cover image Sons of the Morning

Sons of the Morning

DeWitt S. Copp, Author W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (253p) ISBN 978-0-393-03035-8

Copp's ( A Matter of Concealment ) solid research fleshes out this fast-paced but strained historical adventure tinged with a suggestion of the supernatural. In 1939, French Canadian bush pilot Rene Montour realizes that the American fossil-hunting team he was to fly back from a bivouac in Quebec has drowned in a sudden storm on remote Lake Tissinabi. A timber wolf literally drops team head John Dowd's diary at Rene's feet; in it, Rene finds a curious diagram with a word he recognizes as ``gold.'' Certain the team had discovered treasure, he pockets the diary and plans to return to Tissinabi, but WW II erupts and he is obliged to enter the Royal Canadian Air Force. When he is shot down in Europe, the diary changes hands, variously scrutinized by an Allied intelligence agent, the Gestapo (who think it's a code book), a German nuclear scientist, a Berlin madam, a conniving American foundation executive, the agent (again) and Dowd's own daughter--transfers effected by invoking more than one deus ex machina. The actual message from the diary, revealed on the last page, proves anticlimactic. (Jan.)