War Clouds Gather,
by Peter Watt (Macmillan, RRP $38):
War Clouds Gather is the latest instalment in Peter Watt’s broad-reaching family saga that spans the world but has its heart firmly placed in Australia.
The story takes up in the late 1930s. The Depression years are drawing to an end, fascism and communism are in a struggle for the hearts and minds of Europe and the democratic countries are either in isolation or attempting appeasement with those countries that seem bent on rocking the diplomatic boat.
The story follows three main strands. The first concerns black-hearted Sir George Macintosh, who is still wielding immense familial and financial power through his business empire.
His hopes to bend his son to his own image are as strong as his intent to keep his nephew from the Macintosh firm.
The second strand follows the adventures of said nephew, David, and the third deals with one of the Duffys, Captain Matthew Duffy, who, while struggling to keep his Iraq-based airline aloft, becomes involved in counter-espionage in British- controlled Iraq.
It is an easy book to get into and not having read of the series any previously was no hindrance.
It’s a simple and enjoyable period drama, an Australian Wilbur Smith if you will.