The fourth book in the Tomorrow series by Australian author John Marsden
When I first read this book I thought that it was one of the most 'low key'
of the series as it did not contain any 'big bangs'. I know realise that
because of this, it is actually one of the better books in the series.
The story in this novel does play itself out over a longer time frame than
the other books in the series, which makes for better pacing of events.
Also, as there doesn't seem to be one defining event that the story is
based around, many more events seem to occur in the book and there
is more emphasis on character development.
One of the good things about this book, is that there seems to be
more characters introduced in this novel than most of the others
in the series.
The ones that are introduced are; Colonel Finley and some New Zealand
soldiers, of which Ian is the leader. What is good about them is that
they are believable and they help to add interest to the story.
Adding to this is the way the existing characters are developed.
One of my favourite sections of the book is where Ellie describes
her feelings for and relationship with Corrie,
even though it is heartbreaking to hear it in the circumstances.
The situations shown in this book do seem to be realistic as
everything seems to go wrong all the time. However, it all does
seem reasonable, as you can't expect the situations to work out
with the same results all the time.
What happened to the New Zealand soldiers who arrived back in
Australia with the group is never explained. This is realistic
as it puts the reader in the same situation as Ellie and her friends.
I believe that the language used in this book is up to the standard
of the previous episode in the series.
There also seems to be more varietyin the language used in this book,
possibly due to the slightly different settings at the start of the story.
Overall, I have to say that this would be one of the 'deeper'
books in the series. You really get to find out a great deal about the
characters and how they cope with what is happening to them.
The following contains spoilers for the book...
This book starts with the surprising revelation to the reader
as well as the main character, that the group has been asked
to guide a detachment of New Zealand Commandos back in Australia
and that they leave the next week.
For five months now, the group has been recovering in New Zealand
after being rescued, along with a pilot, during an air raid on
Stratton where the group had been imprisoned.
After a while in New Zealand, the group hears a rumour that some
of the Australian refugees are going to be dropped back into
occupied territory to work as guerrillas. Lee suggests that they
might be on the list to go back, but the others don't take
much notice of him at the time.
They do notice however, when Ellie and Fi arrive home from a run
one day to see Colonel Finley talking to the others and Homer
blurts out that they are going back to Australia.
Not long after, we meet Captain Pearce, the leader of the
New Zealand commandos that the group is meant to guide around
Wirrawee for an attack on a major target.
Ellie is single out by Colonel Finley to provide intelligence
important to the commandos' mission, but she is not told
the full story for her own protection.
In what seems too-short a time afterwards, Ellie finds herself
on a plane bound for Australia across the Tasman Sea with the
New Zealand soldiers, then on a helicopter heading for the
drop zone with a talkative pilot named Sam.
Ellie gets to prove herself to the soldiers when she is asked
to lead them to the track that leads to Tailor's Stitch. She does
get a bit overconfident and it takes them longer to reach the track,
but they do eventually make it.
When the group reaches the top of Tailor's Stitch, they are frustrated
when Ian wants to wait until darkness to cross the exposed ridge
down into Hell, but they see the sense of it.
Homer cracks it when Ellie is chosen to lead the soldiers down into Hell,
then loses it again when Ellie and Lee are chosen to guide the soldiers
back into Wirrawee the next night.
Of course, no one is perfect and the stress Ellie has been under contributes
to an incident in Wirrawee with the soldiers. She is taken back to the bottom
of the track to Tailor's Stitch for her own safety.
Four days later, the group decides to go into Wirrawee to look for the
New Zealand soldiers and Lee, as they have heard nothing from them.
On their way into town, they are surprised by a group of children, which
leads to Ellie and her friends being chased first by the colonists, then
the enemy soldiers.
After spending many hours up trees to avoid the search, the group climbs
down only to find that they are still being searched for.
Both Kevin and Ellie come up with the idea of using the horses in the paddock
as a means of escape and a dramatic sequence follows.
The group is still being chased as they reach Wirrawee and they face a showdown
with a group of soldiers at the lookout. They manage to escape due to Ellie's
quick thinking of lighting a fire.
Still on the run, the group manages to find shelter the abandoned high school
that they all used to go to. While Fi is on sentry duty later on, she sees
someone outside and Kevin goes to check it out. The person turns out to be
Lee, who has been hiding in the cemetery for a week and is on the point
of collapse when he reaches them.
Just before he goes to sleep, he tells the others he has something important
to tell them, but he is asleep before he has a chance.
What Lee eventually tells the group, concerns the fate of their families
and also that Fi may have a chance to see her parents.
However, Ellie realises that there were two things that Lee didn't tell them.
What happened to his parents and even more importantly to Ellie, what has
happened to Corrie.
A heart rending trip to the cemetery follows, after which Ellie feels that
she would rather face the enemy again than tell her friends what happened
It is Lee that has the next idea, to try and succeed where the New Zealand
soldiers failed and attack the airport.
Knowing that a direct attack would surely fail, the group decides to split
up, with Ellie and Fi going to the fuel depot and the others trying to
create a distraction...