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Flight of the Intruder

(Jake Grafton #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  27,713 ratings  ·  200 reviews
Also Available in an Audio Edition from Audible via Amazon

In Flight of the Intruder 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. Former Navy flyer Stephen Coonts gives an excellent sense o
Mass Market Paperback
Published 2015 (first published September 1986)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  27,713 ratings  ·  200 reviews

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David Putnam
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Read it when it came out. I put it on the same level as Hunt for Red October. Great book.

Colin L.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Bob Mayer
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The second novel ever published by Naval Institute Press-- Hunt for Red October was the first.
It was an instant success bringing readers inside the cockpit. From the opening scene where the mantra of "big sky, little bullet" goes tragically wrong through the climactic scene its a fast paced, realistic story of the military by someone who knew first hand.
Stephen Coonts was another author nice enough to give me a blurb for my first novel, many years ago. I've always appreciated it.
Jul 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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 day ...more
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
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jen_Ken a.k.a....Jenny from the block
I have a strong feeling of ambivalence with this one. The scenes were both visceral and thrilling. It brings to the forefront the horror of war and how it does mess with your thoughts and reactions.
This book was published in 1986 and concerns events that happened in 1972. I first read this book in 1991 and enjoyed it very much; I gave it 4 stars. The story is about an American Navy pilot who flies an A6 Intruder bomber off a US carrier and bombs targets in North Vietnam.
I’d kind of forgotten the details of the novel, so I decided I might enjoy reading it again. Unfortunately, I was not quite as enamored with this story as I was in 1991. Now, I was in the Navy during the Vietnam War though
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Flight of the Intruder (1986) by Stephen Coonts is a rip-roaring tale of an A-6 Intruder pilot, Jake Grafton, flying in Vietnam. Coonts knows what he was writing about. He was an Intruder pilot in Vietnam. 

The book has lots of detail and the feel of life on board an aircraft carrier is remarkable. According to others who have been pilots on a carrier it's not that far from what happens. Coonts was interviewed on the Fighter Pilot podcast in 2019. The host of the podcast was also a pilot on a
Red Heaven
Nov 22, 2020 rated it liked it
On the one hand, this book starts well, has some very tense scenes, and the writing is serviceable enough to tell the story. Although there is a lot of jargon, most of it is explained without slowing down the narrative too much.

However, on the other hand, it takes way too long for the main part of the plot to materialize (over 200 pages in), and although there were some exciting scenes beforehand, they make the book kinda episodic in nature. It would have been better if the novel was at least 10
General Greysorrow
I do not like Jake Grafton. The man is a somewhat insufferable prick who gets away with everything and pays no consequences for his actions. And just when you think he might get in trouble for being a war criminal - nope, just kidding, no he's a hero.

Personal feelings about the main character aside, the story was reasonably decent and I'm still going to read the rest of the series. I may despise the man and the politics but that won't stop me from enjoying a good story, which this was...mostly.
Somehow I expected more.

I liked the main character enough I want continue the series but struggled very much with the language (very technical and I suspect some of the used expressions were incorrect or used in very rare contexts) especially since I'm not native English speaker.
I wish there was a glossary for people without (military) aviation background to help with the many abbreviations (most at least once explained - not always explicit - but still confusing if you're not used to them) and
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I watched the Flight of the Intruder movie starring Danny Glover, Willem Defoe, and Brad Johnson as Jake Grafton over the weekend and was intrigued enough to pick up the book it was based on today. I have to say the novel was excellent. It was a great glimpse into the world of navy pilots during the Vietnam War. Coonts himself flew the A-6 Intruder attack bombers and he excelled at writing suspense, thrills, and showing just enough of the technical side. It was a great read.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book many times over the years. It is always great to get familiar with Jake Grafton again. He is one of my favorite heroes in literature. No matter what the problem is, Jake is always going to take the right path. I need to read them all again...maybe I will! ...more
Will Wilson
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
A enjoyable yet very stressful and depressing read .The author does a great job of giving you an insight of what it’s like to be to be a A-6intruder pilot during the Vietnam era. You feel the intensity and the high level of stress that these people went through every single day. It is very apparent that this author experienced many of these things firsthand.
Fred Shaw
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you want to know what it's like to do a carrier landing or take ground to air missile attacks this book will do just fine. Actually the realism in this book by Navy fighter air craft during Vietnam Nam is unequaled. The main character grew tired of losing his wing mates, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. If you wAnt to know what he did, read the book. Incredible writing kept me on the edge of my seat, reading late into the night. ...more
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 02, 2011 rated it liked it
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.

John-Michael Wells
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another one I read in high school that deserves a re-read.
Gerald Maclennon
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
BLOODY SIXTEEN written by CDR Peter Fey, USN-retired, inspired me to buy and read FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER written by his friend and fellow Navy Pilot, Stephen Coonts. The purchase was something I should have done 33 years ago when Coonts first published it. I don't recall why I did not. Perhaps it was because the movie, Flight of the Intruder, was so bad, I figured the book would be, also. Wrongo. The book is a great study on the emotions and attitudes of the pilots. I didn't realize they were as ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
This was my first foray into Stephen Coonts, and it left a poor first taste. Here’s the thing, I like when veterans or whatever write military fiction, it’s nice to (think) that they get many details right. Non-military members really don’t really know a lot of what goes on, we get things wrong, a lot of what we think we know is really Hollywood inventions, so it’s nice to read something from someone who has been there, who has flown those planes or served on those submarines or whatever. But he ...more
James Yaklin
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm not sure I "3 star" liked it but I can't justify a "2 star" rating.

The book is well written and the characters are developed very well. In fact, I admit I was so invested in Jake and Tiger that when the story abruptly ended I was left wanting. Fortunately, I had a anniversary edition that included a short postscript that gave us a small glimpse of the fate of all of our heroes.

Ok, so [Stephen Coonts] admits in his forward that he began writing to simply tell the story of his experiences as
Jul 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was Stephen Coonts first kick at the cat with Jake Grafton which was successful enough to spawn a Hollywood movie, and a darn good one at that. The tale centers around a naval aviator flying the A6 Intruder Jet during the Vietnam War. As his tour progresses he begins to question the efficacy of his efforts, bombing rice paddies and dense jungle while shipmates are being killed, seemingly for nothing. This then leads him to a crucial decision, does he act on his impulses to escalate his bomb ...more
Jim Coogan
Aug 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It only took 35 years, but I finally managed to to finish “The Flight of the Intruder” in one read-through. All anecdotes and adventures taken together, it was excellent! There were moments when I really felt like I was back on cruise aboard the Big E; the imagery of flight ops was so vivid. I always liked the movie version of this story but now I’m convinced that the the film would have been even better if they’d followed the novel more closely. Best case in point: Jake’s night over the Boat le ...more
Bob Ryan
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I got this book after meeting the author at a book fair. A very likeable guy who wasn't afraid to share his experiences as a Naval airman and an author for over 30 years. This book, he told us, was a compendium of interviews with dozens of Naval airmen while he was stationed overseas during the Vietnam War. Bits and pieces of actual combat flights stitched together into a compelling story.
His personal story of becoming an author was just as interesting. Failures are much more interesting than s
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a reread from my adolescence, a book I can remember retelling my parents about. It's also a great reintroduction to a series I think I'm going to really enjoy. I don't remember if I read any more than the first of the series earlier in life, but I'm willing to find out. I was hoping to find a new series to read with many of the series I enjoy reading are either winding down or I'm current on and patiently waiting for the next books to be written.

The way Mr. Coonts writes in Flight of the
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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

Other books in the series

Jake Grafton (1 - 10 of 11 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)
  • Liberty's Last Stand (Tommy Carmellini #7)

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When author TJ Klune was growing up, he never saw queer characters in books in a way that felt true to his experience.  “They were the...
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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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