The Twentieth Man reviewed by Jenny

Political intrigue and terror plots are stock in trade for Tony Jones and in The Twentieth Man he has called on all his journalistic skills and experience to tell an important and relevant story on these twin themes. By wrapping a fictional account around actual facts and real characters he has created an exciting tale which will engage and amaze. Could we imagine a time when terrorism cells grew and thrived in Australia? Is it possible that assassination on our streets could occur regularly?

This is the fascinating story of Croats in Australia after World War 2. Their ultra-right-wing ideas have them seething to assassinate leaders and overthrow a government. On their trail is Anna Rosen, one of a new breed of young, feminist and fiercely independent journalists. Anna has inside knowledge and connections to the dangerous men planning an outrage but is not at all sure how to pursue the story without hopelessly compromising herself.

The tension builds and is made all the more real by the presence of genuine characters in the police, journalism and, especially, Lionel Murphy as Attorney-General. They become larger than life and it is hard to believe that any writer’s imagination could capture more flamboyant individuals.

The scene is set and excitement builds, made all the more vivid by the vernacular of the 70’s along with its cavalier and down to earth behaviour. It’s a wonderful recreation of the era, with its mixture of sexism, bravado and naivety as the story moves inexorably toward the ultimate act of terror and the reason why we knew nothing of this at the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *