The year is 2035 and the European, Chinese and American superpowers are on the brink of war. Yet everyone is surprised when the front lines are drawn across Australia. Refusing to be drawn into the conflict, the Australians find themselves against an impatient American invasion force. Tom Jacka, a 2nd Lieutenant, is in command of a small missile station when the attack comes.  After successfully deceiving the Americans that his station was malfunctioning, Jacka destroys a large flight of American paratrooper planes and gives the Australians a much needed glimpse of hope. Soon he finds himself promoted and transformed into a heroic symbol for his countrymen.  The young man takes command, despite his lack of experience, and tries to live up to his reputation. However, through bloody combat he learns the tragedy of war and that, in truth, there are no heroes.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the battlefield, General Kurfist arrives to revitalise the disaster-struck American campaign. He finds his forces reduced to the minimal as his superiors on the home front, ignorant of the Australian defences, deny him reinforcements but mobilise instead to defend against possible European or Chinese attack. Kurfist knows they can no longer count of brute force alone and struggles to remove his overconfident force out of a potentially disastrous position. Yet Kurfist has a card up his sleeve, a CIA agent within the ranks of the Australian officers. Armed with a superior firepower, intelligence from the inside and Kurfist’s experience, American tanks roll through Queensland’s forests and into the inland deserts. For a time they seem unstoppable.

Whilst all other Australian battalions had been routed by Kurfist’s men, Jacka finds himself behind enemy lines when the Americans pass over the position of his brigade. Instead of making a desperate dash to rejoin the rest of the Australian defenders, Jacka uses his position to cut off the advancing Americans from their supply lines. For a time they ambush convoy after convoy until an overwhelming force of U.S. infantry arrive to meet them. Jacka doesn’t even realise that with every man who dies he becomes desensitised to the tragedy around him.

Having fought in forest, plains, deserts, in the air and under the sea, the Australians rob the American force of its supplies until they finally pressure Kurfist into a situation where it is “profitable to retreat.” The Americans withdraw, managing to keep most of their forces intact. Jacka is allowed some leave but upon seeing his family again only realises in agony how much war has changed him.

However, just as the Australians begin to celebrate, China begins its conquest of Asia. The lines of Chinese tanks even touch the Middle-East and Russia. It also seems a fleet has been dispatched to take Australia while they are still weak and disorganised. Jacka is left to guard his home city of Sydney while the majority of Australian forces are moved to the Northern Territory in preparation for the attack. Fortunately, with all politicians having realised that there is no escape from this war, Australia makes a deal with the European Union. The mighty EU fleet turns the Chinese ships back towards Shanghai. Just as it seems Australia has been spared however, it is announced that a small but elite American force is just hours from attacking Sydney.

Kurfist’s objectives are clear this time. He plans to take the city whilst most of the Australians defenders are away and hold it for ransom. In one final confrontation, Jacka and Kurfist fight face to face with everything they have. Yet even amongst Jacka’s officers is a spy who could turn the tide. Just as they have fought throughout the whole campaign, each officer must be cruel and calculating to produce victory yet they must also somehow retain their morality and identity, or they will forget everything that they are fighting for.

Advocate is C.D.McDonald’s first writing project, written from the time he was 15 till he was 20. It represents a maturity and elegance brought into a very dense action story. Advocate is a great book for those who love epic battles and young underdogs.

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