Nicholas Christopher   Franklin Flyer  
Nicholas Christopher  
Read an essay by Nicholas Christopher

Read an Interview with Nicholas Christopher

Listen to Nicholas Christopher read from Franklin Flyer

Read 3 poems from Nicholas Christopher's Atomic Field

Read an Excerpt from Franklin Flyer

Read an Excerpt from Franklin Flyer


Franklin Flyer is the glamorous and eponymous hero of Nicholas Christopher's fourth novel. A worldly inventor, Franklin takes us with him on a thrilling journey that begins with the market crash of '29, continues on an international path strewn with the detinatious machinations that will lead to World War II, and continues into the 21st century with detours to Lisbon, Gibraltar, the Deep South, bluesy Chicago, and Rita Hayworth's Hollywood. Rita is just one of a great cadre of womanly and mysterious heroines whose paths intersect with our hero's on his quest through the mysterious labyrinth that is his life.

As Franklin's travels lead him from fascination to intrigue and adventure, he comes across a battery of the greatest and the lowliest characters of the 1930s and '40s from Franklin Roosevelt, "Wild Bill" Donovan of the OSS and Josephine Baker in her days as an agent for the Free French to fanatical fascists and the malevolent scientists in their pay and murderous racists on their way to congressional seats. Franklin is an inventor, and each new creation leads him deeper into the war as he advances the Allies' technology and uncovers enemy plots. He also finds the time to fall in love with women who love and strengthen him and also one would-be fatale named Pamela LeTrue who, from bubblegum to stillettos, is always attired in chic ensembles of the color orange.

Franklin Flyer is a neo-noir in its themes of crime and destruction, but it is also a great American novel about the reach of one man who battles evil for the sake of freedom and the dignity of individual human rights. Christopher's hero and heroines don't have easy lives or simple paths, but their choices and their actions possess an integrity that stands up in conflict. As Christopher says in Franklin Flyer, "Every man invents, not just his particular works, but his own life, with consequences intended and accidental; the question of whether that mortal invention made the most of the material offered up by birth and circumstance, and also pleased its creator on the deepest level, only he could answer in the end."

In this issue of Bold Type, you will find an exclusive essay written by Nicholas Christopher on the noir themes in Franklin Flyer as well as a conversation with him. You can listen as Christopher reads an excerpt from Franklin Flyer as well as three poems from his collection Atomic Field. You will also find the opening chapter of Franklin Flyer, the introduction to Somewhere in the Night, Film Noir and the American City and a host of photos of real people and events that appear in Franklin Flyer.

--Catherine McWeeney

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  Photo credit: Marion Ettlinger

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