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Flight of the Intruder (Jake Graftron & Tommy Carmellini Universe #1)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  20,029 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Grazing the Vietnam treetops at night at just under the speed of sound, A-6 Intruder pilot Jake "Cool Hand" Grafton knows exactly how precarious life is. Landing on a heaving aircraft carrier, dodging missiles locked on his fighter, flying through clouds of flak--he knows each flight could be his last. Yet he straps himself into a cockpit every day.

Then a bullet kills his

Hardcover, 329 pages
Published October 1st 1986 by US Naval Institute Press
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Colin L.
Jan 31, 2009 Colin L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was interesting to me because it was written by and based on the combat experiences of the author who did exactly what my father did in Vietnam. He was even in the same squadron and might have flown some of the exact same planes as my dad. Unfortunately, I can't get my dad to read it or see the movie, due to his as yet unresolved personal issues with his experience. As a result of his beliefs, he quit after flying nine combat missions.
What is so personally interesting to me is that the aut
Stefan Yates
I don't know why, but I had expected more from Flight of the Intruder. I vaguely remembered the movie of this novel from the early 1990's and had the book sitting on my shelf, so I thought that I'd give it a read.

Overall, it's not THAT bad, but it's not really that good either. Flight of the Intruder falls smack dab in the middle-of-the-road category to me. The storyline is ok but fairly predictable. The characters really don't have a whole lot of depth and the dialog is really nothing to write
Very good Viet Nam War era novel of love and combat for A-6A naval aviators. Having served with an A-6A squadron aboard an aircraft carrier during that time, I can attest to the authenticity of the colorful experiences described both in and out of combat. The description of air combat over Viet Nam and shore leave R&R in the Phillipines are straight-on accurate. When I returned home from my tour on an aircraft carrier in 1967 I thought I'd like to write a book about my experiences there some ...more
Dustin Gaughran
Jun 29, 2011 Dustin Gaughran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easily one of my favorite novels. I'm a naval aviation fan boy as it is, but this book was written by a man that actually lived what he wrote about, (much like Ian Flemming), and it shows. The material is so well sourced and written that it's easy to follow, and the explanations for the technical aspects of the aircraft, carrier life, and tactics are easy for anyone to follow. As a pilot, I enjoyed being able to recognize a lot of the technical aspects as well, but that was really just for me. T ...more
Jan 20, 2014 Ralph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Having encountered Jake Grafton much later in his career, I thought I should experience his first appearance in "Flight of the Intruder". Having been a Vietnam war A6 pilot, Mr. Coonts' writing brought me inside Jake's A6 and I felt that I was being catapulted off the carrier alongside of him. Those parts of the book that focused on the combat missions kept me completely engrossed. The attention to detail, the exchanges aboard the carrier, and the historical background were much appreciated.

Aug 26, 2011 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was a tough one to rate. I feel the idea and plot of the book was fantastic. It is good to see the Intruder get some action in Fiction. I just feel Coonts's writing on this one was lacking the spark to keep me thrilled about the book. At times I found some of the stroyline predictable like a classic World War 2 movie from the 1940's and 50's and lets not forget Spike Lee's writing disaster on Mirical at St Anna's (woof that was bad!!) I get it that it was Coonts's first go at a novel.

I finished this book on the way to take a "hard hat" tour of a carrier, intending to leave the book for another visitor to pick up but, alas, forgot.

The book is mediocre in that it seems like the author is working a checklist: pilot suffers personal loss when his bombardier is killed--check; pilot gets a girlfriend--check; pilot disobeys orders in very, very bad way--check; pilot gets shot down and injured but saves the day through personal heroism--check.

I can only think that parts are just c
Samuel Sieja
For the first book in the Jake Grafton series, it kept me interested. I do not think it was a great story by any means, but it was good and worth the read. I have now moved on to book two, so at least it has me hooked for at least another book. Character development I found to be a bit lacking, besides Jake, characters seem to have stereotypical comments and no real depth to them besides his love interest. Some strings of his story telling just seemed to be odd placements for non important or in ...more
Daniel Bratell
Aug 05, 2015 Daniel Bratell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very typical 1980s military novel, even though the time era represented is early 1970s. The protagonist is Jake Grafton, a 27 year old carrier pilot flying missions into Vietnam.

The author really manages to build enough tension into the book to make it a page turner and unlike some of his colleagues he manages to make the characters complex enough to be interesting. It is not just aircraft controls and radio communication and target acquisitions.

As the author has a A-6 Intruder pilot a
Feb 24, 2015 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the last 1/4 of this 87' novel centered around the Vietnam war much more than the rest. The characters became much more defined, while the story became much less technical. 5 of 10 stars
Amit Tyagi
I have been looking for some new techno thrillers ever since I finished Clancy's Jack Ryan series and landed up on Flight of the Intruder.

Despite being a huge fan of Clancy I don't think he has ever described the life of a career pilot as Coonts has in this book. Even though he has described multiple launches throughout the book each one seems more exhilarating than the previous ones. And more importantly it is his treatment of the character's emotions while fighting an unpopular war is what ma
Eric C.
I am conflicted on this one. I really enjoyed the air battle sequences, hated the love story, but really liked the characters and fighter jock camaraderie of the fighter pilots. I felt that the book lagged a bit near the end and finishes rather abruptly. After doing some research, it looks as if the direct sequel was written many years after this first book and a few more Grafton novels. Not sure I'm going to take the plunge on the follow-up books. I really did enjoy this book though despite som ...more
Oct 28, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As part of my current focus on all things A-6 intruder related, and having watched and enjoyed the film of the same name I decided to read this book. The film is based on the book and has some major differences.

The best thing about this book is that it was written by an ex navy pilot - it really shows in the sections that cover scenes within the cockpit and the take off and landing of a plane on an aircraft carrier. The characters have that real feel which is invaluable.

The story takes place dur
Hilmi Isa
Apr 11, 2011 Hilmi Isa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mengisahkan Jake "Cool Hand" Grafton,seorang juruterbang pesawat penyerang A-6 Intruder Tentera Laut Amerika Syarikat (TLAS),yang kecewa dengan dasar-dasar perang dan 'Rules of Engagement' (Peraturan-peraturan Pertempuran) yang ditetapkan oleh ahli-ahli politik dan panglima-panglima perang di Amerika Syarikat (AS). Baginya,perkara tersebutlah yang menyebabkan begitu ramai tentera AS yang meninggal dunia secara sia-sia. Malahan,sahabat baik Jake,Morgan McPherson,yang juga merupakan seorang jurubo ...more
This is one of my favorite books of all time. As far as I understand, there really are not that many stories out there about the aviators experiences during the vietnam war. In this story Jake Grafton is a naval officer/carrier pilot who flies an A-6 Intruder (bomber jet), Like any infantryman on the ground. He has grown tired of a war that seems without end. He's lost friends seemingly without purpose, and all he wants is to really make a difference. Now with a new co-pilot (bombadiere/navigato ...more
John-Michael Wells
An exciting novel with believable characters and extensive detail only someone who was there could provide. The action is tense, detailed, and almost makes you feel like you are witnessing the events yourself. I found myself gripping the book tighter during carrier take-offs and landings. The protagonist is neither good nor bad; but a real person caught in a messy situation with conflicting duties to his job, country, himself, and humanity. The author develops the dilemma of a military officer s ...more
Jeff Jackson
Mar 04, 2016 Jeff Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy aviation in general. This is one of my favorite novels of this genre. It seems to realistically portray what flying combat missions from an aircraft carrier may be like. I can't say for sure, because I haven't done it. The author made me feel like I was sitting in the cockpit. It isn't overly technical, but it realistically educates the reader of some of the how's and why's of carrier aviation.
Bill Sheridan
Mar 23, 2015 Bill Sheridan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written fiction clearly with an eye to detail which can only come from an author with personnel experience in the same area. As well as accurate technical details Coonts also develops the main characters very well. If you enjoy naval aviation stories with good old fashioned hero figures, this is certainly one to put on your reading list.
Mar 29, 2013 J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book years ago when it first came out. I actually knew the Author when he was in the US Navy Reserves in a billet at FEMA. I was at the time a FEMA Region VIII, employee in Denver, CO assigned as a liaison to the group of officers serving there. The book is great and my brief experiences and interactions with the author were all pleasant. He was a nice guy. I didn't know him well but it was a pleasant experience and I love that he's now such a famous guy. Honestly if I hadn't known h ...more
Apr 15, 2016 Lorna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arrt
I found the technical bits extremely challenging to get through. Way too much info on what different indicator lights mean and how you read the different altimeters and the like. I skimmed probably about 30% of the book, something I rarely do. Had a few other minor issues with the book. The author occasionally switched scenes between paragraphs (instead of using page breaks which he also does do in some spots), so it was easy for me to get confused as to what new action was taking place. A lot o ...more
May 31, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military, action, thriller
#1 in the Jake Grafton series.

Jake Grafton series - Jake Grafton is an A-6 Intruder pilot during the Vietnam War who flies his bomber on sorties past enemy flak and SAM missiles, and then must maneuver his plane, often at night, onto the relatively small deck of an aircraft carrier.
Sep 26, 2014 B WALLACE rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read

I really enjoyed this Vietnam war/carrier operations book. well painted characters, and a great feeling of authenticity. lots of twists and unexpected turns.
Apr 21, 2014 Vojtech rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Many interesting details about carriers and carrier flying -- that's the good part. But the story is rather slow and dull and didn't find myself interested even as I was 60% into the book, so I decided I've had enough. Especially the romance part of the plot is like from a really dumb chick flick. I love books about flying, but this one would definitely benefit from being a little faster pace.
Mar 12, 2015 Graham rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, although well written, it wasn't really my sort of book. Essentially the story shows a segment of time in a 'Nam pilot's life, with little excitement outside of "work" - not that it was totally missing, but essentially unless flying is your thing this may not be the book for you.
Anthony Huff
Dec 10, 2015 Anthony Huff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read

Excellent read, enough suspense to keep interest. Almost like you are there with Jake as a part of his flight crew
Joe Duboulay
Mar 07, 2014 Joe Duboulay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You feel like you're in the cockpit and along for the ride of your life. This was my first Stephen Coonts novel and I was hooked from the beginning.
Bill Miller
Jul 10, 2016 Bill Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a sailor and veteran during the same war, I can relate to much of Jake Grafton's experiences and feelings about the war, although I was not a Zoomie (pilot). Writing is so exquisite that you feel part of the action.
Roy Szweda
Dec 30, 2014 Roy Szweda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: planes
Superb book and movie... I am sure others have done better reviews than me. Another to add to the re-read pile I think.
Bob Conner
Jan 18, 2015 Bob Conner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-war
Flight of the Intruder was the first Coonts book I read and the story sold me on Stephen Coonts works.
Gerard Dion
Feb 16, 2016 Gerard Dion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr Coots first book. Well worth reading and rereading stories from Vietnam air war
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Stephen Coonts (born July 19, 1946) is an American thriller and suspense novelist.

Coonts grew up in Buckhannon, West Virginia, a small coal-mining town and earned an B.A. degree in political science at West Virginia University in 1968. He entered the Navy the following year and flew an A-6 Intruder medium attack plane during the Vietnam War, where he served on two combat cruises aboard the USS Ent
More about Stephen Coonts...

Other Books in the Series

Jake Graftron & Tommy Carmellini Universe (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Intruders (Jake Grafton #2)
  • Final Flight (Jake Grafton #3)
  • The Minotaur (Jake Grafton #4)
  • Under Siege (Jake Grafton #5)
  • The Red Horseman (Jake Grafton #6)
  • Cuba (Jake Grafton #7)
  • Hong Kong (Jake Grafton #8)
  • America (Jake Grafton #9)
  • Liberty (Jake Grafton #10)
  • Liars & Thieves (Tommy Carmellini #1)

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“The navy took them from all walks of life and winnowed out anyone who showed signs of self-doubt—in other words, anyone who carried the usual baggage of humility that weighed down most of the human race—and retained only those with balls the size of grapefruit and a brain the size of a pea, or so Marty liked to announce after a couple of drinks at the officers’ club. Still, he reflected, Lundeen had a remarkable ability to look disaster in the face, flip it a bird, and go merrily on his way. Tonight the bombardier’s eyes kept swiveling back to the fuel gauge. Greve had not been able to find the target on the first bomb run. Lundeen had insisted on flying a racetrack pattern and making a second attempt. Lundeen was driving, so that is what they did. But as they turned onto the final bearing for the second try, they had run right into a flak trap. Lundeen had cussed and” 0 likes
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