06 December 2014
Peter Watt: And Fire Falls
Christmas is coming so it is time for the next annual episode from Peter Watt of his gripping Australian historical family saga about the MacIntoshes and the Duffys. This time the saga changes from the war in Europe to the war in the Pacific as Australia moves to the frontline with the Japanese sweeping across the Pacific and into New Guinea as a springboard for an invasion of Australia.
In Sydney, Donald and Sarah MacIntosh battle for the support of their dominant but ailing father to get control of the huge MacIntosh business empire. With the help of some influential "friends" the business is thriving from wartime contracts and Donald is unlikely to enlist or be conscripted to fight for his country. In contrast their cousin David MacIntosh, a part-owner of the family business, has been fighting for years, first in Spain and now in Syria.
The Duffy family are spread across the world. WWI hero Tom Duffy is running his many properties in Queensland and missing his daughter Jessica who is now a nun at a mission in New Guinea which is threatened by the Japanese. Dianne Duffy stays behind in Singapore as the Japanese overrun the famous "fortress". James Duffy, raised by the Barringtons, his very rich US maternal grandparents, has taken his father's name and career as an ace flyer. He finds himself in the thick of the fierce air and ground battle for Guadalcanal. Other Duffy's get involved in the terrible battle in appalling tropical conditions along the Kokoda track to stop the Japanese advance on Port Moresby.
As always the mythical elderly Aboriginal warrior Wallarie still haunts the family members, protecting some and warning others of danger.
I have spelt out a few details of the family history because after a year it is increasingly difficult to remember the main characters and their heritage. A family tree shows the complex relationships between the families but it doesn't show up well on a Kindle so I suggest you load up your Kindle book on your PC to see the family tree properly.
My main gripe is that I may have to wait a year to find out what happens next, by which time I will have forgotten most of what happened before. Watt's latest books in the series have seemed to be too short compared with earlier ones because I am always looking for what happens next. With this book being set in New Guinea I did get a bit confused as the action overlaps with Watt's great Papua trilogy which finished with the THE PACIFIC covering some of the historical ground in this book.
Come what may it is always a delight to revisit Watt's great Australian saga about the MacIntoshes and the Duffys, the goodies and the baddies (who were pretty mild this time) and think about what comes next. Those of you with really good memories may remember the cottage at Manly and what happened there that changed the lives of both families many years ago. The cottage again plays a key role in the relationships between the families - Wallerie hasn't forgotten.
PS Last year on Peter Watt's Facebook I was chosen from his fans to have my name used as one of the minor characters in his next book. Look out for a brave Lieutenant who fought alongside David MacIntosh in Syria and in New Guinea. Thanks Peter for the honour.