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Burning for Revenge: Tomorrow #5    by John Marsden order for
Burning for Revenge
by John Marsden
Order:  USA  Can
Pan, 2003 (1997)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I love this series! It all started with Tomorrow When the War Began, and continues through seven episodes. John Marsden put a group of teen friends through the wringer physically and emotionally, after they woke up at their campsite one day to find their country (Australia) invaded and their families incarcerated. Almost accidentally, they morphed into resistance fighters.

Their adventures have been narrated by Ellie, who's brave, caring and has good common sense. She tells their stories, reflecting not only on what's happening around them, but also on what's going on inside them. Through the series, members of the group have died, they've been airlifted to New Zealand and then sent back by Colonel Finley, they've performed impressive acts of sabotage, and they've killed. The ongoing pressures have created strong, credible tensions within the group (only Ellie, Homer, Lee, Fiona and Kevin are left), and this continues in Burning for Revenge, fifth in the series, particularly when one teen falls apart at a critical time. As Ellie tells us, 'Imagination and memory had become enemies.'

Though still hoping to be helicoptered back to New Zealand, and despite Kevin's objections, they leave the sanctuary of 'Hell', hoping to make a difference, if only in a small way. They get their wish, when a series of serendipities dumps them right in the middle of a warehouse in 'the most heavily guarded area for a thousand k's.' It's the strategic Wirrawee Airfield, which Finley's covert team had failed to penetrate. Now, the teens seize the opportunity and take their chance, not expecting to survive the operation. When it succeeds beyond their wildest dreams, and they're all well singed but still standing, they're on the run once more. Despite several close calls and a prolonged dunking, they wend their way to Ellie's grandmother's home in Stratton.

They're mugged by feral children, whom they worry over but are unable to approach, and a betrayal hits Ellie hard. She realizes that the worst damage of the war is not that done to material things, but rather 'the damage deep inside us.' Burning for Revenge is one of the best episodes in an action-packed series, that still makes time for deep reflection. If you haven't found the Tomorrow books yet, hurry up and get reading.

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