Phantoms of the Shah

Book Cover

ACTION ADVENTURE POLITICAL WAR HISTORICAL FICTION

1960s & '70s

Dana Duthie

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Logline

The deployment of an American F-4 Phantom squdron to Iran. Initially focuses on training with Iranian Air Force. Iranina Moslem dissidents riot against the Shah and hold 14 Americans hostage. Their rescue is basis for the action in the book.

Genre

Action,Adventure,Political,War,Historical Fiction

Short Summary

The 10th Tactical Fighter Squadron is one of three F-4 Phantom squadrons based at Hahn Air Base in West Germany during the Cold War. The squadron trains for nuclear and conventional bombing, as well as air to air combat. They deploy to Shiraz, Iran to train side by side with the Iranian Air Force


The hero, Brad Mitchell, returns to Shiraz to fly the last F-4 out after maintenance problems, and to help rescue the Americans being held hostage by the radical muslims. The squadron, supported by F-15s from Bitburg, Germany, and a team of SEALs from the Navy, mounts an airstrike against the base

Setting

Germany, Iran

Based on a True Story

No

Plot - Premise

Other

Plot - Other Elements

Happy Ending,Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Language/Profanity

Main Character Details

Name: Brad Mitchell

Age: 31

Gender: Male

Role: Logical

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aggressive,Confident,Decisive,Flexible,Heroic,Honorable,Masculine,Patriotic,Skillful

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Development Pitch

The deployment of an American F-4 Phantom squdron to Iran. Initially focuses on training with Iranian Air Force. Iranina Moslem dissidents riot against the Shah and hold 14 Americans hostage. Their rescue is basis for the action in the book. The 10th Tactical Fighter Squadron is one of three F-4 Phantom squadrons based at Hahn Air Base in West Germany during the Cold War. The squadron trains for nuclear and conventional bombing, as well as air to air combat. They deploy to Shiraz, Iran to train side by side with the Iranian Air Force just before the radical muslims take over the country. The hero, Brad Mitchell, returns to Shiraz to fly the last F-4 out after maintenance problems, and to help rescue the Americans being held hostage by the radical muslims. The squadron, supported by F-15s from Bitburg, Germany, and a team of SEALs from the Navy, mounts an airstrike against the base in Shiraz. Though not without casualties, the hostages are rescued and the squadron escapes just prior to the takeover of Iran, and the ousting of the Shah.

About The Author

Colonel Dana Duthie had a 24 year US Air Force career after graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 1968. He had assignments as a flight school instructor after his own pilot training, followed by a tour as a Forward Air Controller in Southeast Asia, flying the OV-10 in combat. After that, he was posted in Germany flying the F-4 Phantom, and South Carolina, Korea and Germany flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon. He also had staff duty at the Tactical Air Command headquarters, the USAF Europe headquarters, and the Pentagon. Although the action in “Phantoms” is fiction, many of the experiences are based on Colonel Duthie’s tour in Germany flying the F-4 Phantom and a trip his squadron took to Iran. He currently lives in Broomfield and Steamboat Springs, Colorado with his wife of 51 years. Two children and three grandchildren are nearby. A fourth grandson is in the Navy stationed on a nuclear aircraft carrier in the Pacific.

Target Audiences

Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

Target Gender: Male Leaning

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: Matchstick Literary

Year Published: 2020

Hard Copy Available

Yes

ISBN

978-1648586804

Genre

ACTION, WAR, POLITICS

Brief

Right before the Iranian Revolution, tension is high as the shah clings to power. American troops deployed in the area as tasked with a rescue mission. Brad Mitchell, a skilled fighter pilot must help save 14 hostages from radical Muslim insurgents.

Overall Rating

FAIR

Point of View

FIRST PERSON

Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: FAIR

Characterization: FAIR

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: EXCELLENT

Pace: FAIR

Premise: GOOD

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

The book profile's logline, summary and development pitch do reflect the narrative. It might be beneficial to add more character details to differentiate this book from others in the series. There is a possible typo of "Iranian" in the logline.

Draw of Story

The tension behind the troops being in Shiraz to politically back the Shah versus the turmoil of the cultural shift of the radicals is complicated and compelling.

Possible Drawbacks

The situation takes a while to build in the first act, especially due to the large cast of characters needing introductions and dynamics to be established. The momentum picks up as the conflict becomes clearer but perhaps clarifying the conflict earlier and developing subplots later in the structure may make things easier to follow.

Use of Special Effects

THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that the American fighter pilots must rescue 14 hostages from Iran with the help of Germany. It is high octane tension with uncertainty not in the ability of the crew but in the unpredictability of the radicals.

Fanbase Potential

This could potentially plug in well to the military action fans both military families and or a male leaning action group of fans. The rescue goal could expand the audience to be larger due to its moral nobility and somewhat happy ending.

Awards Potential

This is unlikely to have much awards potential as the characters must focus on the mission and there are too many to develop large character arcs that would garner prestige nominations. The nominations would also be constrained by the action genre, although technical aspects could gain some attention such as sound mixing.

Envisioned Budget

LARGE BUDGET

Similar Films/TV Series

ARGO, TOP GUN, JACK RYAN, 13 HOURS, SEPTEMBER OF SHIRAZ, ZERO DARK THIRTY

What’s New About the Story

The originality stems from the setting's tension adding to the conflict of the goal and the close heroic teamwork of Brad's team.

Lead Characters

Brad is authoritative and proactive. Jani is knowledgeable and direct.

Uniqueness of Story

The goal is easy to follow once it is established but characters could be further developed to strengthen emotional investment.

Possible Formats

Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming TV Series: Network, Cable

Analyst Recommendation

WORK IN PROGRESS

Justification

While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

Focusing on the conflict early on instead of world building will help clarify who are the main players and which characters are meant to be side characters so the proper emotional investment if upheld and sustained throughout the main conflict development. This could help streamline the importance of the subplots versus other side characters and make keeping track of the large cast easier.