"Milly dipped a pen in the bottle of India ink and wrote Tom on the label. She looked at the babies. They moved their arms and legs and made small sounds. Quickly she reached out and tied the label around one of their ankles. The child kicked his legs jerkily and the label fluttered. 'You're Tom,' Milly said. She looked at the other child. 'And you're William.'" A sweeping saga of brothers shaped by the chaos and danger of two world wars, The Navigation Log follows Tom and William, identical twins born as the church bells ring out the armistice of 1918. Largely ignored by their preoccupied mother and adulterous father, the brothers share a close bond through their rambunctious boyhood, even as Tom becomes obsessed with airplanes while William, a burgeoning poet, is drawn to his own internal flights of fancy. By the time the Second World War casts its shadow across England, the boys have largely gone their separate ways. Tom is a Spitfire pilot, entangled in the romantic pursuit of a tempestuous female flier, and William is a teacher at an unorthodox elementary school. The war intensifies, and so do the brothers' differences: As Tom patrols the skies, dogfighting high above the coast of Kent, William accompanies his headmaster, students, and new wife in a lunatic pilgrimage across the bomb-strewn countryside below. It is only when they separately approach the majestic Canterbury Cathedral that the twins' paths explosively converge one last, unforgettable time. Marking the debut of a masterly storyteller, The Navigation Log brilliantly conjures a vanished Britain with affection, humor, and lyricism that comes close to elegy. From the Hardcover edition.