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.