4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Skills of the Warramunga is the third book in the Warramunga Trilogy by author Greg Kater. Set in 1946 Malaya, the plot of this intriguing historical fiction includes kidnapping, theft, and murder.
When the MI6 head of operations, Colonel Johnny Cook is kidnapped by bandits and held captive in the jungles of Malaya, his Australian colleagues make it their mission to rescue him. The three men had previously worked together running an intelligence operation in Cairo, in 1941. Jamie Munro is a former army officer, and he and his friend Jack O'Brien, who is half-Aboriginal, now head Darwin's Commonwealth Investigation Service. As they head to rescue Johnny, they are joined by Sarah, Jacko's half-sister, who is a Warramunga Aboriginal and a skilled tracker.
Meanwhile, there's been two murders and a robbery at the tin mine near Parit. The whereabouts of the mysterious Pieter de Groote, who reported the crime and is now a suspect, remain unknown. With the increase in recent assaults and burglaries, local law enforcement fears the crimes may be related to rumors about a criminal organization seeking to disrupt the upcoming Malayan Union ceremony. When it's learned that Johnny Cook was kidnapped because he was mistaken for one of the new government administration members, Colonel Samuel Martin, the plot thickens.
There was never a dull moment in this action-packed historical adventure, and I found it hard to put down. As I haven't read the other books in the trilogy, I wondered if the book would stand on its own--it did. The plot was well-written, and the author also intertwined pertinent details from the previous books, The Warramunga's War and The Warramunga's Aftermath of War. Though I usually prefer to read a series in order, this book piqued my interest enough that it's likely I'll go back and read the first two.
The plot is supported by a diverse cast of well-developed characters. I particularly enjoyed the way the author brought his characters to life through the use of their native dialects. Not only could I hear the Aussie and British accents as I read; I was introduced to new vocabulary from different languages, too. I also appreciated the author's occasional use of humor in the story.
The only thing I would change in this book is the use of one word, "lubra." The word is used to introduce Sarah, and by definition, it refers to a female Aboriginal Australian. However, when I looked up the unfamiliar word, I learned that it is considered racially offensive. It's likely the word wasn't offensive in 1946, but it bears noting.
It's evident the book was professionally edited, as I didn't note a single error. I'm pleased to rate this page-turner 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction and action adventures. However, the book would appeal to a broader audience as well. The plot-related violence was not graphic, and there wasn't any profanity.
Skills of the Warramunga
View: on Bookshelves
Like Cecilia_L's review? Post a comment saying so!