4 out of 4 stars
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In “The Warramunga’s War”, author Greg Kater uses events around Egypt during World War II to introduce the reader to characters and a story that will take us from the shadows of Cairo, Egypt, to a manhunt across the expanse of Australia. While the story begins with the two main characters - Australians Lieutenant James Munro and Corporal Jack O’Brien, who is half Warramunga and known to his friends as “Jacko” - under fire near Beirut. Jacko ends up saving Jamie’s life and carries him to from the battlefield. While the two of them recover from their injuries in a field hospital, they are recruited by MI6 and spend the remainder of the war ferreting out German spies in Cairo as well as working to thwart Rommel’s troops and keep the city safe.
To carry out their mission, Jaime and Jacko befriend some local dancing girls who are able to gain insider information on German plans due to the fact that their dancing and flirtatious behavior attract the attention of a handful of Germans who are attempting to pass for British or American citizens. During their mission, they find themselves drawn into the investigation of a string of murders - a number of women who have been abducted, raped, and murdered. The victims have nothing in common and seem to have been grabbed at random. It isn’t long before suspicion lands on one of their own who, unfortunately, leaves the country before they can arrest him. An attempt to detain him once his boat lands in Australia is a bust since he is never seen getting off the boat.
At the end of the war, Jamie and Jacko continue their work in counter-espionage as agents with the Commonwealth Investigation Service in Australia. Their mission is to track down two men who are wanted for war crimes. During their manhunt, they find that the men they are pursuing have been joined by others and now this gang of criminals is sweeping across Australia, robbing local stores and even kidnapping three girls.
I was familiar with the historical details regarding Rommel’s military action in the Middle East and I appreciated the inclusion of that information in the story. It added a level of believability to the activities of the fictional characters. I must admit that I had to keep a map of Australia open during the last several chapters of the book so that I could have a better understanding of where Jacko and Jamie were traveling. But it really didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story at all and increased my understanding of a county I’d love to visit someday!
I found the characters to be very believable and loved the interplay of all the relationships contained in the book. The shift in location from Egypt to Australia was effortless and kept the story flowing nicely. This change in location also allowed for an entirely new group of characters and allowed the author to include the various cultural groups living in Australia. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire story. The only thing that was confusing was the title. Jacko was half Warramunga and part of the story includes his half-sister, Sara. I am not sure what war is being referred to by the title. But that one small question is not enough to change my opinion of the book and I happily give it 4 out of 4 stars.
The Warramunga's War
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