The Dead of Night by Australian writer John Marsden is Book Two in his Tomorrow-series, featuring originally seven (later eight) teens who goes camping during the Christmas Holidays only to return home a week later and finding that their country has been invaded by a military force, their families taken prisoners and a war raging. Book One (Tomorrow, When the War Began) ends with Kevin driving a mortally wounded Corrie to the hospital, even though that means that they will be taken prisoners as well. I have reviewed Book One here.
In Book Two, the teens, consisting of Ellie, Lee, Robyn, Fi, Homer and Chris are still hiding out in Hell, a hidden place somewhere in the Australian bush. They are beginning to get on each other’s nerves a lot now, the weather is becoming colder and more foul, and spirits has not been high since Kevin and Corrie turned themselves in. No one knows if Kevin and Corrie are still alive, and pretty soon the group decides to make one of their risky trips into town to see if they can find out what happened to Kevin and Corrie.
This trip is just one out of several which the group, now becoming better and better at guerilla warfare, makes during Book Two. Each trip is more risky than the other, and is described in such detail that the reader is sitting on the edge all the time. Yes, its that exciting. What is also marvellously described in this book is the relationship between the teens in the group, their worries and their need for both each other and some adults to step in and take charge. The kids face an awful lot of life changing decisions in this book, and I can only imagine that many more must be waiting for them in the next book. So while this is a dystopic read, almost apocalyptic (although the world has not gone under), we also read about the more “simple” decisions they have to make along the way, such as having sex for the first time, whether you should wear make up in the bush or not and much more. All characters develop throughout the book, which ends with another revelation for the main protagonist, Ellie, who is also the one telling the story. John Marsdens Tomorrow-series is highly recommendable. At least the first two books. I will soon read Book Three.