A tautly paced and multifaceted
tale of humanity and the power of compassion…
The Prairies Book Review
Dave Mason’s moving WWII novel takes place in the past and the present, as a once-idealistic biotech CEO stumbles into a seventy-four-year-old mystery that connects her to the past and changes her future forever.
The chance discovery of a small piece of corroded metal beneath the surface of a Norwegian glacier sets things in motion, and the ensuing investigation leads to identification of a Royal Canadian Air Force plane that vanished in 1945. When Seattle-based biotech executive Alison Wiley learns that her long-lost grandfather Squadron Leader Jack Barton’s missing aircraft has been found, she joins government of Canada investigator Scott Wilcox in a quest to discover the truth about its disappearance. What she uncovers is something far beyond her imagination.
The story is at its most powerful when Mason weaves in a young child’s harrowing experiences in a Nazi research facility. Through the straightforward account of her sufferings, he reveals, as if in a deposition, the shock of unimaginable physical and mental trauma. The plotline involving the child heightens the tension, keeping the reader thoroughly invested in the story. And though Jack Barton is one of the main protagonists and plays a significant role, it’s Major Gunther Graf, a Luftwaffe fighter pilot, who steals the show: he remains a kindly but enigmatic figure throughout the book.
Mason balances the carnage, killing, and fear of war with acts of bravery and compassion, and weaves the characters’ backstories, their individual insecurities, fears, and hopes into a moving narrative that takes the reader through the dangers fighter pilots faced in aerial combat over WWII Europe, and delves into the unspeakable horrors that victims of Nazi camps endured.
In this poignant story, Mason has deftly threaded together a gripping adventure, a history lesson, and a cautionary tale of loss, redemption, and humanity.
A compelling and touching story…
EO-N is Dave Mason’s first novel, and readers should prepare to be impressed.
The graphic designer and co-founder of multiple software companies has written a compelling and touching story. Surprisingly, considering the author’s background, EO-N leaves his familiar tech world behind.
The novel starts with a brief description, “The late afternoon sun warmed her face, the blanket was soft and comforting, and she thought nothing but good thoughts.” However, readers will be left wondering who the girl or woman is when Chapter One begins with a boy, his dog, and a lot of snow and ice. Even though questions are answered throughout the book, readers are often left wondering at the end of the chapters. Instead of being slightly annoying, it helps to draw the readers into the story. In a sense, it mimics real life, when all the answers aren’t immediately apparent.
Dave Mason has tackled several topics in EO-N. It is a story about family and acceptance mingled with history. WWII figures prominently in the book and it highlights the lasting effects the war is still having today. While some liberties have been taken, WWII buffs will appreciate the historical accuracy. This includes military telegrams, squadrons, and the aircraft used during this period in history.
Readers will meet several characters throughout the story. The differences between the various characters are profound but they are also drawn together by a singular discovery on the glacier. Dave Mason expertly brings these characters together in a manner that seems natural, not contrived. It’s a skill few first-time writers can pull off so smoothly.
The amount of research that went into writing EO-N is evident in the fighter scenes. Readers will experience the tension felt by the squadron as it comes under attack and be able to visualize it clearly in their imaginations. “Sixteen more Mosquitos appeared, each rising up in a choreographed aerial ballet before arcing over into their attack dives, each spouting telltale puffs of light grey smoke and streams of bright white tracers as their rockets and cannon shells amplified the annihilation.”
EO-N does jump back and forth in time throughout the chapters. The characters are also often in different countries. At times this can be a little confusing, sending the reader back to clarify which character’s story they are following. However, this doesn’t take away from the novel’s emotional impact on the reader.
Overall, Dave Mason has written a compelling first novel that readers of all ages can identify with. The fact that the novel takes place primarily in Norway and Germany gives it a more historically accurate feel. By the end of EO-N, readers will be eagerly anticipating the author’s second work of historical fiction.
An impressive work by a first-time novelist.
EO-N by Dave Mason is a compelling historical novel where five lives intersect around the brutality of war, greed, and personal choice in different time periods in history--2019 and 1945. These lives include a woman named Alison, who is grieving over the loss of her mother and her precarious position at work; a government investigator named Scott Wilcox; Jack Barton, an arrogant pilot for the Canadian Air Force; Gunther Graf, a major caught in the atrocities of Nazi Germany; and a young girl cruelly used by Nazi researchers. The author plunges you into the hearts of characters that will engage you in their stories.
This is Dave Mason's first novel, and you can feel the fresh talent radiating from the pages and through the characters, situations, and dialogue. The story starts out with a young boy and his dog finding a strange object in the snow, then shifts to Alison, who is dealing with the death of her mother, and goes on to introduce the lives of the other characters, binding them together in a way that is clever and impressive. You'll turn pages quickly to find out what the connections are and how it will all play out. Though the author depicts the horrors of war, he doesn't exploit it. Rather, he shows it realistically and captures the humane side of things too, which is greatly needed whenever writing about such heavy subject matter. The characters are well-rounded, the plot intriguing, and the resolution very satisfactory. It appears that the author did his research for the book, and that really grounds you in the story. I personally like how Mason teases his audience with slight cliffhangers, but then the puzzle comes together and it all makes sense later on, even EO-N. Gunther is a stand-out character for me. EO-N by Dave Mason is an impressive work by a first-time novelist.