By H.P. Oliver
In the opening chapter the reader is introduced to the main protagonist, Edward. J. Markham, whose amazing journal documented an unknown piece of film history involving silent film actress Clara Bow.
Edward Markham’s career began in 1918 as a pilot in the Great War. After demonstrating superior skills while serving in France, he was then posted to California for temporary duty as an instructor of advanced pursuit tactics. When he completed his service to Uncle Sam he then returned to Los Angeles to resume a fledging writing career. Seven years on from the Great War he managed to have several short stories published, two novels proclaimed as best sellers and another completed manuscript and his literacy career looked very promising. He began writing for the major film studios in Los Angeles and this is when he met up with an old army friend once again. Edwards pal, William, or better known as WB, asks for Edwards help in directing a motion picture called, Wings, as Paramount Famous Lasky has given WB around two million dollars to make Wings and the film company expect it to be a an epic War film that will break the box office. Edwards’s job is to aid WB and his crew to help keep an honest and exact account of what happened in the air war over France, the carnage, the destruction and devastation and this is where the real adventure begins. Edward boards a train to San Antonio where the WB and his crew have reconstructed the French Village of Mervale as this will be the main place where they shoot Wings.
Edward is introduced to the rest of the film crew and its cast and meets the leading Lady, Clara Bow, who he immediately judges at face value and turns down her sexual advances. However from here on events take a turn for the worst, when an antique war plane makes an attempt to kill Clara on set and Edward is the only person who goes on to rescue the leading lady from dying. Clara in turn then develops a strong attachment to Edward as he saved her live and then refuses to go anywhere without him. Edward reluctantly agrees to escort Clara back to Hollywood as WB and the film studio want to protect Clara at all costs. However, another attempt is made to kill Clara on their journey back to Hollywood which leads them to conclude that somebody somewhere wants her dead and will go to any extreme to fulfil that mission. As the body count rises and negative speculation soon points towards Edward and Clara’s innocence, they find themselves fleeing to many Landmarks in an attempt to stay conspicuous until they can figure out who wants her dead. In the meantime Edward soon discovers that Clara is not the actress who everyone knows as she reveals another side to Edward as she drops her thick Brooklyn accent and reveals her true intellectual self which leads Edward growing really fond of Clara and struggles to put his feelings to one side while trying to focus on the mission of keeping her safe. However, as further unexpected events unfold they go on to develop a romantic relationship in the process.
Can Edward save Clara from another cold-blooded attempt on her life? And if so, at what cost? Will they discover the shocking truth in time before it’s too late? And will they get a chance of clearing both their good names?
These are many of the questions that prevail frequently throughout the book as the twist and turns keep you guessing the outcome. I couldn’t help falling in love with the deep descriptive landmarks, automobiles and the remarkable era of the early twentieth century and recommend the wonderful visualizations that depict this era on H.P. Oliver’s website.
As a reader I really did feel part of the landscape and that I had been transported back in a time I found hard to escape or ever forget. This well written remarkable story will stay with me for a long while and I will definitely read more of H.P. Oliver work in the near future.
H.P. Oliver is a genius story-teller as he depicts a significant era, one of which I wish I could be a part of and many other readers will when they read this unforgettable tale or mystery and romance in a time that’s almost forgotten these days.
My reviews Sites:
Amazon & Goodreads