Flying Boats and Spies: a Nick Grant Adventure by Jamie Dodson


Early Review

Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 240

RAC Book: Yes

Nick Grant is living in 1935 during a very difficult time in U.S. history. His father’s business has been so drastically hurt by the depression that he has had to leave town to look for work. Nick is sixteen and desperate to help his mother pay the mortgage. When he hears about a boat hiring men to help build Pan American Airways, a series of places across the Pacific for planes to use in order to cross the Pacific, he jumps at the chance and leaves without telling his mother. Of course, Nick doesn’t tell them his real age or they would never have hired him.

During his travels he experiences espionage, storms, and even a chance to fly with Pan Am pilots. He works harder than he could have ever imagined he could and enjoys every minute. The entire time he is running from an unknown enemy who seems to anticipate his every move. He fears telling anyone about the man following him for fear that he is being paranoid.

This adventure story is fun and packed with drama, suspense, and even historical knowledge. Real people and places make appearances in the book to help set the scene in a way that young readers will be able to see what it was like in the Pacific in 1935. Any adventure readers will enjoy the retro writing style, but boys especially will enjoy the adventure and will be able to identify with Nick Grant as he struggles through adolescence.

23 Responses to “Flying Boats and Spies: a Nick Grant Adventure by Jamie Dodson”

  1. 1 Jamie Dodson May 21, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Hey, Y’all from Alabama!

    I hope you like my first Nick Grant Adventure! The publisher wants Nick Grant’s sequel, “The China Clipper” by the end of the summer.

    So, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please stop by my website ( and click on the ‘email me’ link. I’d love to hear from you.

    Cheers! jd
    Huntsville, Alabama

  2. 2 Rev. Evan G. Butterbrodt May 21, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Flying Boats & Spies is well written and, packed with adventure. Jamie Dodson combined world history, skullduggery, and espionage seamlessly. The intended audience is young adult, but older readers may find the book hard to put down. The story has a thread of morality that weaves its way throughout the adventure with a subtle lesson for all. The reader yearns for the next Nick Grant adventure.

  3. 3 Rev. Evan G. Butterbrodt May 21, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    “Flying Boats & Spies is well written and, packed with adventure. Jamie Dodson combined world history, skullduggery, and espionage seamlessly. The intended audience is young adult, but older readers may find the book hard to put down. The story has a thread of morality that weaves its way throughout the adventure with a subtle lesson for all. The reader yearns for the next Nick Grant adventure.”

  4. 4 John J. Skawski May 21, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    A must read for anyone (especially teens) who love action and suspense, while learning about real 1930’s Pacific planes and vessels. Clean fun and appropriate for all who love excitement!!!

  5. 5 Joe Connaughton May 21, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Fantastic book! Historically accurate. Young folks will love it. They’ll anxiously await the sequel. Nick Grant will capture their imagination and become a role model for many.

  6. 6 John R Carnell May 22, 2008 at 1:56 am

    An action packed, meticulously researched thriller, combining espionage, high adventure and well developed characters. Truly on the Griffin and Clancy level. A great read!

  7. 7 H.C Lawrence Smith May 22, 2008 at 4:35 am

    Many men of my generation grew up reading the adventure stories centered on WW-II teen heroes, involving U-Boats, Spies, and public service, the Male “Nancy Drew” fiction, which allowed each of us to become the Adventurer. Flying Boats and Spies is a direct link to back to days spent curled in a corner of an armchair, or late at night propped up in bed trying to stop my elbow from going to sleep. The book has substance. I have walked and lived where Nick and the Clippers were based, I was stationed on Ford Island, and I’ve been to Wake and Midway Islands, as a child I flew on PAN AM. Most importantly, the story is delightfully entertaining, simple but not confusing with real facts, and for me was just the thing to read on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, on leave from Iraq. When dozing one could dream of being on a PANAM Clipper, for about two seconds. When the grandchild gets of age, he will enjoy this, and all the others that will follow.
    CAPT H.C.L. Smith USN (ret) Baghdad, Iraq.

  8. 8 Mary Taylor May 22, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    A great read. The author has done a great job showing the character Nick as a young man in a world of adults.

  9. 9 Louis May 22, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Citizenship, morality, adversity, hard work, romance and adventure: it’s all there in Jamie Dodson’s Flying Boats and Spies—a rollicking young adult story of a teen-ager in the depression ridden thirties.

  10. 10 Ron Clendenny, Software Engineer May 22, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    This book was a fast, fun read. Written in the tradition of the Hardy Boys, it combines the elements we all enjoyed as young teens ourselves – adventure, intrigue and multiple modes of transportation. To add to the fun, it factually describes an exciting period of aviation history using real-life places and real-life people. The companion website is fantastic, providing additional maps and photos of the real characters in the book. I, as many men I know, owe my career, sense of adventure and the knowledge that hard work and engineering can accomplish great things to these sorts of books. “Flying Boats and Spies” continues that important task of inspiring youths of all ages.

  11. 11 Eric Skawski May 22, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    “Flying Boats and Spies”- A wonderfully written, suspense filled novel, which is not at all predictable and keeps you on your toes throughout the story. You will be taken through an epic adventure of the struggle of a young man in the 1930’s pre WWII age. Grant’s struggle to come out on top in a much bigger military operation then that is revealed right away!

  12. 12 Nicholas P. (Nick) Grant May 23, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    “There I was, Nick Grant, immersed in a vibrant, exciting heart pounding adventure meeting persons, places and events of history at the turn of every page. We can only hope that the last page of Flying Boats & Spies is the beginning of the next and more Nick Grant adventures. Thanks Jamie for the thrilling read!”

    I really am Nick Grant, Brigadier General Retired, Pilot and Intelligence Officer

  13. 13 Annie Laura Smith May 23, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    The reader sees this compelling adventure in Flying Boats & Spies through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Nick Grant during the prelude to World War II in the Pacific. Nick takes the reader through his journey aboard the S.S. North Haven to the Pacific Islands. He’s caught up in a deadly game as Japanese spies try to thwart Pan Am’s mission to establish bases on these islands for their flying boats.

  14. 14 Jon Anderson May 26, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Those of us who grew up reading the “Hardy Boys” series will appreciate Jamie Dodson’s work – and your kids will love it! We’re looking forward to many sequels.

  15. 15 Susan Spain May 26, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    In Nick Grant, the reader gets a taste of Mickey Spillane, a young Chuck Yeager, and Charlie Chan, all rolled into one. But a gripping climax reveals the true Nick–a memorable hero in his own right. A fun read for lovers of adventure and international intrigue!
    Susan Rosson Spain, Author of THE DEEP CUT, critically acclaimed by Booklist in a STARRED review. Marshall Cavendish, 2006.

  16. 16 Tracy McMahan, Space Historian May 27, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    This book makes history come alive. Young readers will appreciate the suspense and the action-packed plot. Flying Boats & Spies takes them on a wild ride back to this important and thrilling time in early aviation history.

  17. 17 Michael Dobson May 27, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    This is a fun, well-researched, and well-paced YA novel in the tradition of the old Stratemeyer Syndicate series like the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift. I look forward to the next installment…here’s hoping we meet “Lucky” Lindbergh!

  18. 18 L. Chamberlain, US Army Soldier, Retired May 27, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Having started my military career in Hawaii, the Pacific Theatre comes to life through Jamie Dodson’s words. I wouldn’t limit this book to only teens but to all with a passion for travel and excitement! Mahalo Mr. Dodson!

  19. 19 C. M. Fleming June 4, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Flying Boats and Spies is an edge-of-your-seat ride. I predict that we are going to hear more from Nick Grant and author Jamie Dodson. And I, for one, can’t wait.

  20. 20 Dr John Niemela June 15, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Flying Boats & Spies immediately captured my interest due to its fast pace,
    technical sophistication and historical context. The vital importance of
    the pre WWII mission, to establish a line of seaplane bases across the
    Pacific, is the context for the adventure. Jamie Dodson’s book sets the
    stage for challenging sequels for the maturing Nick Grant.

    Dr John Niemela, retired engineer with some understanding of technology, aviation and security.

  21. 21 ji=3 July 15, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I am a teen reader and when my mom bought me the book I didn’t think I would like it. Once I started it I couldn’t put it down and I finished it that day. This book deserves to be on your bookshelves next to Harry Potter and Eragon.

  22. 22 Dan McConnell August 13, 2008 at 1:12 am

    I have just completed what I hope is the first instalment of many Nick Grant Adventures. I am substantially older than the recommended age group for this novel, but found it to be a time transport to my youth. I have read many a “Boys Life” magazine while growing up and read of adventures in far off places. Flying Boats & Spies took me back to that time and place.

  23. 23 Mark Quantock, COL US Army January 20, 2009 at 3:00 am

    A thoroughly enjoyable read for the young and young at heart! The action is unrelenting, the visuals clear, and the characters entirely believeable. Sit by the fire place with a hot cup of chocolate and enjoy the ride! Thanks Jamie for transporting me back to my “mis-spent” youth. For a few hours I was 17 – imagining all the possibilities. Well done!

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