Born in England and raised in Canada, Dave Mason is a former diamond core driller and high school football coach, an internationally recognized graphic designer and a Fellow of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, co-founder of Cusp Conference, and a cofounder of a number of software companies including OpinionLab and PowerPlayer.
He divides his time between Chicago, Illinois, and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
EO-N is his first novel.
“But who knows, eh? Maybe just one good act, by one man, can make a difference, even in the face of the most overwhelming odds.”
Without a doubt, it is always a positive sign when you get so immersed in a story that you cannot bear to put the book down to sleep. Plus, when you highlight so many remarkable passages throughout the narrative that you determine that you might as well highlight the entire book. When this happens, and when your emotions are on overdrive, swirling and diving through the story like an EO-N, a de Haviland Mosquito flown during WWII, tears are shed, your heart pumps wildly with joy and sadness, and you are angered by all the sheer brutality in the world, especially at the hands of the Nazis, then the author has done his job. Now is the time to give a standing ovation, not once, not twice, but at least five times, and tell everyone about the incredible masterpiece presented to the literary world by Dave Mason.
In the world of historical fiction, the range of time periods stretch from the beginning of time to the present, and many authors have presented their stories of the horrors of World War II, thus giving readers a vast ocean to choose from... yes, nowadays we are flooded with WWII novels. But every once in a while, in wading through the selections, you come across a work of utter literary genius. This is not just historical fiction, this is literature, in all its raw, sometimes visceral, moving, touching, heart-wrenching, visual, emotional, lush, brutal, beautiful, cinematic, and as-real-as-a-book-can-get pages.
The characters are so well-developed, I sometimes felt as if I were reading a diary, or a documentary about this incredible untold story in history... about two enemies, two pilots from opposite sides of the conflict, coming together in the most unexpected way... a way that might change history. At least it changes the history for one little girl.
And the story is so deep and far-reaching, their actions stretching through time as you meet the Canadian fighter pilot's granddaughter who is thrust into the search for the answers behind her grandfather's disappearance over seventy years ago when a young boy discovers the wreckage of a Mosquito buried deep in a glacier in Norway. And if that little bit of introduction to the story doesn't grab you right from the start and have you running to buy this book, well, then you are truly missing out on one of those rare stories that will stay with you for days... maybe weeks, possibly forever.
And I cannot even begin to say anything about the little girl who is the thread through this entire book. When she is introduced, your heart immediately is drawn to her... this tiny fighter who is determined to survive... the little girl with the blue number tattoo on her arm. I can't say more without bursting into tears... you just have to read the book to hear her story, and of the brave men who gave her a life beyond the barbed wire.
When I read books like this I am always amazed how history repeats itself, and how the brutalities of WWII and the horrific experimentation of Nazi doctors, and the destruction of innocent people's lives fail to teach anything. We still live in a world of hatred, violence, and war... and always will until the ultimate solution to man's problems is achieved.
Until then, books like this are a stark reminder of man's inhumanity to man... but also, how one simple act of kindness can create a ripple effect which reaches across borders and across time. No, it will not change the world, but it might change the life of one person, or two, or three... or more, which this story seeks to portray, and does so with great success. So often an author's greatest desire is to tell a story which speaks a profound message of hope, love, family, and bravery... and most often misses the mark. This is not one of those “miss-the-mark” novels; this is a masterpiece worthy of an Oscar, and I am putting in my vote now for this to be made in to a movie as soon as possible. Until then, I urge everyone to get a copy and read this book, especially in light of the current world news.
Here are a just a few of my favorite passages, and believe me, if I included all of them in this review, I'd have at least five pages.
Without really knowing why, she brought the impersonal document close to her face. She closed her eyes, thinking for just a second that she might somehow detect some remnants of humanity there, some sense of sadness or loss. But as she knew it would, the paper just smelled old.
She'd known that Jack Barton was her grandfather, but she'd really only known him as a character from a distant and almost forgotten childhood story, never as a flesh and blood human being. She'd understood him to be a once-real person, to be sure, but he'd been no more real to her than Marie Curie or George Washington. But when Scott Wilcox had called and explained what had been found on a Norwegian glacier, she'd felt it – connection. And obligation. The grinning young man in that old black-and-white photograph had reminded her of his existence. And his loss.
And he was losing whatever was left of himself. All the years of risking his life, seeing his friends plummet to their deaths or be burned alive or torn apart in their shattered aircraft – and all of the killing and maiming he'd done in pursuit of the wrong things – had taken their toll. He knew he'd continue to decline unless something changed soon. He needed to get back to his wife and daughter. He need to stop dying.
“EO-N” by Dave Mason receives five stars from The Historical Fiction Company and the “Highly Recommended” award.