4 out of 4 stars
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The Warramunga’s War – By Greg Kater
Review – By John Makathimo
Greg Kater’s “The Warramunga’s War” is a military adventure story about two young soldiers who are deployed with the 9th Division of the Australian Army. Jamie Munro and Jack O’Brien (Jacko) meet for the first time under intense fire, in the World War II-Middle East theatre.
After the French surrender in Syria, they both get promoted, and are posted to Cairo as intelligence officers, and assigned to the British MI6. The war was at a stage where Germany’s Africa Korps was gaining ground against allied forces in North Africa.
Blocking German sea-supply routes was of paramount importance, but dismantling their sophisticated communication network was proving to be an uphill task. The two intelligence officers are tasked with infiltrating an active German-spy underground in Cairo. Though perilous, and prone to betrayal, they handle treacherous trip wires with tenacious purpose and took whatever fate threw their way with panache.
The magnificent pyramids and brisk activity on the River Nile provided a refreshing backdrop. Jamie and Jacko land invitations to stately homes, and exclusive clubs where they mingled, and enjoyed the trappings of aristocracy, and found romance. As World War II gathered momentum, and with more countries joining the fray, Jacko and Jamie are constantly on the receiving end of intense pressure for results.
The author’s depiction of the two officers’ skills as “savvy” makes one want to take sides unwittingly, in the unfolding drama. It seems almost as easy as a walk in the park gathering intelligence, and the reader becomes part of the team that is trying to solve intriguing puzzles, that had defined the war raging on the nearby Sahara frontier. When a budding Egyptian revolution is unearthed and found to be working in cahoots with foreign spies, it is swatted away like an irritating-irrelevance that had distracted thespians on the main stage.
High society prostitutes and belly dancers are co-opted into the shadowy “cloak and dagger” business, replete with nerve-racking encounters. The MI6 raids targeted to break German codes produce a series of domino effects that were felt in the high seas and desert sands. On the other hand, Cairo City-life remains as enchanting as it is steamy, and not without drama. A string of unresolved gruesome murders points to a serial killer running loose in the seemingly “happy-go-lucky” city.
Jacko and Jamie are eventually re-deployed back to Australia and see action in the pacific-rim, where war had intensified to dislodge a formidable foe. And just as the rest of the world was taking a collective sigh of relief, they find themselves on the trail of a murderous gang that was terrorizing residents in the Australian outback.
Tennent Creek is the staging post for a pursuit of the pillaging mob. A motley of volunteer individuals with unique skills and impressive bush-craft join the hunt. The chase takes readers through some of the most rugged, and naturally beautiful Australian countryside. A land that produced gold, and had once boasted expansive, and successful ranching stations prior to the war.
Despite the scars inflicted by the criminals, residents are warm and welcoming, but wary of strangers in their midst. A stand-off in the Kimberly Mountain range is swift and decisive, but with dire consequences. And deep in the Warramunga’s territory, a corroboree provides a momentary but welcome respite for the two war-weary veterans.
I like the way the author has picked divergent cultures and offered glimpses of food, music, sport, and camaraderie as the war raged. The book is well written and flows like a river. I did not notice any grammatical or spelling errors.
The use of French phrases and translation by the author is also impressive, and I have picked quite a number of useful expressions for myself. The book is a must read for those who enjoy thrilling military adventure, and espionage. I confidently rate this book 4 out of 4 Stars.
The Warramunga's War
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