Published: Expected 19 May 2021
Publisher: Dead Reckoning
Series: Stand Alone
Format Read: Digital Copy
In October 1943, all the Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents in Holland are captured by the Germans, except one, John Hewson, a.k.a. “Boekman,” is the most dangerous agent to the German occupiers, with vital information about the German army, Boekman escapes the clutches of the S.S. and stays hidden until the start of the largest airborne operation in World War II: Operation Market Garden. When the SOE learn that Boekman is still alive, and that his estranged son, Harry, is on the ground fighting in Market Garden, Harry is tasked with organizing a small commando unit to rescue Boekman and try to escape through the German siege. The Battle of Arnhem unfolds day by day as father and son search for each other amidst the chaos of war and the dogged pursuits of a cruel Gestapo agent.
Having got a lot to learn about events of W.W.2 and updating my ignorance on all things related to Dutch history, I jumped at the chance of doing so with a book that was available for request on Net Galley. I even got Milou to request it too so we could attempt it as a partner read. Sadly this did not work out for the both of us. Should you be interested in some of the reasons you can go read my wife’s more in depth review here. Milou and I have walked the annual Airborn Museum in Arnhem’s commemoration a few times now and are very much aware of most of the things that happend in and around the area. The city or town Milou grew up in has a commemoration of it’s own each year to pay tribute to the events that lead up in The Netherlands signing a declaration of independence with German occupants on 5 May 1945. It is an amazing thing to be part of and I respect a country for putting so much effort in commemorating and reminiscing the past in such a way in celebration of each person’s freedom. We owe it all to the brave people that gave their lives back then.
Enter The Flutist of Arnhem. A great idea to do very much the same, but falling short by some degrees. Where I was looking for the actual flutist to arrive in the story I got bombarded by facts and insights that had little to do with the flutist at all…
Now look I appreciate the extent of the lengths the artist and story writer went to give me some form of info, but this kind of story telling might have been done better if it was done in a different form. I found the art really great to look at and was immediately taken out of the story with these types of speech bubbles and convoluted way of story telling. This was more Novel than graphic novel for me to handle. Even having only finished it last night, I can’t really remember what happened. Milou also informed me that the map stating where Arnhem is located was not accurate. As a person semi new to The Netherlands I would not have minded this oversight, but a true “Dutchy” might get really pissed of by things like this. Apart from inconsistencies on maps there were also grammatical mistakes and translations that did not match, even after the author thanks people for helping him with those, surely you have given thought to the fact that if you are going to use those translations, be sure that the nations involved give it a read and make sure that it all is accurate before going to print, at least they have till 19 May to make proper arrangements.
I am sorry to say but Flutist got a 2 out of 5 from me. I respect the author’s attempt at bringing homage to heroes of WW2, but I feel that it missed the mark by a long shot if you do not mind my attempt at war puns…