4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
It is rare these days to find a novel that gives you amazingly realistic settings, or complete and fleshed-out characters, or a historical novel full of authentic details of the time. It is rarer still to find a novel that encompasses all of these, but Greg Kater has done just that with his historical spy novel, The Warramunga's War.
The story follows two Australians - Jamie Munro, an army officer, and Corporal Jack 'Jacko' O'Brien, a half-Aboriginal member of the Warramunga tribe. Jamie and Jacko meet while fighting against the Vichy French in Syria. Displaying great aptitude with a gun, Jacko rescues Jamie twice and even carries him back to safety. This act of daring forms the basis of the friendship between the two, and when Jamie is asked to become a spy in Egypt, he volunteers his new buddy Jacko to accompany him.
Under the direction of Captain Johnny Cook, an MI6 operative, and with the help of fellow Australian soldier Matt MacAulay, Jamie and Jacko soon settle into a life of espionage and subterfuge in Cairo. With the aid of female spies Fifi and Yvette, the team follow and spy on suspected German operatives in Cairo, and even find themselves involved in the investigation of a local serial killer who rapes and kills women.
One of the first things that struck me about this novel was the marvelous way Mr. Kater paints his scenery; he has truly mastered the art of storytelling. Whether it's in the midst of war, on the bustling streets of Cairo, or in the stunning Australian outback, each scene is brilliantly depicted. The attention to detail is exquisite, and Mr. Kater has given every scene an air of authenticity with his knowledgeable tidbits. I held my breath through tense raids or missions and even laughed aloud at Jacko's hilarious jokes. Mr. Kater draws you in and makes you feel that you are experiencing it all.
Besides the suspense, intrigue, drama, and romance, this novel is ultimately about friendship. From their first encounter, Jamie and Jacko have an instant rapport. Their close relationship builds throughout the novel, and many of their encounters would have had a different outcome if they didn't share such an unbreakable bond.
Greg Kater has packed this novel full of well-written characters, with each of them having their own motivations and idiosyncrasies. From the main characters to the local pub owner, each person has their own story but still adds something pertinent to the story. I especially loved how the novel highlighted the role of women as spies during World War II. I don't think I'd be alone in saying that many of the bravest people in the novel are women. Jacko's sister Sarah was a delight to meet, and I found her courage inspiring.
I rate The Warramunga's War 4 out of 4 stars. In addition to all the wonderful things mentioned above, the novel is edited exceptionally, and I found no mistakes. I would highly recommend this novel to those interested in history or war, and those who enjoy a superbly written spy thriller. This book contains some adult content which makes it unsuitable for children or young teenagers.
The Warramunga's War
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like Zhariah's review? Post a comment saying so!