Killing Kitchener – Steve Sailah

Killing Kitchener by Steve Sailah
on 2017

‘One bloody bullet gets you in the end, he said as he coughed up a mouthful of blood and exhaled one last long breath…’

A single murder lies at the heart of this compelling crime mystery that moves from the battlefields of Turkey and Palestine to the storm-tossed North Atlantic during World War One.

It is 1916 and teenage sniper Thomas Clare knows only too well what a single bullet can do as he struggles with his ghosts from the blood-soaked gullies of Gallipoli.

A first love affair in exotic Cairo helps him bear the pain of lost comrades, until a corrupt policeman from his past turns up dead.

Thomas unearths a mystery connecting his murdered parents to war crimes committed a generation before – the only clue, a blood-stained bayonet.

Accompanied by Lawrence of Arabia, Thomas soon finds himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate the British Empire’s most famous warrior.

Killing Kitchener is the sequel to A Fatal Tide. I was reading a pdf and noted a few typos which do not detract from the fact that Sailah’s writing has improved in this second book. Killing Kitchener goes further into the story of Thomas and Snow. We see how mateship was so important at the time of the first World War and we also see the divide between the whites and the Indigenous of Australia, although mateship triumphs over some of this.

I was asked to read this book by the author back in January. He’s been most patient with my timetable and I finally read it on the train through Europe. It was worth the wait and I’m really glad I was able to read it at a time when I could set aside big blocks of time. It’s not a book to read in little bits as it really suckers you in and makes you want to read more. I’m hoping there’s more on the way I want to read about Thomas and Snow when they finally get home to Australia.

Sailah’s research is good. There were a few facts I shook my head over. Having taken the time to google I found the facts were spot on. It was just little things such as a camera a soldier might possibly have taken to war with them. If the little things are right it makes the book that much more believable.

I loved the historical figures we see in this book and the little facts. I now look at the English Your Country Needs You poster developed for the first World War with different eyes. Seeing as it’s not really a spoiler I’ll tell you that the person on the poster is Lord Kitchener, the person mentioned in the title of the book. And it’s little things like this that make me wonder what I missed in the book through to my lack of knowledge. Lord Kitchener makes a great poster. And I did always wonder about that poster.

Something that struck me were the historical figures. I’ll only mention one, that of Arthur Conan Doyle. Both Thomas and Snow are fans of his writing, incorporating Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson into their everyday life. We saw this in both books, but in this book Thomas actually has a chance to meet and talk with Arthur Conan Doyle.

One of the things I loved about this book was all the bits surrounding it. Not only was I quoted in the reviews of A Fatal Tide but we also get told which parts Sailah created or exaggerated and which parts are pure research.