Let me quell all your doubts regarding reading about massacres, guns pointed at the opposing armies, kind of war if you’re not a fan of blood and gore. The Warramunga’s War written by Greg Kater is the first book in a trilogy that deals mainly with espionage.
Sergeant Jack O’Brien (Jacko) who is half-aboriginal, saves the life of Lieutenant James Munro (Jamie), another Australian army officer while fighting the pro-Nazi Vichy French in Syria and Lebanon using his special ability to detect the direction inherited from his Warramunga side of the family. This formed a lifelong friendship between the two. Jamie who is wounded here gets promoted to captain. He was then given a chance to join the intelligence service based in Cairo. For this, he takes his most trusted person, Jacko. Their task is to infiltrate German intelligence operations. Also, they have to take necessary actions regarding any German agents who are in contact with Rommel’s Afrika Korps. When their mission is accomplished, they return to Australia.
With the end of WW II, Jamie and Jacko are assigned to CIS after being demobilized from the army. Their initial assignment involves the disappearance of two German agents. They chase these agents around Australia. In this journey, they visit many places including Jacko’s hometown witnessing corroboree, a celebration of Australian aboriginals.
Even if war is a heavy topic, and historical fictions are never light reading materials, the author was successful in making it an easy read. There were some heavy topics discussed in the context like sexual assault and murder. These rape cases were presented more like a mystery to be solved, making the readers curious about the murderer.
To make this story more realistic, the author had used some other languages like French in conversations, which was really unfortunate for me as I was not competent in any of these languages. Most of these phrases could be understood from the rest of the conversations.
What I liked most, is the use of humor and romance to make the storyline more interesting and light. Also, I liked the descriptiveness of the author. I could imagine everything in my mind while reading this book. In addition to that, the inclusion of a song author wrote by himself made the story more interesting. Its music sheet is also given.
When you take each and every situation separately, they are very realistic. But, as a whole, I couldn’t believe that all of their endeavors would end in success. Even the slightest misfortunes that fell on them were blessings in disguise. This would have been appropriate to teach kids that good things always happen to good guys and bad guys get punished. But, this is not the reality. So, I didn’t much like that aspect of this fiction.
I’ll have to award this book a 4 out of 4 stars. The story was properly edited. If there were any grammatical errors, those were present only in the conversations and were included on purpose by the author to show the speaker’s inability to speak proper English. I only saw one tiny mistake. In the first page of chapter 33, Jacko had his sister’s dress when she went to rescue her friends, but when she returned, Jamie was the one who threw it at her. Even if being successful always is a little unrealistic, this is not a reason to deduct a star. Other than that, I liked almost everything about it.
I would definitely recommend this book to all the historical fiction fans. Presence of sexual assault in the context might make it a little unsuitable for young readers. But highly detailed descriptions are not given for these situations and throughout the book, the language used is very mild. So, I’m sure it won’t traumatize anyone.