© Florian Rochat 2011-2017
This is the heroic story of an 18 year old WW II USAAF fighter pilot with the
eyesight of an eagle and a passion for the sky. In 1944, John Philip Garreau
responds to the call of war by enlisting. On a P-51 D Mustang, he quickly
becomes an ace in air combat, then a double and a triple ace in the European
In London, he fells in love with Muriel, a young woman whose fiancé is prisoner of
the Japanese. That’s war, World War II. It’s complicated and Johnny Garreau
wants to take some distance. He asks for a tranfer in Corsica, where he meets
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the great aviator and writer, and has with him a
harrowing discussion on the « real faked death » of the Little Prince. They don’t
know that both of them are going to die soon.
During a mission over Burgundy, Johnny’s plane is hit by the German flack. The
Mustang is barely maneuvrable. First Lieutenant Garreau must make a quick
decision : to bail out or to try a crash landing.
70 years later, Hélène Marchal, a French journalist, discovers his heroic
behaviour. He died in his attempt to steer the plane away from a house in which
was a four year old little girl : her mother. Hélène realises that she owns him her
Who was this young man ? Hélène only knows he was from Browning, Montana.
She decides to travel there to investigate. Gradually, she will piece together the
life of this pilot nicknamed Little Eagle. With hindsight, his story – and this novel–
takes on the dimensions of a legend. And with it brings the protagonists to
question their own destinies, over time and space.
This novel was inspired by the actual crash of a US pilot in the Champagne
region of France, LeRoy Lutz, who had to decide in a split second between saving
his own life or the lives of others.