Sunday, 15 March 2015

Meet Mike Holland, First Officer on the Kestrel

Mike Holland is the First Officer of The Kestrel and Captain Darrow's right hand man – but not for long. The unusual thing about the Flight of the Kestrel series is that some of the crew change, during a book or in between books. It is the nature of the work in PACT's Fast Response fleet, that crewmen move between ships and sometimes leave the service and move on to other things. There are enough constant characters to keep readers happy, but it adds to the tension when they don't know who will stay or go.

At the beginning of the Kestrel series, Mike Holland is leaving, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't make an impact. He has been on the Kestrel for 5 years, working with Captain Joseph Darrow. It was Darrow who promoted him to First Officer, and recommended him for his own command.

Holland has the traditional hero looks - tall, dark and handsome. Darrow has used this to advantage on occasion, because when he and Holland stand together, people can easily mistake Holland for the Captain. But Holland is not cocky, he has taken the time to learn all he can from his crewmates.

He has also taken the time to get to know the crew, which can be a double-edged sword. You can't be friends and their commanding officer too. When he leaves, his replacement finds it hard because the crew are used to a softer approach.

He has been promoted to Captain, and due to take over the Falcon, but there is one last mission, and what they discover means he has to take over sooner so the Kestrel can go on a dangerous mission – without him. So we hardly get to know Holland before he is gone.

His leaving puts Captain Darrow in a tricky spot, because there is no one available to replace him. Either he should stay with the Kestrel, or the Kestrel should be withdrawn from patrol until another First Officer is found. But Admiral Keever insists that Holland is needed on the Falcon and Darrow and the Kestrel are needed on this vital mission.

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