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The Twentieth Man

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The Twentieth Man

By Tony Jones

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Format: Paperback, 300 pages
Published In: Australia, 26 July 2017
He was the only one left alive; now it was his turn to die.In September 1972, journalist Anna Rosen takes an early morning phone call from her boss at the ABC, telling her about two bombings in Sydney's busy CBD. It's the worst terrorist attack in the country's history and Anna has no doubt which group is responsible for the carnage. She has been investigating the role of alleged war criminals in the globally active Ustasha movement.High in the Austrian Alps, Marin Katich is one of twenty would-be revolutionaries who slip stealthily over the border into Yugoslavia on a mission planned and funded in Australia. It will have devastating consequences for all involved.Soon the arrival in Australia of Yugoslavia's prime minister will trigger the next move in a deadly international struggle.Tony Jones, one of Australia's most admired journalists, has written a brilliantly compelling thriller, taking us from the savage mountains of Yugoslavia to Canberra's brutal yet covert power struggles in a novel that's intelligent, informed and utterly suspenseful.

About the Author

Tony Jones was still at school when Lionel Murphy raided ASIO. After an ABC cadetship, he joined Four Corners as a reporter in 1985, and then went to Dateline at SBS in 1986. He subsequently was an ABC foreign correspondent, for a time in London and later in Washington. Inter alia, he covered the war crimes in Bosnia. Today he hosts Q & A on Monday nights. He is married to fellow ABC journalist, Sarah Ferguson. This is his first novel.

EAN: 9781760295004
ISBN: 1760295000
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.3 centimetres (0.47 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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Anonymous on
The Twentieth Man is the first novel by Australian journalist and broadcaster, Tony Jones. A shocking act of terror, the like of which has never happened in Australia, mars a beautiful spring Saturday in 1972. Two bombs target Yugoslav travel agencies in George Street, Sydney. Despite expert opinion, the Attorney-General of the Liberal Government denies the existence of any evidence suggesting Ustasha, a Croatian extremist group, are involved. Even information from the Yugoslav Government, that a group of Australian-trained and -funded revolutionaries have attempted to infiltrate Bosnia, just two months earlier, does not sway this stance.

Fast forward two months, and a change of Government brings an Attorney General with a very different agenda. Lionel Murphy is determined to know the truth about ASIO’s involvement with the Croats, something that becomes all the more urgent with a death threat against the soon-to-visit Yugoslav Prime Minister.

Young and eager, ABC radio journalist Anna Rosen has been doing her own research on Croatian activities. Her interest was piqued by her abruptly aborted relationship, begun in 1970, with Marin Katich, son of Croat activist (and former Ustasha war criminal), Ivo Katich. Since Marin’s mysterious disappearance, Anna has amassed a comprehensive file of information; whispers of Marin’s involvement in the Bosnian incursion elicit mixed feelings.

The narrative comes from a dozen different perspectives. While much of the story is carried by the main characters, Anna, Marin, Commonwealth Policeman Al Sharp, press secretary George Negus (yes, that George Negus) and ASIO operative Tom Moriarty, the thoughts of minor characters like surveillance technicians, secretaries, members of parliament, bombing witnesses, policemen, ASIO’s deputy director and even the bomber are also heard when convenient. Flashbacks fill in a bit of history as needed.

Jones conveys the mood of early seventies Australia, the prevailing social and political climate, with accuracy (probably) and consummate ease. For readers of a certain vintage, there is an abundance of familiar names, and some nostalgia (no doubt mixed with relief) is bound to result from his rendition of the way it was then, the food and drink, the fashion, the level (read lack) of technical sophistication, the sexist attitudes, the xenophobia. The cameo by a certain well-known comedian is a cute touch. Could it happen in today’s tech-rich world? Probably not, but Jones renders this recent history easily digestible. An excellent political thriller.

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