The seventh and final book in the popular Tomorrow series written by
Australian author John Marsden.
And so we come to the final instalment of the Tomorrow Series,
a series I believe is one of the best in Australian Literature.
Some people may disagree with me, but I think the story is excellent in this novel.
It's a big ask to try and tie all the threads of the series in just one book,
but I believe it is accomplished very well.
As with the previous books in the series, the story quite often goes in directions
you would not expect, which helps make it more interesting.
The characters in the novel are also intriguing. The regulars are there
of course, but there are also two interesting minor characters in the
form of Ryan and Colonel Long as well as the reintroduction of some people
that the main characters have been looking forward to seeing since the
beginning of the war.
As in the third book in the series, the focus returns solely to Ellie when she
is again separated from her friends during an attack. This also allows the opportunity
for more characters to be introduced in the form of prisoners in Camp 23.
As it is the final book in the series, there seems to be more situations shown in this
novel than the other books in the series.
In my mind, the situations that are handled the best are Ellie's imprisonment in Camp 23
and the final sequences in the book.
As with the previous books in the series, the language in this novel is very dark.
This is particularly evident during the events at the start of the novel and Ellie's
time in Camp 23.
Towards the end of the book however, the language does seem to lighten as the threads
of the story are bought to a conclusion, but there is still a darkness underneath,
as if everything will not be the same as it was before the war.
Well, after seven weeks of on and off reading, I've been through the entire Tomorrow Series
once again and I am glad to have done so.
As I said before, there are some people that were disappointed with this instalment in
the series. I wasn't among them though, as I thought that this novel bought the series
to a conclusion perfectly.
Although the author has moved on to other things, it would be good to hear how the
surviving characters get on in the years after the events in the novels.
An exercise for the reader perhaps?
The following contains spoilers for the book...
After the attack by the enemy patrol on Tailor's Stitch at the end of the last book,
Ellie and her friends are keen to see this 'visitor' that Colonel Finley has promised them.
As it turns out, the man who visits them, Ryan, has for them than just food and supplies.
He also brings weapons and instructions for the group to 'pick up the pace' in their
attacks as something big in the war is approaching.
He also has a couple of unique characteristics: a strange sense of humour and saying
'Mother of God' a lot. This is forgotten when the group runs into it's second enemy
patrol in 24 hours and has to deal with them without the help of Ryan.
The outcome of the battle is shocking to say the least, but it finally convinces the group that they need to leave straight away to carry out the orders they were given.
Ellie has one condition though, the kids have to go back with Ryan. He objects to this,
but soon realises he has no choice.
On their way to the chopper pick up, they manage to blunder upon another enemy patrol
(who seem to be waiting for the chopper also), and they have to run to the backup landing site.
In their rush to make the chopper, the group manages to get separated and only just makes
it in time to load Natalie, Casey and Jack and wish them farewell. Guess who is missing?
It comes as no surprise to them that Gavin turns up just after the chopper leaves,
leaving the rest of the group to suspect that he never intended to go in the first place.
Seeing the situation the group decides to take Gavin along with them. Ellie secretly admires Gavin's determination and strength, even though she is pissed off that he 'got lost' deliberately.
Following the instructions given to them by Ryan, the group sets out in the direction
of Cavendish to 'do some damage' and on the way they stop at Stratton for a couple of days.
Their main reason for hiding out at Ellie's Grandmother's house is that they need to wait
for the 'go code' from New Zealand before they begin their attacks. In the mean time they
busy themselves in some schemes to get rid off the annoying motorbike patrols, which
leads to Ellie being disgusted at the boys' foolish behaviour.
The next day after receiving their orders, the group sets off again and seems to walk
for ages, until they come to a very busy highway beside a railway line. There they can see
the evidence of the New Zealand counter attack in the number of enemy soldiers on the move.
After debating possible targets, the group decides to take out a service station where the convoys refuel and they start preparing.
When they have finished their preparations, Ellie feels restless and decides to go check
out the railway line and is joined by Homer and Gavin. While they are there, Gavin proves
his worth twice more by managing to feel when there is something approaching on the line.
That night they decide to attack just after dark as they feel the timing is crucial.
Ellie is nervous as they leave Kevin to do his assigned task, that the he will have another
breakdown as was the case at the airfield.
Eventually, they are in position to attack the service station. Ellie is with Lee and
Homer, Fi and Gavin are going to create a distraction.
As was arranged with Kevin, the power goes off right on queue and Ellie begins to carry out her plan, but she is surprised by a soldier, who Lee deals with.
Ellie places the explosives in the fuel tanks and just as she lights the fuse, she is
surprised by another soldier, who she tells to run. At the same time there is an explosion from one of the trucks and shooting.
Finding herself separated from for her friends and being pursued by the enemy, Ellie heads
for her pack where she hopes her friends will be waiting, but not before a tremendous
explosion that destroys the service station.
Still being chased through the bush after collecting her pack, Ellie decides to hop a train.
Things are no better on the train and she finds herself being pursued yet again, this time
by an extremely resilient and persistent soldier wearing glasses. She finally manages to
get rid off him via a deadly game of frisbee.
Just after this happens, the train stops suddenly and Ellie decides to make her move.
She sprints for the bush, where she hopes she can get ahead of the train, which would
aid in her attempts to sabotage it.
She manages to do just that, but what she didn't take into consideration was the amount
of soldiers on the train who are onto her like a shot. (Which is what happens to her.)
Lying in a pool of her own blood in terrible agony, Ellie wishes for death. Her wish is almost
granted the following morning when she is found and the soldiers set upon her, but at the
last moment they are called off by a mysterious figure.
While recovering from her operation under guard in a military hospital, Ellie learns that it is Colonel Long who saved her, but for unknown reasons. As a precaution to disassociate
herself from past attacks, Ellie decides to go by the name of Amber Faulding while in hospital.
Thinking that she will be better off out of the hospital, Ellie presses for her release
not realising what she is letting herself in for.
As she is about to leave, she gets another visit from Colonel Long, who reveals to her
his true reasons for protecting her and also warns her not to ask about her friends again
as it will have bad consequences for her.
Ellie's first encounter with Camp 23 sets the tone of her stay there, but at least she
takes solace in the fact that everyone seems to be in the same boat. She does make some
new friends in the form of Issa and Monique, her tent mates. She is also questioned by
the Women's Prisoner Representative, Judy, but she refuses to tell her anything.
A few torturous weeks later, Ellie's real identity is revealed by someone who didn't know any better (the first time we hear Ellie's full name said in the series) and plans are
put into action for her to escape with the aid of the camp doctor.
After only just managing to escape yet again, Ellie makes her way towards Simmon's Reef
where she has heard her mother is being held, however, she is unaware of other events
that are soon to change her life forever...