Author Greg Kator brings us an Asian action adventure with his latest novel, Conflict on the Yangtze. Featuring many of the characters already introduced in his previous works, the author takes us on a journey up the famous Yangtze River in post-war China to attempt to destroy an opium smuggling ring that is flooding Australia and the U.S. with illicit drugs, transported via The Philippines. Jamie Munro and half-aborigine Jack “Jacko” O’Brien, from the Australian Commonwealth Investigation Services will team up with Colonel John Cook from Britain’s MI6 and Harry Williams from the U.S. Office of Strategic Services to try to destroy the smuggling ring. Entering a China wracked with virtual Civil War, as Mao ZeDong’s Communists battle with Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomintang Government was always going to be fraught with danger for the pair, especially with various Warlords also struggling for control of a country left in a vacuum with the defeat of the Japanese invaders. Fortunately for Munro and O’Brien they have a secret weapon – the diminutive but incredibly brave and resourceful half-sister of Jacko’s, the Aborigine girl Sarah. Together they will tackle the drug cartel from production to transport, to distribution.
Conflict on the Zangtze reads very much like a “boys own” adventure story from my childhood, with action and excitement on almost every page. Author Greg Kator has a direct and engaging style of writing that draws the reader into the familial group of characters and imbues them with a sense that they belong to the reader. As a New Zealander, I appreciated the sometime not so subtle “Aussie” speak and references but I imagine for many readers an “Aussie” glossary would be a useful tool for this book. Undoubtedly the star of the show was none of the big brave Intelligence officers but rather the tiny Aboriginal girl, Sarah. Her resourcefulness and her charming humility were beautifully portrayed by the author and one was totally endeared to her by the end of the story. This is a continuation of characters previously introduced by Kator but one does not have to have read his earlier books to be enthralled by this one – it stands alone, as a wonderful story. If you are a lover of action/adventure with a very ethnic twist or a lover of Historical Fiction (as I am) this book will be right up your alley. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and can highly recommend it.