Beyond the end of the Second World War, after the Japanese surrender, the fighting never ceased
in China …
This is the fourth historical novel in the Warramunga series by Greg Kater. The events take place during 1946 when former army officer, Jamie Munro, and educated half-aborigine, Jack “Jacko” O’Brien, who head the Commonwealth Investigation Service in Darwin, are asked by Colonel John Cook, a senior commanding officer of MI6, to go to China and assist in the investigation of a drug cartel who are believed responsible for killing one of his operatives along the Yangtze River.
During the recent war, Jamie and Jacko had worked in intelligence operations with Colonel Cook during the desert campaign in North Africa, as the Afrika Corps threatened Egypt, and later in South East Asia in the aftermath of war.
The pair arrive in Shanghai via Manila in the aftermath of the Japanese occupation with Harry Williams, chief of the US intelligence agency, Office of Strategic Services (OSS), in the Philippines. They had worked with Harry previously in the Philippines on a case involving child smuggling (The Warramunga’s Aftermath of War). They are met at Shanghai’s Bund Docks by Johnny and Lee Drake, a half-Chinese MI6 operative who had lived in Shanghai, posing as a tea merchant, throughout the war. Jamie and Jacko learn that the current state of affairs in China is very complicated. They not only have to contend with the drug cartel but also with gangs, warlords and corrupt personages of influence. They are told the opium produced by the drug cartel is shipped to the Philippines for treatment and from there to the USA and Australia. To reach the centre of the opium operations it is necessary to travel hundreds of miles in a motorised junk up the Yangtze River where hostile, trigger-happy gangs and groups inhabit the riverbanks.
"The poignancy in the way he describes events and the ability to get readers to connect with the characters is one of the gifts that make this book a must-read."
"The book is filled with action and moments that are exhilarating. Greg Kater is a great storyteller with economy of word, a unique phraseology and the ability to craft beautiful and engaging dialogues. This book is fast paced and filled with entertainment."
Review Rating: 5 Stars
Conflict on the Yangtze by Greg Kater is a historical thriller set in China, within the context of events unfolding against the backdrop of the year just after the Japanese surrender in World War II. This is the fourth book in the Warramunga series. Jamie Munro and Jack “Jacko” O’Brien make an amazing pair that leads the Commonwealth Investigative Service in Darwin and who find themselves on a mission that challenges their skills and puts their lives at great risk. When their senior commanding officer, Colonel John Cook, tasks them with the mission to investigate the murder of one of his operatives along the Yangtze River, they set to work and arrive in Shanghai through Manila. What awaits them is far worse than anything they could have imagined — ruthless warlords, gangs, and a powerful cartel. No one seems to be what they look like and it’s hard to trust anyone. Can they uncover the truth in a world filled with deception, violence, and danger?
Greg Kater has a powerful command of language and right from the beginning the reader is introduced to the descriptive power of the prose. I enjoyed the way he captures images, smells, sights, and feelings in the writing, keeping it realistic: “The pervasive stench of human excrement, used as fertilizer in nearby rice paddies, assailed the nostrils of the two men creeping through the wooded area of broad-leafed trees and wind-tossed willows and scrub, towards the distant settlement backed by low hills.” The poignancy in the way he describes events and the ability to get readers to connect with the characters is one of the gifts that make this book a must-read. The historical setting comes out clearly and the descriptions of the locales as well as the ensuing action make it hard to put the book down. The narrow escapes, the quick action, and the uncertainty of the key characters keep the pulse of the writing strong. Conflict on the Yangtze is highly recommended for fans of historical thrillers and investigative stories.
Review Rating 5 Stars
Conflict on the Yangtze by Greg Kater is a historical novel featuring compelling characters already introduced in the series. Jamie Munro and Jack O'Brian are operatives working for the Commonwealth Investigative Office in Darwin and now they are sent on a mission to investigate the murder of one of their own. Going through Manila to enter Shanghai, what awaits them is mayhem, a world where men survive through force and cunning. They are embroiled in a world where gangs compete for notoriety, but most importantly, they must deal with a ruthless cartel. Can they navigate this dangerous environment and unearth the truth, or will they sink this time?
The narrative is done in a strong and enticing voice. It features compelling characters and after reading the previous books in this series, I was looking forward for the author to up the game. As usual, he never disappointed. Character development is top notch. While the characters have to navigate through tough and dangerous situations, they still manage to keep the humor - at times grim - and readers will enjoy the connection between the two lead characters. The narrative is littered with historical references, allowing readers a powerful feel of China during and after the Second World War. The book is filled with action and moments that are exhilarating. Greg Kater is a great storyteller with economy of word, a unique phraseology and the ability to craft beautiful and engaging dialogues. This book is fast paced and filled with entertainment.