4 out of 4 stars
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The Warramunga’s War is a historical fiction book written by Greg Kater. The events in the book are inspired by his father’s experiences in the Middle East and some of his own. The book includes actual historical events and figures within its fictional storyline. If you are a fan of Khaled Hosseini or books that are similar to his, you will have a good time reading this one.
The book kicks off in 1941 in Syria, where Corporal Jack O’Brien, who is nicknamed Jacko, rescues an injured Lieutenant James Munro, also known as Jamie, during a fiery battle between the Australian troops and the Nazi Vichy French. Jamie and Jacko quickly become friends and their friendship strengthens when they are transferred to Egypt, in order to help Captain Johnny Cook track down German agents who are in cahoots with Rommel’s Afrika Corps. In Egypt, their seemingly easy mission turns into an unforgettable adventure full of beautiful ladies, dodgy criminals, and breathtaking views.
If you are looking for a good laugh, this is the perfect book for you. The characters, especially Jacko, are funny and a joy to read about. Even Jamie has his moments. For example, one time when he was exhausted, he says, “I’d be just as happy to swag down near the riverbank somewhere. I could sleep on a clothesline in a cyclone tonight.” I had a laughing fit imagining him, with all his muscles, balancing on a clothing line.
Friendship and love are big themes in the book. The author weaves them into the story skillfully through the way the characters interact with each other. Jacko’s and Jamie’s friendship is genuine and a true example of “bromance,” as we say nowadays. Fans of romance will also enjoy witnessing Jacko fall in love with Monique, a beaut he meets while touring Egypt.
A unique aspect of The Warramunga’s War is the diversity of its characters. The book features Aborigines, Germans, Arabs, French men and women, Americans and many others! The author does a good job of portraying the characters' accents and native languages in the book. So, if you are open-minded and interested in picking up a few French words and phrases like I did, consider giving this book a try.
My main criticism of the book is that it is too wordy and repetitive at times. This makes some of the dialogue awkward, especially in instances where for a simple question, a character responds with too much information. There are also situations that could have been described with fewer words. For example, towards the end, one of the characters, Nancy, gets bitten by a snake on her thigh. As Jamie gets the snakebite kit, Jacko explains to Nancy that she was bitten by a red-bellied black snake. Then they take Nancy to the hospital. There, Jacko explains to the nurse that Nancy was bitten by a red-bellied black snake on her thigh. This is information the reader already knows at this point. The author could have simply said, “Jacko explained what happened to the nurse.”
I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. A more appropriate rating would have been 3.5 because, in addition to being wordy, the book starts to drag a little towards the end, especially given its exciting first couple of chapters. But I rounded the number up because the book is well written and professionally edited. The characters are amazing, and the storyline is interesting enough to keep the reader engaged throughout the 38 chapters of the book.
The Warramunga's War
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