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Fiction Historical

Chasing the Black Eagle

by (author) Bruce Geddes

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Historical, Historical, Action & Adventure
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

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Against a backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia, a young man tails Hubert Julian — a pilot, inventor, adventurer, charlatan, and possible threat to America.
Facing an attempted murder charge, seventeen-year-old Arthur Tormes is in no position to refuse when a federal agent named Riley Triggs offers him a deal: all charges get dropped and Arthur goes free if he agrees to help the Bureau with a problem.
That problem is Hubert Julian, a.k.a. the Black Eagle of Harlem: inventor, pilot, parachutist, daredevil, charlatan, and one of the most extraordinary and popular figures of the Harlem Renaissance. For Triggs, it’s the popularity that makes Julian a serious threat to the well-being of America.
To win his freedom, Arthur begins a spying mission that will occupy the next thirteen years of his life, taking him from 1920s New York City to Ethiopia on the verge of war — often at great personal cost. In the end, while America remains safe, Arthur Tormes’s fate is less certain.

About the author

Bruce Geddes's fiction has appeared in The New Quarterly, Great Lakes Review and The Hart House Review, and he has written two books for Lonely Planet and worked as a producer for the CBC. With a MA in Latin American Literature, he's a graduate of the Humber School for Writers where he was mentored by Miriam Toews and the late Paul Quarrington. Bruce lives and works in Toronto.

Bruce Geddes' profile page

Editorial Reviews

An action adventure, a love story and a hard-boiled noir thriller all rolled up into one. Meticulously researched and artfully paced, Chasing the Black Eagle is a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era, introducing the reader to a captivating and complex cultural figure, Black aviator Hubert Julian. Masterfully adept at metaphor and possessing an incisive eye for descriptive detail, Geddes skillfully transports the reader to another time and place brought vividly to life.

Shawn Syms, author of Nothing Looks Familiar

Blending real and imagined histories, Chasing the Black Eagle is a sprawling, seductive novel of intrigue, adventure, and secrecy. Geddes is a first-rate storyteller who has created a dazzling cast of schemers and dreamers whose failures and triumphs are a comic and touching testament to the mystery of personal ambition and identity.

Anne Perdue, author of She’s a Registered Nurse, Not a Whore

A dazzling novel about a complicated, charismatic historical figure, the celebrity pilot Hubert Julian. Opening in the 1920s, Chasing the Black Eagle takes readers on a daring adventure from the skies of Harlem to the palaces of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, tangling with emperors, secret agents, communists, intrepid reporters, and mysterious love interests. An evocative tale, masterfully crafted, told in a singular literary voice that readers will no doubt be hearing more from.

Tara Henley, author of Lean Out

A novel about bootlegging, blackmail, and the struggles of love, Chasing the Black Eagle is a wide-ranging and compulsive read full of wonderful characters.

Dennis Bock, author of Going Home Again

Chasing the Black Eagle is a novel that juggles genres — spy, noir, coming-of-age, romance — with charm, wit and seemingly effortless grace. Neither self-serious nor sentimental, it's absolutely charged with lived-in authenticity for a little-known slice of 20th-century history. Don't let this one fly away: Geddes is a writer who makes history, invented or otherwise, feel as fresh as this morning, this very minute.

Spencer Gordon, author of Cosmo

Takes an obscure corner of aviation history and spins a picaresque yarn about a couple of unlikely characters, at least one of whom happens to be real. Pilot Hubert Julian is brave and boastful and possibly nuts, with a questionable commitment to the truth—in short, a brutal assignment for the FBI informant forced to follow him, but for the reader, sparkling company indeed.

Giles Blunt, author of the John Cardinal series

Geddes has produced a rare feat: the literary page-turner.

Andrew Kaufman, author of Small Claims

Bruce Geddes is a brilliant storyteller, and Chasing The Black Eagle is an absorbing historical adventure, featuring huge characters, bracing thrills, and captivating deceptions. International in range, and epic in scale, this is a fast-moving, atmospheric novel and, at the same time, the moving story of a young man’s extraordinary passage to adulthood. You don’t want to miss the journey; you won’t ever forget the book.

Damian Tarnopolsky, author of Goya’s Dog

From Port of Spain to Harlem, to Addis Ababa, Chasing the Black Eagle takes us on an intimate journey, spanning decades and exploring intertwined lives. Bruce Geddes is a master storyteller with an incredible ability to take us to dizzying heights, be it on the wings of the Black Eagle taking flight or to harrowing truths found in the underbelly of racism, anti-colonial fights, betrayal, including the worst of all, when one goes against themselves. A thoroughly enjoyable encounter of friendship, survival and above all, the human spirit.

Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr, author of I Am Because We Are

Geddes dives headlong into history with elegance, authority, and passion, offering a sweeping view of the 20th century in all its topsy-turviness while remaining firmly rooted in intimate human experience. Engrossing, impressive, and a ripping good yarn.

Rob Benvie, author of Bleeding Light

Other titles by Bruce Geddes