Three Women, Three Mentors, One Plane

One of the things that I look for in a book is what I call the ‘Wow’ factor, some aspect that sets a book apart from the pack. His Edge has that ‘Wow’ factor. Billed as a semi-autobiographical novel it is a cracking read. As a part time investigative journalist the semi-autobiographical aspect grabbed me, and I have to admit that I spent a good deal of time trying to fillet out the truth from the fiction. I walked away with no firm findings, the entire plot is highly plausible, and therefore does not give its secrets up easily.

The story opens in the waning days if the Second World War, Waite Davis is a Naval Aviator honing his skills as a fighter pilot. The end of hostilities represent a watershed for Waite, he loves to fly, but is unsure that remaining in the Navy is what he wants to do. He is also being pressured to give up flying altogether and rejoin the family hardware business. To trade the thrill and freedom of flying for the tedium of selling nuts and bolts weighs heavily on Waite.

Waite’s solution comes from an unlikely event, his near demise. While flying with another plane they encounter a thunderhead, the weather is so bad the other plane goes down, through sheer grit and determination Waite survives, and it is this superb piece of airmanship that opens the door for him to become a test pilot for the Walker Aircraft Company.

A test pilot’s job sounds glamorous, however it is also very dangerous. The possibility of death is more of a ‘when’ than an ‘if’. Waite is drawn inexplicably to one particular experimental fighter plane nicknamed The Brain. The fact that previous incarnations of The Brain have claimed two lives does not dull is ardor. Waite is bound and determined to discover the secrets on this widow maker.

We are also now in the early days of what was to become the Cold War, and there are certainly indications in this book that as early as 1947 the war was already well underway.

The subtitle Three Women, Three Mentors, One Plane is an interesting one, the three woman refers to three young ladies that Waite met along the way and each in their own way stole a piece of his heart. Once again though they represented a challenge, to commit himself would mean hanging up his flight suit. The risk of death was too great for a marriage to survive.

The three mentors refers to the three men in his life that gave him guidance and courage. Although a daredevil Waite is also a deeply spiritual man with some very deep seated beliefs.

His Edge by Wayne Harding is well worth reading, I enjoyed it from cover to cover. I mentioned earlier that the book is semi-autobiographical, and I am sure that some of you are thinking “but these events happened more than 60 years ago”. Well let me share a secret with you Wayne Harding is 87 years young. I for one wish that he had started writing years ago, he has a rare talent for story telling.

You can pick up your copy of His Edge from Amazon. Wayne also has a web site.

Update: I generally do not read other peoples reviews of books. However I was on Amazon getting the link to the book and came across this review, I cannot help but include it.

GREAT book! Hard to put down, easy to read and full of action. Faith based representing a struggle between biblical principals and evil. If Steven Spielberg were writing and producing movies in the 1940s – he would pick this plot. OK – now the disclaimer – I’m the author’s son – but would have loved it no matter who wrote it!

Simon Barrett

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