The Flutist of Arnhem: A Story of Operation Market Garden Graphic Novel Review

By Antonio Gil. Published by Dead Reckoning. 

(A review copy was provided by Dead Reckoning.)

This story follows an estranged father and son, John Hewson and Harry Hewson, at different points in World War II as their missions bring them together. John is a Special Operations Executive (SOE) trapped in Holland with important intelligence for the Allies. He is trying to escape Holland despite the Nazis and a Gestapo agent tracking his every move. John barely escapes with his life multiple times and is able to continue only because his information is so important it may turn the tide of the war. Meanwhile, Harry parachutes into Holland with his group and his new mission is to find this SOE, not knowing it is his own father he hasn’t seen in 10 years. 

The twists and turns and near death escapes come fast and frequent. Every page turn holds an ominous threat of an unhappy ending to one if not both of their stories. When all seems lost Harry plays a little number on a flute that his father taught him. His father happens to be nearby and realizes that against all odds this tune is unique to the family and it must be his son. Despite all logic against them this gives both father and son the motivation to finish the mission. 

The Hewson story is great and I was happy that a tale so deeply rooted in the grim reality of war was not overly graphic or depressing. Especially when the research that Gil puts into Operation Market Garden is far more detailed than one book should hold. Maps, troop movements, and even exposition from Montgomery and Eisenhower. While the Hewsons are works of fiction, they walk and battle through facts and become alive themselves. So much so I found myself looking up military records just to be sure they weren’t real. 

The facts are a bit dense for someone unfamiliar with all but the basics for World War II. Those who have studied their history more will instantly know where they are and will appreciate all the work Gil puts in to make the details as accurate as possible. The Hewson story will engage all and plant a seed of curiosity within unschooled readers to learn their history. 

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