The year is 1918, during the final chaotic months of World War One where three pilots must each confront their personal demons in the skies over France and Belgium. Nathan Fleming, fleeing from Chicago's slaughterhouses, is a volunteer officer in the Royal Flying Corps, struggling to overcome his working-class origins. His newfound friend, Billy Teal, is a wealthy Southerner and gifted pilot who cleverly conceals his insanity and murderous intent. Across the lines, they face Leutnant Stefan Dietzel, a disillusioned ace of the Imperial German Air Service, separated from his dying wife and tasked with molding a forgotten group of young pilots. The three fight to survive in the high arena-where the average lifespan is three weeks-and on the ground, where they touch the lives of those whose paths they cross: Rawlings, the alcoholic commanding officer living with daily fear. Blake, the meddling sergeant who sees everything. Caroline Stanhope, an upper-class young woman shattered by the war who falls in love with Fleming. And Rudi Reiter, a renegade German pilot and Dietzel's closest friend. Madness, compassion, and fate collide with tragic consequences on the war's final day, creating a legacy of guilt and redemption that must be reconciled 20 years later. Meticulous researched and historically accurate, A Season for Ravens is a fast-paced novel recounting the first aerial war-where sudden death is deemed an acceptable gamble.
|Publisher:||Outskirts Press, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.79(d)|
About the Author
Will Ottinger is a lifelong enthusiast and collector of World War One aviation. He has owned a training/consulting company for the past 20 years and is semi-retired. Previously, he published a book on the art of military miniatures. He and his wife now live in Houston, Texas.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Season for Ravens based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Reviewed by Raanan Geberer for Readers' Favorite The fabled air battles of World War I have a tendency to be romanticized, and even satirized as in the popular 1960s song, Snoopy and the Red Baron. But Will Ottinger, in his historical novel A Season for Ravens, not only makes the lives of those pioneering pilots realistic, he takes readers behind the scenes – on both sides. On the German side, he focuses on Lt. Stefan Dietzel and his training officer, Sgt. Rudolf Reiter. Both know they need more victories before the Americans enter the war, and both have to explain the death of a general’s son who was one of their pilots. On the Allied side, Ottinger focuses on two American volunteers in the Royal Flying Corps — Nathan Fleming and Billy Teal. Fleming is a working-class Irish-American who once worked in the stockyards and who becomes infatuated with a British nurse. Teal, who comes from a genteel Southern family, is a psychopathic sadist who sees the war as a game. Every once in a while, he’s overcome by what he calls “the worm” — the urge to kill. And he doesn’t target only the enemy. Ottinger’s characters in A Season for Ravens are fascinating and believable. We see how the pilots on both sides are more alike than they would care to admit — most of them mainly want to survive. Above all, Ottinger demonstrates for us how air technology, which was barely out of its cradle when the war began, had to jump-start during the war. We even meet Anthony Fokker, whose factory turned out some of the most lethal German flying machines of the war. Ottinger clearly knows his fighter planes and how they handled in flight. For World War I aficionados and for fans of historical fiction in general, A Season for Ravens is a must.
I have read military history and fictional literature for many years. This is a unique work. There is more concentration on the character development than on the course of the war. This is refreshing. How these characters react to the beginning use of the airplane in combat shows the author's true understanding of the Great War and its effect on all participants. I hope this work is the beginning of a long series. History presented this way will help generations learn how the world was changed in that short time period of conflict.
Started reading this thinking I may not be able to fully appreciate it given that I am sadly deficient in my war knowledge, however the author paints such a humanistic look at this piece of WWI, I lost myself inthe story line and the eclectic mix of characters. One of the more interesting pieces of historical fiction I have read- highly recommend!!!