Published by Zeus Publications on March 4, 2019
Genres: Action, Adventure, Conspiracy Fiction, Espionage, Historical Fiction, Suspense
Format: Kindle, Paperback
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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.
Conflict on the Yangtze is Greg Kater’s suspense-filled historical fiction novel which is sure to keep readers engaged from the very first chapter with feelings of intrigue and excitement. Set in the 1940s, it follows two Australian Commonwealth Investigation Service (CIS) agents as they work to bring down a Chinese opium-smuggling cartel.
When Daniel Stafford, an MI6 operative, is shot then goes missing, Colonel John Cook reaches out to CIS investigators Jack O’Brien and Jamie Munro stationed in Australia to help in the investigation. Jacko and Jamie arrive in China to find it in turmoil. The aftermath of World War II has left it immersed in the conflict between the Kuomintang government and the Communists. Corrupt powerful government officials, gangs and conspiracies are rampant and they are all focused on establishing their control. Jacko, Jamie and the rest of the team have to maneuver all the mayhem to stop the smuggling. The work remains independent of the other books written by the author and manages to engage through its riveting action. In China, the team of investigators has a lot to combat. The opium smugglers are supported by influential officials who are cashing in on the conspiracy. As they sail along the Yangtze River, they are shot at on numerous occasions and have to fight off a fierce group of bandits who attack their boat. The author’s knowledge of the Philippines, Chinese and Australian places mentioned in the book is apparent throughout the work. The adventure in the novel is interspersed with bits of Chinese culture and its political state after WWII. Cultural aspects of people in the Philippines and Australia are also mentioned which adds to the plot’s depth. The political turbulence present in China during the era also acts as a fitting background to the foreboding task ahead of the investigators. Some romance and lively dialogue that is present in the work breaks the tension in the story. Even in chaotic circumstances, the team maintains their wittiness with conversations containing instances of jesting.
Greg Kater’s fourth book is another reflection of his imagination and creativity. With well-developed characters and a suspenseful plot, the novel is a rewarding read for lovers of historical fiction. Artisan Book Reviews is once again proud to recommend author, Greg Kater for his remarkable writing ability and brilliant novel, Conflict on the Yangtze.
Reviewed by Edith Emunah for Artisan Book Reviews.
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