Read The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth Online


A holiday gift book equally appropriate for Forsyth fans and aviation buffs, this inspirational Christmas tale is certain to appeal to a wide audience. It is the captivating tale of a young Royal Air Force pilot's harrowing flight on Christmas Eve, 1957. Illustrated....

Title : The Shepherd
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670639694
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 123 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Shepherd Reviews

  • Lynda
    2019-04-01 10:04

    —De Havilland VampireThe Shepherd is a novella about a 20 year old pilot who, on Christmas Eve 1957, set out from Lower Saxony, Germany to Blighty, UK to celebrate christmas with his family. Flying a De Havilland Vampire, a British jet fighter, he knew the flight time would take 66 minutes. After being airborne for 43 minutes, while out over the North Sea in the darkness of night, his plane suffers an electrical failure, taking out his compass and ten-channel radio set. The pilot has no way of contacting airforce personnel on the ground. The single seat Vampire could not be fitted with an ejector seat, making it almost impossible to bail out of. The pilot is frightened and devastated. "As the fighter slipped toward Norfolk the sense of loneliness gripped me tighter and tighter. All those things that had seemed so beautiful as I climbed away from the airfield now seemed my worst enemies. The stars were no longer impressive in their brilliance; I thought of their hostility, sparking away there in the timeless, lost infinities of endless space. The night sky, its stratospheric temperature fixed, night and day alike, at an unchanging fifty-six degrees below zero, became in my mind a limitless prison creaking with cold. Below me lay the worst of them all, the heavy brutality of the North Sea, waiting to swallow me and my plane and bury us for endless eternity in a liquid black crypt where nothing moved nor would ever move again. And no one would ever know." During his intensive training, the young pilot had learned that should he ever lose his radio and be unable to transmit his emergency, he should try to attract the attention of RAF radar scanners by adopting a triangle manoeuvre. This involved moving out to sea, then flying in small triangles, turning left, left, and left again, with each leg of the triangle being of a duration of two minutes' flying time. This manoeuvre should allow the air-traffic controller to spot the distressed aircraft and divert another aircraft to find it and bring it in. The rescue aircraft was called the Shepherd.The pilot did two turns of the triangle manoeuvre and waited. Nothing happened. Nobody came. Distraught at this point, all sorts of things go through his mind.He tries doing the last left turn, and again waits. By this time he has just 5 minutes of fuel left. He prepares himself for death. "It's a bad thing, a sad thing, to die at twenty years of age, with your life unlived, and the worst thing of all is not the fact of dying but the fact of all the things never done."Then suddenly, to his right, he notices something. It's a De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber of World War II vintage. It worked! His shepherd has arrived. The young pilot is led back to a safe landing. But, who is the mysterious shepherd who brought this young pilot to safety on Christmas Eve 1957? All rational explanation fails, giving the story its surprise ending.The Shepherd is a short, 144 page novella written in 1975 by Frederick Forsyth, author of novels like The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File. It is said he wrote The Shepherd for Christmas as a present for his wife. Every year, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts a reading of The Shepherd by Alan Maitland. Maitland passed away in 1999, but recordings of him reading The Shepherd are available, like this 32 minute reading on You Tube. is a short, pleasant read / listen.3.5* / 5

  • Samadrita
    2019-03-26 13:21

    Having never read Forsyth before (an author associated with the kind of best-selling thrillers that are translated onscreen into high octane testosterone-driven Hollywood movies raking in the buck), I hit the 'request' button for this quite impulsively on Netgalley (and partly out of curiosity I believe). Aaaaaand it has turned out to be exactly what the blurb advertises. Another obligatory tale of a Christmas miracle in which a young English pilot's life is saved by the ghost of a World War 2 bomber plane on Christmas eve. Obviously written for the purpose of spreading the holiday cheer and setting the cash registers ringing. Well nothing says 'It's Christmas!' like a polite suspension of disbelief. So 3 stars it is.

  • Latie
    2019-04-21 12:05

    I initially heard the CBC Radio broadcast of this story for Christmas 2012 read by the late Alan Maitland. It is a beautifully written story about a pilot who is lost in a terrible fog on Christmas Eve. His instruments fail him, and his fuel is running low. He is certain he will die until a mysterious second pilot arrives to shepherd him back to safety. It’s a beautifully written story that truly comes to life. A story does not have to be long to have special meaning and a warm yet mysterious ending that makes you feel good. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading/hearing it again next Christmas.

  • SAM
    2019-04-05 16:22

    My other half found this in a second hand book shop. Having never read anything by Frederick Forsyth i thought i'd read it as it was short and an easy addition to my reading challenge. OK, so he wrote it after his wife requested a ghost story. A nice gesture on his behalf but it didn't mean he had to release it. It's a fairly weak story with a predictable conclusion. I won't judge the author based on this.

  • Diane
    2019-04-24 13:21

    I, too, read this every Christmas season - and think of it often throughout the year. I've always read (and re-read) the condensed version that appeared in Reader's Digest so many years ago, torn from that old magazine and treasured in my files. But just this month I finally got busy and located and purchased a used copy of the book. Now I will treasure the book as well as the old, dog-eared pages from RD. The first time I read it, I wasn't paying attention and thought it was a true story, but still, I always cry when I get to the final paragraphs. This is one great story!

  • Veeral
    2019-04-02 11:15

    A novella by Forsyth which is a quick read and much unlike his other works. There are sketches included as well. Read this if you get your hands on it. It won't take much of your time and the story is simple enough.

  • Addy
    2019-04-15 15:20

    After leaving two books after just a couple of chapters yesterday (Dev Lok and 1984), my rhythm of reading was severely disturbed, so the best solution was to go back to one of my favourite Authors. There is a reason that Frederick Forsyth is regarded as one of the world's best thriller writers. I was quite sure that I had read all his novels, but then realised there was this 120 page short story that I had somehow missed (it's a standalone novel itself published first in 1975).Don't let the name of the novel fool you. Also, you will enjoy the novel more if you don't read the preview given at the back of the cover. I'm not going to reveal much about the PLOT save the opening chapter wherein a British Royal Air Force pilot is stuck aboard his fighter plane with his electronic equipment malfunctioning. After that, I can just guarantee you top class action, thrills and goosebumps. Typical of Forsyth, he doesn't waste time in any formalities, and just grabs you by the scruff of the neck from the very first page and doesn't leave you till you've finished the novel. The best example of 'Unputdownable'. I felt at least at 2 instances that the novel had now ended only to be dumbstruck on the very next page. And the sudden and hard hitting climax is just incredibly brilliant. In fact, it may just make you redefine the genre of this novel.

  • Siobhan
    2019-04-15 12:21

    This is a short simple story, following a pilot on his way home for Christmas and the misfortune he faces. As you would expect from a novel this short (look at the number of pages then add in the fact that there are sketches as well and you can truly begin to understand just how short the story really is) events progress at quite a speed, keeping you interested from start to end. There isn’t all that much depth but it easy conveys the feelings you would expect from this kind of work.As something you can read in one very quick sitting, it is interesting but doesn’t really blow the mind.

  • Alex Brightsmith
    2019-04-18 12:16

    I stumbled across a Frederick Forsyth interview on TV one day (it was about gravel pits encroaching on his Bedfordshire village) and thought, if the man speaks like this he has to be worth reading. Then I discovered the average length of a Forsyth novel, and wavered a bit.Then I discovered The Shepherd. It's a gem of a tale, beautifully told, nicely revealed, and short enough that there's not much more I can say about it without giving something away.If you don't want to start on a Forsyth doorstop without a little reassurance that his voice is one you can live with for the duration, this is an excellent starting point

  • Charlesvan Buren
    2019-04-07 17:20

    An aviation classicBy Charles van Buren on December 30, 2017Format: Kindle Edition|Verified PurchaseMany of the negative reviews of this novella are from people who claim that the book description did not state that this is a "short story.". I checked the Amazon descriptions for the e-book and the hard copies. All descriptions list the book as having either 123 or 129 pages. Others seriously complain that the book is not worth the price because it is short. Personally, I do not buy my literature by the pound.As to the story, it is quite good as one would expect from an internationally acclaimed work which is particularly admired in the aviation community. As to how original it is, I don't know. It was written in 1974 and published in 1975 so it is at least an early use of the p!ot device which many readers will see coming. To avoid spoilers, I will say no more other than this is not one of Forsyth's thrillers. The quality of the writing is, if anything, better than his usual high standard.

  • Laura
    2019-04-01 16:15

    Re-read almost every year since 1976. One of my favorites to read at Christmas time.

  • David
    2019-04-21 13:18

    An excellent Christmas story from a master.

  • Sandeep Kashyap
    2019-04-04 10:23

    A very meticulously constructed short story from the master of the political thrillers. As I started this book and barely in to few initial pages, I started getting to know lot of concepts and nuances of handling and maneuvering a fight jet. As always is the case with Frederick's novels, it's filled with grandiose narrations of everything that features in the novel. Treat to your brain are the elaborate explanations about the winter conditions of the North Sea and it's adjoining areas.Since the beginning of the story, there is a mysterious element of failures after failures which comes to an abrupt end though some say it is predictable!

  • Sharon
    2019-04-02 12:12

    A quick read, only 123 pages with many full-page illustrations. A compelling and haunting story about a young RAF pilot on Christmas Eve in 1957 who is trying to navigate his way at night from Germany to England. Usually not a problem, but the airplane's radio and compass stopped working mid-flight. He's running out of fuel and the clouds have rolled in. How will he survive? Will he land safely or crash into the North Sea? Highly recommended to anyone who loves flying.

  • Bill Bradford
    2019-03-25 15:20

    A great short Christmas ghost story a little reminiscent of "The Twilight Zone". You basically know the story a few pages in, but Forsyth does a great job fleshing out the details (he was an ex-RAF pilot and has a lot of detail - although there are a couple of internal discrepancies), and the illustrations really help. A nice way to remind readers that miracles happen in unexpected places.

  • Will Jones
    2019-03-27 14:18

    It's a ghost story. It's a flying story. Forsyth, at this stage of his career, is in great storytelling mode. There's nothing about this story to dislike. Sparse, evocative and full of atmosphere. Recommended.

  • Mehedi Sarwar
    2019-04-11 18:09

    Atmostpheric and brilliant. The illustrated pictures portrays quiat a visualization and helps you see from the pilot's point of view. Short novella and spooky.

  • John Dibdin
    2019-04-01 11:04

    A wonderful storyThe best story I have read in many years liked the way it led you to gently to the conclusion

  • Hugh Evans
    2019-04-11 17:17

    As an aero engineer I enjoyed this book. It's short, simple poignant.

  • Arijit Chatterjee
    2019-03-26 16:06

    A gripping story..... Strongly recommended for aviation enthusiasts......

  • Laura
    2019-03-28 15:19

    Never heard about this book before.

  • Mike
    2019-04-03 09:55

    Saw the twist at the end a mile away.

  • SA_Aslam_
    2019-04-14 15:16

    I chose this because I was drawn to the illustrations by Lou Feck - sorry, but I'd never heard of him before. After a quick check on the internet I found that these illustrations look different to his sci-fi book covers.I'd buy this just to have the illustrations. The story was good too! I was glad that Forsyth wrote about how lonely it can be flying solo at night and how hostile the stars can appear. I thought the ending was written a bit clumsily (can such things be said about Forsyth?) which made it predictable.

  • William Richardson
    2019-04-22 16:55

    It was amazing the 1st time I read it and it's been amazing every time since. My favorite Christmas book. Always sends goosebumps my way. It made me believe that there are paranormal happenings. I am a believer in ghost.

  • Mel Jonczak
    2019-04-14 14:03

    I have read this book every year for almost thirty years during the Christmas season. It’s 123 pages takes me a little over an hour to read. The book leaves me in tears every time I finish it. A great seasonal read that I highly recommend.

  • Dani
    2019-04-23 17:19

    What a great little story. I read this after it being recommended by my Mum. I read it in a day, but it could be read in one sitting. It tells the story of a pilot guided in by another plane during heavy fog in the east of England and has a twist at the end. Well written - a little gem.

  • Ann
    2019-04-23 16:16

    Clever short story with a Christmas theme. The final resolution was not completely surprising, but no less satisfactory for that.

  • Sushant Joshi
    2019-04-19 17:23

    A short story more than a book, but thrilling and entertaining just the same!

  • Blanka Lednická
    2019-03-29 15:56

    Velmi krátká a velmi pěkně napsaná povídka, byť předvídatelná. Navíc s doprovodem velmi pěkných kreseb, což za mě bylo velké plus.

  • Karl Schaeffer
    2019-04-23 14:10

    It's a Christmas Miracle! But with airplanes. Very British. And ghosts. But not like "A Christmas Carol". Christmas in July, except I read it in August. A nice little holiday story.