A Season for Ravens

Late 1918 above the war-torn fields of France and Belgium during the last months of World War One. Three flyers, two Americans and one German, confront personal demons as the bloody end of the war approaches. Nathan Fleming has fled Chicago’s stockyards, volunteering the Royal Flying Corps. Anxious to overcome his working-class origins, he falls in love with Carolyn Stanhope, an upper-class young woman. Hoping to break through her revulsion of what he sees as duty, they bind closer together despite their beliefs. As he learns the consequences of mistakes and carelessness several miles above the earth, Fleming befriends Billy Teal, a fellow volunteer and wealthy Southerner. A gifted pilot, Teal conceals a murderous secret that no one sees.

Across the frontlines, both are opposed by Leutnant Stephan Dietzel, a disillusioned ace of the Imperial German Air Service. An outcast himself, Dietzel bears an added burden, separated from his dying wife whom he idolizes. Faced with a war that is lost, his Jasta gains a temporary reprieve when they receive the best fighter aircraft of the war. With dwindling resources, he is tasked with molding a group of forgotten young pilots, unable to alter the impossible odds they face.

In the final desperate months of the war, all of their lives alter those whose paths they cross in the air and on the ground: Rawlings, the alcoholic commanding officer living with fear. Blake, the meddling sergeant who see everything. Rudi Reiter, a renegade German pilot and Dietzel’s closest friend. Boldt, the scheming German mechanic who comes to learn the value of loyalty.

Fighting to survive in a high arena where the average lifespan is three weeks, Fleming, Teal and Dietzel collide on the final day of the war with tragic consequences, creating a legacy of guilt and redemption that must be reconciled twenty years later. Meticulously researched, A Season for Ravens is more than a war novel, recounting an era when madness and sudden death were deemed acceptable gambles.

Sample Reviews

“…told in a rich writing style…rings with authenticity. Ottinger’s novel has a genuine “feel” for the American, British, and German characters caught up in the climatic struggles of the final month of the war.”

Peter Kilduff, Book Review Editor, “Over the Front” Journal

“The author’s grasp of World War One aviation creates compelling characters who are true to their time… captured with great historical accuracy… a very insightful read.”

Dr. Preston Russell, author of “Lights of Madness”

“A Season for Ravens was simply a treat… fantastic historical fiction. Five stars!”

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