A Fatal Tide – Steve Sailah

A Fatal Tide by Steve Sailah
A Fatal Tide by Steve Sailah

‘His promise to himself to avenge his father was turning out like the Dardanelles, like nothing he had imagined…’
It is 1915 and Thomas Clare rues the day he and his best friend, Snow, went to war to solve the murder of his father.
The only clues – a hidden wartime document and the imprint of an army boot on the victim’s face – have led the pair from the safety of Queensland to the blood-soaked hills of Gallipoli.
Now not only are Thomas’s enemies on every side – from the Turkish troops bearing down on the Anzac lines, to the cold-blooded killer in his own trench – but even as far away as London and Berlin.
For, unbeknown to Thomas, the path to murder began thirteen years earlier in Africa with the execution of Breaker Morant – and a secret that could change the course of history…

One of my loot from Random House at the National Book Bloggers Forum, this book is a good read. I’m sure you expect more from me so here goes.

I feel this book is a good addition to the stories written about World War I, it was published only a few days ago at the 100 years commemoration of the war. It helps to give some idea of the unspeakable horror that was Gallipoli and how some people came to hate killing and only did what was absolutely necessary to get through.

There are a couple of threads going through this book. One is about the murder of Thomas Clare’s father showing how and why he was murdered, you don’t get any more due to spoilers. Another is the enduring friendships that were possible between white boys and Aboriginal boys at a time when there was a lot of racism and Aboriginals were not considered people, not able to vote. They were allowed to fight in the war but if they died it was challenging for their next of kin to get their pay.

While I can’t say I loved this book due to the blackness inherent in anything written about Gallipoli I can say it was reasonably well written. I did feel there were some details missing about the murder investigation, things that seemed to happen and we didn’t find out until much later but on the other hand they were in the middle of Gallipoli and that was hell so I give Sailah the benefit of the doubt. He does make some connections that may not be real but I recall reading about how he did take licence with one or two facts.

If you’re a Gallipoli person or obsessed with World War I I suggest you add it to your collection, it should fit in quite nicely. Sailah’s facts fit with what I know of this era of history. There are uplifting moments when mateship shows through and many times when you realise war is hell.