Monday 6 May 2019

#BookReview — Conflict on the Yangtze By Greg Kater #HistoricalFiction #Australia @gregkaterauthor

Conflict on the Yangtze
By Greg Kater

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.

“We’re trying to track down the people behind a major opium-smuggling operation in China…”

Opium is flooding into the USA and Australia. The only way to stop it is to find the source and put the drug cartel out of operation.

However, that is easier said than done.

MI6 agent, Commander Daniel Stafford, has been ruthlessly murdered amongst large bulbs of the poppy seed pods in a field in China. With so much money at stake, the cartel will do anything to continue its operations.

MI6 realise that they cannot thwart this operation alone. They approach the Australian Commonwealth Investigation Service (CIS). Jamie Munro and his esteemed colleague, Jack “Jacko” O’Brien from the CIS head to China to help with the investigation and to try to put an end to the cartel.

However, it soon becomes evident that the drug cartel has friends in very high places. Which begs the question, who do you trust when you can’t trust anyone?

From the poppy fields along the Yangtze River in China to the splendour of the Roper River in Australia, Conflict on the Yangtze, by Greg Kater is the truly gripping account of an opium cartel and those who are determined to stop it.

I was delighted when I discovered that there was a sequel to The Warramunga Trilogy. Having thoroughly enjoyed the first three books I could not wait to reacquaint myself with Jamie and Jacko. I was hoping for another fabulous adventure, and I am pleased to say that Kater did not disappoint. 

As with all the books in this series, Kater has an eye for what is entertaining which is then backed up by confident historical research. He has painted a dazzling portrait of not only the dangers along the Yangtze River but also the instability in China during this era. The corruption and the struggle for power are all touched upon within the pages of this remarkable book.

As before, I adored the characterisation of Jamie and Jacko. Both are worthy protagonists in this tale, and more importantly, they are especially likeable ones. They are two very different people, but they work so well together — although there was one terrible moment when I feared that the duo might have run out of luck! A special mention must also go to Jacko’s sister Sarah. Sarah is intelligent, witty and courageous. Her character really helped to drive this story forward.

There are several antagonists in this book, all of whom were fabulously portrayed. Through Kater’s compelling narrative we are offered a glimpse into both worlds — so we see first-hand what the antagonists’ plans are. Unlike the CIS, MI6, and their colleagues, the drug cartel is just as likely to turn on their own men as to plot to murder those who are trying to stop their vile deeds. I thought showing both sides of the story gives the reader a clear understanding of what Jamie and Jacko are up against. It also made this novel next to impossible to put down.

Although this is the fourth book in an incredibly gripping series, Conflict on the Yangtze works very well as a standalone. However, to get the most out of this series, I do suggest you start with book 1 — The Warramunga’s War. You won’t be disappointed.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Pick up your copy of
Conflict on the Yangtze

Greg Kater

Greg Kater is an Australian-based author. He lives in Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast, Queensland and has recently retired from a 55-year international career in the resources industry. The Warramunga’s War is his first work of fiction. He has since written and published two more books, The Warramunga’s Aftermath of War and Skills of the Warramunga, altogether comprising a trilogy.
The principal fictional characters interact with actual historical figures and events which have been rigorously researched. The subject of the novel is partly inspired by the experiences of the author’s father during the war in the Middle East, and partly by his own experiences in northern Australia where he worked extensively throughout the Northern Territory and the Kimberley.

Connect with Greg: Website • Amazon Author Page • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your award, Greg!


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx