even their cherished honor, though these are impressive enough, but rather their maturity. Though the squad has its ace fighter jocks and hotheads, a whole range of human flaws, it survives because its members are essentially responsible, intelligent adults—rare figures in space opera's gallery of glorified adolescents.

Kendall explores his characters' dilemma in a clever, dynamic plot filled with intrigue, danger, and surprises. At the very end, the precarious balance between human feeling and the demands of honor may tilt a little too far, leaving skeptics wondering if these Earthlings (and their progenitors) are for real, but even here the stiff upper lip and the ace's white silk scarf can't obliterate the effect of shared compassion, private fears… and a war hero decked out in an eye-searing sportshirt.