After detainment by the Bureau of Investigation, Arthur Tormes is forced to spy on Hubert Julian. For thirteen years he follows Julian — a parachutist, pilot, and possible seditious threat to the United States. To win his freedom, Arthur must stay close to Julian, from New York City to Ethiopia, often at great personal sacrifice.
Against a backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia, a young man tails Hubert Julian — a pilot, inventor, adventurer, charlatan, and possible threat to America.
Facing an attempted murder charge, seventeen-year-old Arthur Tormes is in no position to refuse when a federal agent named Riley Triggs offers him a deal: all charges get dropped and Arthur goes free if he agrees to help the Bureau with a problem.
That problem is Hubert Julian, a.k.a. the Black Eagle of Harlem: inventor, pilot, parachutist, daredevil, charlatan, and one of the most extraordinary and popular figures of the Harlem Renaissance. For Triggs, it’s the popularity that makes Julian a serious threat to the well-being of America. To win his freedom, Arthur begins a spying mission that will occupy the next thirteen years of his life, taking him from 1920s New York City to Ethiopia on the verge of war — often at great personal cost. In the end, while America remains safe, Arthur Tormes’s fate is less certain.