Darryl Greer's Reviews > The Warramunga's War

The Warramunga's War by Greg Kater
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it was amazing

Author, Greg Kater’s first foray into the world of fiction is "The Warramunga’s War." It tells the story, set in World War II and immediately thereafter, of a friendship between a young Australian officer, Jamie Munro and an educated, half-caste Warramunga aboriginal NCO, Jack “Jacko” O’Brien. In the opening scenes the Allies in North Africa are fighting the Vichy French. Jacko rescues a wounded Jamie and later, in Cairo, they are conscripted by British intelligence service, MI6. Soon they are hot the trail of suspected German agents. As the desert war escalates, the MI6 team confuses the enemy with misleading radio messages using German codes and local entertainers as undercover agents. Despite the chaos of war, the author has included a touch of romance as, on one of his day leaves, Jacko meets a beautiful, young Syrian-French girl and a strong romantic bond forms. At the end of the war, Jamie and Jacko are assigned to wartime intelligence work in Southeast Asia. They eventually find themselves in northern Australia and initiate the Darwin operations of the CIS — Commonwealth Investigation Service. Tracking down two suspected wartime German agents, they discover the agents have formed a dangerous criminal gang with someone they’d met in Cairo. With the aid of Jacko’s tracking skills they pursue the gang through arid and unforgiving parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. They are soon to discover that brutal savagery is not restricted to wartime.

Unique is how I would describe "The Warramunga’s War." There are untold books about War World II but they usually follow a distinct pattern — gung-ho heroes who can thrust themselves into a hail of bullets and survive, and other stories that we’ve heard time and time again with only cosmetic changes. The first part of this saga is set during the Allies’ North African campaign, first against the Vichy French and later, against Rommel. The scenes and dialogue ring true, no doubt partly because the author Greg Kater, has drawn on his own father’s experiences. But in addition to that, it is clear that he has put meticulous research into the story’s background. The characters are three dimensional, the scenes come alive — you feel you are there, watching the action as it happens. When the narrative moves to Northern Australia again, Kater draws on his own exhaustive experience in the resources industry in parts of Australia that only a limited number of tourists would dare to tread. He clearly has extensive knowledge of the Warramunga tribe. His use of “Pidgin” English for the aboriginal characters’ dialogue is, or at least sounds, spot on. Similarly, his descriptions of outback Australia, the laid back attitude of people in its far flung small towns, the dialogue they use is real. It is clear this book has been professionally edited — alas not something you can take for granted these days — as I didn’t spot one error. In another unique touch, Kater has the characters sing a song which he has written himself — he even includes the music. This is a war story with a difference, a crime novel with a difference, an historical novel with a difference, an adventure story with a difference and I can’t wait for the movie.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 12, 2018 – Shelved

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