4 out of 4 stars
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The Allies and the Axis are entangled in warfare along the Mediterranean coast. The stakes are so high that the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, is in town to get a first-hand experience on the surveillance that may just influence the war to his country’s favor. Not to be outdone, the Germans have invested heavily on the latest American spyware. Moreover, they are wearing thin the British Eighth Army, thereby threatening to overrun Cairo, a melting pot of espionage activity and a key Allied hub.
But perhaps, it’s what’s happening in the background that makes The Warramunga’s War by Greg Kater such an efficacious war novel. Besides, it gives nothing away as to the relevancy of the title of the whole scheme of things, at least not until the reader nears the end; nevertheless, it's something that is easily done because of the novel’s charming and ingeniously crafted plot.
With World War 2 in progress, there’s a need for ramping up the intelligence gathering apparatus among the various warring parties. Given their splendid war record, Jamie and Jacko present a formidable team. Not only are they on the same side of the war, but also complement each other’s weaknesses. Consequently, they play a pivotal role in influencing wars both on the front line and the home front.
The highlighting of various multicultural groups in the novel, assures the reader of learning a thing or two. First, there is the appropriate usage of vocabulary in relation to a region. Some new words you’d find in the book that only a Briton would likely use are, “publican,” “kip,” “cadge,” and “Pom.” On the other hand, some words that reflect an Australian usage include “billabong,” “drover,” “swag,” “dingo,” “dinkum,” or “dinky-di,” and “corroboree.” To the contrary, there is the confusing use of the word “piccaninny.” I wasn’t sure if it was appropriately used or even the relevancy of its inclusion by the author.
Secondly, the book has some elaborate descriptions of places the book is set in. Mr. Kater’s descriptions include some key features unique to a region, for example, in a scene set in the Australian outback, he talks of “pandanus palms,” and yet in another, a feature consisting of large, round, pink granite boulders known as the Devil’s Marbles.
In addition, the way the dialogue is presented by some characters creates unintended humor. Sarah is Jacko’s sister. Apart from her prowess as a tracker, she isn’t one to shy away from the prospect of a hearty conversation. Unlike her elder brother who has received formal education, Sarah had grown up in Tennant Creek and hadn’t gone to school.
All in all, this is a novel I grew to like. The publishers have done a great job in editing, and I would like to recognize that in my rating. Needless to say, I had a hard time looking for errors. However, I came across this phrase, “nea-looking officer” that I couldn’t make heads or tails of. Additionally, there was an instance of a missing comma, which I suspect was deliberately left by the editor for me to have something to report about!
I rate the novel 4 out of 4 stars. Gladly, I proceed to recommend it to those who like historical novels, in which the primary action takes place on a battlefield and a civilian setting. Additionally, enthusiasts of Western fiction will also find the novel to their liking; and because of the violence highlighted, a mature audience is advised. As a parting shot, I hope to continue reading on the other books of which this is the first of a Trilogy.
The Warramunga's War
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