Early in 1946, former army officer, Jamie Munro, and his half-Aboriginal friend and colleague, Jack 'Jacko" O'Brien, who head the Commonwealth Investigation Service in Darwin are called on to assist in the rescue of another colleague, Colonel John Cook, a senior operative of MI6 who has been kidnapped by bandits and taken into the jungles of Malaya.
With Jacko's half-sister, Sarah, a full-blood Aborigine from Tennant Creek, they arrive in Kuala Lumpur to find that they not only have to contend with the impenetrable jungle of the Malay peninsula, but also with a murderous and subversive organisation of Fascist criminals aiming to disrupt the creation of the Malayan Union by the British Military Authority, foment an uprising and take over control of the country.
All the bushcraft skills of the Warramunga are needed to rescue Colonel Cook and prevent catastrophic mayhem on the Malayan peninsula.
"There was never a dull moment in this action-packed historical adventure, and I found it hard to put down."
Character Development: 5 out of 5
Plot Development: 5 out of 5
Flow of Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall rating: 5 out of 5
"Greg Kater is a great storyteller... the prose is gorgeous... a hard to put down military thriller."
Review Rating: 5 Stars
"Reading the three books of the Warramunga series in such a short space of time has been a fantastic experience. I hope there will be more in the future as this intriguing setting on the other side of the world has really opened up post-war history for me in a brand new way."
"Kater is, without a doubt, one of those authors who makes history come alive...The writing is superb. The stories are sublime. Kater may have just become my new favourite author of Historical Fiction Thrillers."
"This is another stunning adventure by the author, Greg Kater. By now Jamie and Jacko are well known to the reader of this thrilling trilogy, and like old friends their characters and skills are put to the test in the challenging setting of a Malayan jungle. As always, the writing is flawless, tension mounts from page to page, and the descriptions are incredibly visual."
"The book works well as a stand-alone novel while still providing a satisfying final act for the trilogy. Readers should become quite fond of the characters—particularly Jacko and Sarah—over the course of the series, and the author sees them off with suitable panache."
"An enjoyable adventure set during the era of late British colonialism."
Skills of the Warramunga is the third book in the Warramunga Trilogy by author Greg Kater. Set in 1946 Malaya, the plot of this intriguing historical fiction includes kidnapping, theft, and murder.
When the MI6 head of operations, Colonel Johnny Cook is kidnapped by bandits and held captive in the jungles of Malaya, his Australian colleagues make it their mission to rescue him. The three men had previously worked together running an intelligence operation in Cairo, in 1941. Jamie Munro is a former army officer, and he and his friend Jack O'Brien, who is half-Aboriginal, now head Darwin's Commonwealth Investigation Service. As they head to rescue Johnny, they are joined by Sarah, Jacko's half-sister, who is a Warramunga Aboriginal and a skilled tracker.
Meanwhile, there's been two murders and a robbery at the tin mine near Parit. The whereabouts of the mysterious Pieter de Groote, who reported the crime and is now a suspect, remain unknown. With the increase in recent assaults and burglaries, local law enforcement fears the crimes may be related to rumors about a criminal organization seeking to disrupt the upcoming Malayan Union ceremony. When it's learned that Johnny Cook was kidnapped because he was mistaken for one of the new government administration members, Colonel Samuel Martin, the plot thickens.
There was never a dull moment in this action-packed historical adventure, and I found it hard to put down. As I haven't read the other books in the trilogy, I wondered if the book would stand on its own--it did. The plot was well- written, and the author also intertwined pertinent details from the previous books, The Warramunga's War and The Warramunga's Aftermath of War. Though I usually prefer to read a series in order, this book piqued my interest enough that it's likely I'll go back and read the first two.
The plot is supported by a diverse cast of well-developed characters. I particularly enjoyed the way the author brought his characters to life through the use of their native dialects. Not only could I hear the Aussie and British accents as I read; I was introduced to new vocabulary from different languages, too. I also appreciated the author's occasional use of humor in the story.
The only thing I would change in this book is the use of one word, "lubra." The word is used to introduce Sarah, and by definition, it refers to a female Aboriginal Australian. However, when I looked up the unfamiliar word, I learned that it is considered racially offensive. It's likely the word wasn't offensive in 1946, but it bears noting.
It's evident the book was professionally edited, as I didn't note a single error. I'm pleased to rate this page-turner 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction and action adventures. However, the book would appeal to a broader audience as well. The plot-related violence was not graphic, and there wasn't any profanity.
Kathy Denver; Reviews Editor,
Goodreads and Evil Cyclist's Bookshelf blog (evilcyclist.wordpress.com)
Skills of the Warramunga by Greg Kater is the third book in the Warramunga series although it is more than fine as a stand-alone novel. The story takes place in Malaysia in 1946 immediately preceding the Malayan Union. Kater captures the turmoil of the region shortly after the Second World War. Some areas saw the expulsion of the British by the Japanese as liberation, but others were disappointed by the ease that the Japanese defeated the British forces. Some did not welcome the return of the British after the war. Britain hoped for a peaceful return to the administration of the region while MI6 worried about communist agitation from the Chinese. However, something more nefarious is brewing.
MI6 Colonel John Cook is kidnapped in the jungles on Malaysia and held captive. Word of his captivity reaches Jamie Munro of the Australian Commonwealth Investigative Service, and he springs into action with Jack O’Brien (Jacko). Both men served under the colonel in the Syrian campaign a few years ago. Jacko, who is half aboriginal, enlists the help of his full aboriginal half-sister, Sarah, to aid in the jungle tracking and in locating the colonel. The rescue of their friend and former commander, however, is just the beginning of the story.
Kater fully develops the good guys’ characters in a smooth and even way for readers who have not read the other books in the series. The bad guys remain mysterious with just enough information to produce a villainous shadow. The post-war era, Kuala Lumpur, and the jungle are captured brilliantly. The historical fiction presented will not disappoint the historian and the flow of the novel will not disappoint the adventure reader.
Extremely well done.
Skills of the Warramunga by Greg Kater is a gritty tale of espionage, a rescue mission with untold challenges, featuring likeable characters. Jack “Jacko” O’Brien and Jamie Munro are charged with the difficult task of rescuing Colonel John Cook, a senior MI6 operative kidnapped by an unknown, dangerous group in the jungles of Malaya. While they have unusual skills in the army and have a long history working together during WWII, they are about to be tested by challenges they never envisioned, including the harsh terrain, the fascist criminal organization which is about to thwart the creation of the Malayan Union by the British Military Authority. To succeed in this mission they will have to rely on the unique skills of the Warramunga to prevent the worst from happening.
Greg Kater is a great storyteller and readers are introduced to the conflict from the very start of the novel. John Cook is taken by the bad Chinese guys and readers become intrigued, interested to learn what happens to him next as they follow them through dangerous lands. Yes, the action begins from the very start of the narrative and only grows in intensity. The story is emotionally rich, with twists no one could predict and tight spots that will have readers on the edge of their seats. The prose is gorgeous and I enjoyed the author’s ability to paint vivid images of the landscape and create a direct link between the environment and the characters. Skills of the Warramunga is character driven, but the focus on conflict and the skillful handling of plot make it a 'hard to put down' military thriller.
Skills of the Warramunga is another fantastic work of mysterious historical fiction by author Greg Kater, and the third book in the series following Jamie Munro and ‘the Warramunga’, Jacko O’Brien. In this installment, we join our CIS investigators less than two years after the end of the Second World War, when a new mission takes them to the dense jungles of Malaya. Colonel John Cook, a senior operative working for MI6, whom Jamie and Jacko knew during the war, has gone missing out there. Emotional ties abound in this new adventure as Jacko’s full-blood Aboriginal sister, Sarah, comes along to put new skills to the test in searching for their fallen comrade.
Reading the three books of the Warramunga series in such a short space of time has been a fantastic experience. I hope there will be more in the future as this intriguing setting on the other side of the world has really opened up post-war history for me in a brand new way. Greg Kater writes with a clearly well-researched style, but his description and dialogue are never dull because of it. The heat of the jungle and the dangers of Kuala Lumpur in 1946 come to life in such an incredibly vivid way, and I really enjoyed the inclusion of Sarah as a main component to the plot. Culturally, we learn even more about Jacko and their tribe because of it, and it brings fantastic drama to the story as a whole. Skills of the Warramunga is a novel not to be missed.
“A senior MI6 agent has gone missing. It is up to Jamie and Jacko from the Commonwealth Investigation Service (CIS) to discover the location of the MI6 agent, and rescue him before it is too late.”
The Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and the British were allies during the Second World War. However, the war is now over. The winners proclaimed. But for the MCP the end of the war was only the beginning. Trained in guerrilla warfare and armed by the British, the MCP could pose a significant threat to state security. It is feared that the MCP might be entertaining the idea of taking control of Malaya and expelling the foreign white settlers. They certainly have the arms, the tactics and the motivation to do so. It is a brewing situation that needs close surveillance.
The head of MI6 operations for the eastern hemisphere, Colonel Johnny Cook, has just flown from London to Singapore to assist the new Malayan Security Service (MSS) — an intelligence agency that was set up by the British at the end of the war. They will be responsible for the security over the official ceremony, which will mark the creation of the Malayan Union. Nothing can be allowed to go wrong.
Jamie Munro, from the Commonwealth Investigation Service (CIS) in Darwin, was filling out forms when he took a call from Major Browning, of the Malayan Security Service. Browning informed Jamie that a senior MI6 agent has gone missing, feared kidnapped somewhere in the Cameron Highlands and that they needed the help of Jamie and his team to find him.
Along with his esteemed colleague, Jack “Jacko” O’Brien, and Jacko’s half-sister, Sarah, they must brave the Malayan jungle and find the lost agent and rescue him from his captors. It is a race against time, for there is no telling what the kidnappers might do next.
From the sweltering heat of the Malayan jungle to the desperate flight to Batavia, Skills of the Warramunga, by Greg Kater is one of the best Historical Fiction Thrillers I have ever read.
Having thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Warramunga trilogy, I could not wait to get my hands on book #3. I found myself immediately thrown back into the action. The story is compelling, gripping and utterly absorbing. Kater intuitively knows what makes a page-turning thriller. The pages flew by, and I found it impossible to put this book down.
I greatly admire Kater’s approach to his writing. His narrative is so descriptive that at times it felt like I was watching the events unfold in front of me. Kater’s attention to detail and his easy prose style makes this book a real pleasure to read. Kater is, without a doubt, one of those authors who makes history come alive.
There are several characters worthy of note in this story, but one I was particularly fond of was Inspector Robert Douglas. Douglas is a secondary character, and on the face of it, he has little heroic qualities — he drinks excessively and is not the greatest judge of character — in fact, he is a terrible judge of character! Due to unforeseeable circumstances, Douglas finds himself in the most terrible of situations. Here, he is tested almost beyond his limits, but he calls upon an inner strength that he did not know he possessed. I thought his portrayal was brilliant. Kater has depicted a very flawed character, and yet, he gives Douglas a chance at redemption. This, for me, is what made Douglas such an appealing personality.
There are several antagonists in this story, although it isn’t clear in the beginning as to who they are, which certainly gave this story a sparkle of mystery. I have to be careful what I say as I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone, but needless to say, the antagonists are wonderfully sly and incredibly dangerous. They certainly helped to drive this story forward. This is what makes Kater’s writing so refreshing. He creates totally believable characters.
The two protagonists of this series — Jamie and Jacko were once again fabulously portrayed. I have so enjoyed reading about them, and I feel quite bereft now that the trilogy has come to an end!
Although Skills of the Warramunga can be read as a stand-alone, I would thoroughly recommend you start with book #1. The writing is superb. The stories are sublime. Kater may have just become my new favourite author of Historical Fiction Thrillers.
I Highly Recommend
Skills of the Warramunga by Greg Kater is the third book in the Warramunga trilogy. Book one introduced us to the two main protagonists, Jamie Munroe and Jacko O’Brien. Jamie is a former Army Officer with all the skills that entails, and Jacko is half Aborigine and has many skills including excellent tracking. Book Two then introduced Jacko’s sister, Sarah, a full Aborigine with honed tracking skills, and together they embark on their next mission in this the final book of the series.
When a former friend and colleague, Colonel John Cook, is kidnapped, the trio set off for the wild jungles of Malaya to mount a rescue that seems both arduous and dangerous. Convinced that the Colonel has been taken by a Communist group, Jamie, Jacko and Sarah gather a few trusted troops and set off to do battle not only with the bandits and kidnappers but also the wild creatures that live in the jungle, such as the leeches that invade their bodies, and the plants that slash at their clothes and skin with razor sharp shards in the leaves. Sarah’s skills prevent many a disaster as her keen eyes detect the many traps laid by the bandits. What transpires, however, is that a group of Fascist criminals are at work, seeking to overthrow the ruling party, destroy the planned Malayan Union by the British Military Authority, and take control. To this end they take further hostages and Jamie, Jacko and Sarah again find themselves having to return to the jungle to free the kidnapped dignitaries. Will their combined skills be enough to defeat the desperadoes?
This is another stunning adventure by the author, Greg Kater. By now Jamie and Jacko are well known to the reader of this thrilling trilogy, and like old friends their characters and skills are put to the test in the challenging setting of a Malayan jungle. As always, the writing is flawless, tension mounts from page to page, and the descriptions are incredibly visual. The reader can feel the heat of the jungle, can experience the sweat rolling down their backs, can imagine the leeches in their shoes, and can almost touch the overbearing and encompassing thick air as the story races from one battle to another. This final book encompasses all the amazing skills of the characters to enable them to do what is necessary to seek justice for the wronged and to bring the perpetrators to either punishment or a sticky and grizzly end.
For lovers of adventure, this story does not disappoint. The only disappointment is that it is the end of the trilogy. The author, Greg Kater, is a master of his profession, a writer with an awesome imagination, and certainly someone to watch.
In this last installment of a trilogy, two Commonwealth Investigation Service agents embark on a rescue mission in the jungles of British Malaya.
White Australian Jamie Munro and his friend Jacko O’Brien, a half-Aborigine tracker, hunted German spies through the streets of Cairo during World War II. Now, in 1946, they are still partners, heading up the CIS’s Darwin office in the Northern Territory of Australia. When their former commanding officer, Col. Johnny Cook (now an MI6 agent), is kidnapped in the jungles of the Malayan Peninsula, the old friends set out to save him, teaming up with Jacko’s half-sister, Sarah Nangala, a full-blooded Warramunga tracker of exceptional skill: “Jacko had always said that his sister could track an ant up a stringybark tree. Jamie smiled. He had seen Sarah in action and could well believe Jacko’s boast.” They arrive in the midst of a crime spree that has affected the local tin mining industry, complete with robberies, murders, and missing suspects. It seems that Cook’s disappearance is related to the recent unrest, as the kidnappers mistook him for their real target, Col. Samuel Martin, a high-ranking British official affiliated with the newly formed Malayan Union. The Australians manage to locate Cook relatively quickly but must still contend with a potential political crisis threatening to destabilize British Malaya. With Fascists and Communists both vying for power, it’s up to this trio of Aussies to keep the country from sliding into total anarchy. Kater’s (The Warramunga’s Aftermath of War, 2018, etc.) prose is taut and efficient, never losing the sense of decorum that his British officers embody: “He knocked on the outside door, which was opened to him. They drove the trucks in, and his men unloaded them and stacked the firearms and ammunition inside the warehouse. They then left the trucks inside, farewelled one another and dispersed to various parts of the city.” The book works well as a stand-alone novel while still providing a satisfying final act for the trilogy. Readers should become quite fond of the characters—particularly Jacko and Sarah—over the course of the series, and the author sees them off with suitable panache.
An enjoyable adventure set during the era of late British colonialism.