A nail-biting historical adventure, Amber Cayley
October 27, 2021
Coastwatcher by David Hill is a gripping war story inspired by the coastwatchers of Operation Pacific. Coastwatchers were the eyes and ears of the Pacific Ocean in World War Two who watched for strange ships and aircrafts, listened into radio activity, and reported any activity back to New Zealand Headquarters. In this book we get a glimpse of what it was like to be a coastwatcher in the war.
It’s 1943 and radio operator Frank Benson is settling into the harsh life of being a soldier when he hears the news that he is to become a coastwatcher along with his pal Wally Ropata and Les Murray, an annoying Australian. They travel silently by boat to the Solomon Islands to set up camp and begin the dangerous job of being a coastwatcher.
What Frank originally thinks will be an easy sightseeing trip, “Brave? Sitting in the jungle and watching the world go by? …What would the rest of 3 Platoon think when they heard he was going to be… a bloody sightseer?,” turns out to be a test of both character and skill. With the harsh environment of the jungle and the constant worries of being caught, the three new coastwatchers must guard their backs.
When they stumble across a Solomon Islander, he claims he is simply there to collect fish and coconuts, but is he really? Is he a friend with priceless information to report about the Japanese or is he working for the enemy? Is this actually a trap that will get them killed? They must make a decision, that will one way or another, end in life or death.
I thoroughly enjoyed Coastwatcher and liked the insight into history it gave. I had never heard of coastwatchers before, and this book was a great history lesson as well as a great read. I was hooked instantly and there were many times in the book which were filled with such nail-biting suspense that it was impossible to stop reading, you just needed to know what would happen next.
I would recommend this book for 10-year-olds right up to adults; it is a book for everyone filled with adventure, mystery and war. Award winning author David Hill has done it again and Coastwatcher is as good as all his other books. I love how the characters develop and how they begin as strangers but by the end they are as close as brothers. The setting is also very good, and you feel involved in the story and adventure, but tucked up in the safety of your bed.
Coastwatcher is a suspense-filled, informative, war adventure story like no other. This is a book for everyone to enjoy, and I can imagine it being a perfect book for teachers to read aloud to their class.
- Amber Cayley is in year 9 at Sacred Heart Girls’ College in New Plymouth.