What are the books about
B 14 A Falcon Flies. Heinemann, 1980. 524 pages. Author’s 14th book.
“Dr. Robyn Ballantyne, daughter of a famous missionary explorer, returns on a joint expedition with her brother, Zouga, to southern Africa, the land of her birth, fired with the desire to bring the Africans medicine, Christianity and an end to the slave trade, still flourishing in 1860. She discovers that the clipper she and her brother are on is in reality a slave ship. The debonair American captain, Mungo St John, is a slaver himself. Irresistibly attracted to this man but simultaneously repelled by his ruthlessness, Robyn resolves to fight him to the last – a course she is supported in by the fanatical anti-slave trader and English naval captain, Clinton Codrington, with whom she makes contact in Cape Town. When she and her brother take passage on Clinton’s ship to Portuguese East Africa, her resolve is reinforced by an encounter with a slave dhow whose cargo of human misery they try to save from a wreck while the Arab slaver flees to safety. On arrival at the mouth of the Zambesi, Robyn and Zouga leave Clinton, who is by now deeply in love with Robyn and plunge into the uncharted African interior, experiencing the beauty of an undiscovered land, and the terrors of a treacherous guide and hostile tribesman. The simmering conflict between them soon makes it clear that further travel together is impossible. Zouga’s desire to seek his fortune and Robyn’s obsessions with tracing their legendary father and investigating the slave trade are incompatible. A Falcon Flies is remarkable for its sense of the African wild, grimly informative about the slave trade, and alive with the obsessions and impossible love of its strongminded heroine.”
B 11 A Sparrow Falls . Heinemann, 1977. 539 pages. Author’s 11th book.
“A Sparrow Falls will triumphantly fulfil the expectations of millions of readers around the world. Sean Courtney, who made and lost £5 million on the goldfields of the Witwatersrand and fought his way through the bloody battlefields of the Anglo-Boer War, now makes his final appearance as soldier, statesman and power in the land. War and a bitter estrangement have lost him his own sons. But when Fortune brings him young Mark Anders, a man as dear to him as his own blood, Sean is drawn into a drama as turbulent as any in his life. From the devastation of the trenches in northern France, through the violence of the Johannesburg strikes during the early ‘twenties, to the serene splendours of the African wilderness, this novel vibrates with Sean’s towering personality and is driven forward with unquenchable energy by young Mark, relentless in his pursuit of justice.”
B 21 A Time to Die. Heinemann, 1989. 461 pages. Author’s 21st book.
“ From the master of epic storytelling comes one of his greatest adventures yet – a towering novel of high suspense, breathtaking action and stirring romance. Set against the majesty of the African landscape, its great plains, swamplands, forests and mountains, A Time to Die is a story of courage and friendship, the thrill of the hunt, the savagery of war and the saving power of love. Sean Courtney, professional hunter and veteran guerrilla fighter, is swept up in the savage tides of a new war. Caught between two rival armies, between his love for the beautiful woman at his side and his instincts as a trained fighter, Sean Courtney finds himself the captive of a brutal enemy from his past. In the ordeal of danger and endurance that is to follow, Sean Courtney is thrust once more into the front line of bloody battle, every nerve and sinew tested to the limit as hunter becomes the hunted in a wilderness ravaged by war. A Time to Die is spellbinding entertainment, sweeping the reader from the great hunting grounds of Zimbabwe to the fierce heat of the Zambezi valley and the scorched wastelands of Mozambique. Excitement, stunning location and sheer narrative power are combined in a novel that vibrates with the author’s deep feeling for the heartbeat of the African wild.”
B 32 Assegai. Macmillan, 2009. 472 pages. Author’s 32nd book.
“It is 1913 and ex-soldier turned professional big game hunter, Leon Courtney, is in British East Africa guiding rich and powerful men from America and Europe on safaris in the Masai tribe territories. One of his clients, German industrialist Count Otto Von Meerbach, has a company which builds aircraft and vehicles for the Kaiser’s burgeoning army. But Leon had not bargained for falling passionately in love with Eva, the Count’s beautiful and enigmatic mistress. Just prior to the outbreak of World War I, Leon is recruited by his uncle, Penrod Ballantyne, Commander of the British Forces in East Africa, to gather information from Von Meerbach. He stumbles on a plot against the British involving the disenchanted survivors of the Boer War, but it is only when Eva and Von Meerbach return to Africa that Leon finds out who and what is really behind the conspiracy.”
B 26 Birds of Prey. Macmillan ,1997. 554 pp. Author’s 26th book.
“It is 1667 and the mighty naval war between the Dutch and the English still rages. Sir Francis Courteney and his son Hal, in their fighting caravel, are on patrol off Southern Africa, lying in wait for a galleon of the Dutch East India Company returning from the Orient laden with spices, timber and gold. From the very first pages, Wilbur Smith spins a colourful and exciting tale, crackling with tension and drama, that builds to a stunning climax. Packed with vivid descriptive passages of the open seas, and an extraordinary cast of characters, Birds of Prey is a masterpiece from a storyteller at the height of his powers.”
B 29 Blue Horizon. Macmillan, 2003. 620 pp. Author’s 29th book.
“At the close of Monsoon, Tom Courtney and his brother Dorian battled on the high seas and finally reached the Cape of Good Hope to start life afresh. In this spellbinding new novel, the next generation of Courtneys are out to stake their claim in Southern Africa, travelling along the infamous ‘Robber’s Road’. It is a journey both exciting and hazardous, that takes them through the untouched wilderness of a beautiful land filled with warring tribes and wild animals. At heart a story of love and hatred, vengeance and greed, Blue Horizon is an utterly compelling adventure from one of the world’s most celebrated novelists.”
B 10 Cry Wolf. Heinemann, 1976. 389 pp. Author’s 10th book.
“Following the outstanding success of Eagle in the Sky and The Sunbird, Wilbur Smith turns to the mountains and deserts of Ethiopia as the setting. The date – that catastrophic winter of 1935-6, when the wolf of Rome, the armies of Italy, threatened to annihilate the almost defenceless Ethiopian people. Jake Barton, a tough, hard-punching engineer from Texas, and Gareth Swales, a stylish old-Etonlan gun-runner down on his luck, make a lucrative arms deal with an Ethiopian prince, and dare to challenge the international blockade on land and sea to deliver a consignment of ancient and decrepit armoured cars to his beleaguered countrymen. Part of the deal also calls for them to take, along with the armour, a beautiful but fiery young American woman journalist, who has espoused the Ethiopian cause. The three of them, Jake, Gareth and Vicky, find themselves swept irresistibly from a daring adventure Into a violent confrontation with death among the high mountains of Ethiopia. High-tension drama and a rich cast of Ethiopian and Italian characters, led by the indomitable and unforgettable partnership of Jake and Gareth, combine to make Cry Wolf an exhilarating read, a worthy addition to Wilbur Smith’s impressive record of bestselling novels.”
B 8 Eagle in the Sky. Heinemann, 1974. 307 pp. Author’s 8th book.
“Young David Morgan, gifted heir apparent to a South African fortune, rebels against the boardroom future mapped out for him with sickening predictability by his family. Drawn to the sky as though to his natural element, he trains to become a brilliant jet pilot and, fleeing from his home and all it stands for, sets out to make his own life. But after meeting Debra, an attractive young Israeli writer and university lecturer, once more free choice seems his no longer. Drawn to Jerusalem to find her, he is straightway plunged into Israel’s nerve-snapping struggle for survival. Mirage pilots as skilled as he are at a premium, and both memories of his own mother and his growing passion for Debra make involvement with this new country’s cause inescapable. Excitement and exhilaration are checked by a violent reality, as the war which has drawn David and Debra so close, threatens to tear them apart. The story of David’s anguished fight to preserve their love from the destruction and mutilation of war, and replant it in the relative – if not wholly unbroken – peace of the remote South African wilds, ensures this novel a place among the Wilbur Smith greats. It is a haunting and irresistible read.”
B 23 Elephant Song. Macmillan, 1991. 451 pp. Author’s 23rd book.
“Blood was the fertiliser that made the African soil bloom...
From under the shadow of the Mountains of the Moon and the deep, brooding Forests of the Tall Trees, to the hidden opulence of Taiwan and the panelled boardrooms of power in the heart of London, a tough, determined man and a dedicated woman begin their fight against the forces of greed, evil and corruption. In Zimbabwe, Dr Daniel Armstrong, world-famous TV naturalist, films the slaughter of a herd of elephant: closing in as their blood stains the soil and their death song echoes around the stillness of the valley, his professionalism is tinged with a deep sadness. In London, anthropologist Kelly Kinnear is forced into violent confrontation with the shareholders of the most powerful conglomerate in the City of London, warning them of the destruction of an African country and of a people – the Bambuti – she has come to love as her own. Combining breathtaking realism with thrilling suspense, Elephant Song is a gripping adventure from the world’s master storyteller – a journey deep into the heart of a wild, magnificent continent, threatened for ever by the destructive hand of man.”
B 5 Gold Mine. Heinemann, 1970. 222 pp. Author’s 5th book.
"‘Your unquestioning obedience. You will be my man.’ Such is Manfred’s demand when he offers Rod Ironsides the general managership of the Sonder Ditch gold mine. For Rod, ambitious and hard-living but totally gripped by the life of the mine, it is the chance of a lifetime. Manfred Steyner is neurotic and ruthless, a compulsive gambler who treats people as counters in a private game and his beautiful, frustrated wife Terry as a social prop and source of cash. He already despises Rod, and when he discovers Rod’s passion for Terry, icy dislike turns to mortal hatred. Neither Rod nor Manfred, however, understands that they are both involved in a more significant drama. They have become the unwitting tools of a group of powerful men, who for personal and political gain plan to destroy the largest gold mine in the world. Once again the author of When the Lion Feeds and Shout at the Devil has written a first-class story of love and adventure. Here is a brilliant, exciting reconstruction of life in the gold mine – below and above ground, paralysing disasters, ingenious gold-filching, violent people and the irresistible magnetism of the gold itself.”
B 22 Golden Fox. MacMillan, 1990. 466 pages. Author’s 22nd book.
“London, 1969 – and the headstrong and beautiful Isabella Courtney dazzles all. Yet the years that follow will test Isabella to the extreme of her endurance. They will be years of hardship and bitter pain, hidden behind the masks of affluence and success. It will be a time in which brother is pitted against brother, as they are drawn into the lair of the golden fox. Golden Fox irresistibly sweeps the reader through the heart of London society, the grandeur of Europe and the searing heat of a divided Africa. Once again, Wilbur Smith combines his unique talents for electric story-telling, meticulous research and compassion for places and their people in a novel of adventure, romantic obsession, deceit and desire, in a world where betrayal demands the ultimate sacrifice...”
B 12 Hungry As the Sea. Heinemann, 1978. 378 pages. Author’s 12th book.
“The ‘Golden Prince’ is deposed: once the flamboyant chairman of a huge shipping consortium, now the captain of a salvage tug – such is the revolution in the life of Nick Berg. Then a cruise ship, stranded with six hundred people in the frozen wastes of the Antarctic, could be his chance to fight back. His heroic salvage of the liner in some of the most terrifying weather on this planet sweeps him back to even greater power and an even more deadly conflict with the man who has supplanted him as chairman. Blazing action is the keynote of this splendid novel of the sea: in the ice-world of Antarctica; in the thundering surf of a South African beach; in the unbearable tension of a hushed courtroom in the City of London; in the subtle conflict between two women, the irrepressible Samantha and Nick’s lovely former wife, and finally in the striding devastation of a Caribbean hurricane.”
B 15 Men of Men. Heinemann, 1981. 506 pages. Author’s 15th book.
“During the reign of Queen Victoria Englishmen answering the call of Empire voyaged out to take possession of half their known world. Their leaders were such men as Cecil Rhodes, Leander Starr Jameson and Zouga Ballantyne. Some of this pioneer company journeyed north from the Cape in search of gold and land, of cattle and loot. Others went for glory and the pursuit of a dream. For Zouga Ballantyne the dream of the north land began in the danger and drudgery of the diamond pits of Kimberley and ended on the rich grass lands of Matabeleland below the Zambezi River – but not before a king had died and a nation of proud warriors had been shattered. Never have this master storyteller’s deep love and understanding of southern Africa’s history been more forcefully employed to create a novel of spellbinding action and romance. This vivid historical novel is the second of the Ballantyne series of four books about the origins of Rhodesia and its later violent transformation into Zimbabwe.”
B 27 Monsoon. Macmillan 1999. 674 pages. Author’s 17th book.
“It is the dawn of the Eighteenth Century. At the farthest edges of the known world, the mighty East India Trading Company suffers catastrophic losses from pirates on the high seas. After four years away from service, master mariner Sir Hal Courtney prepares for his latest and most dangerous voyage – a death or glory mission in the name of Empire and the crown. But Hal must also think about the fate of his four sons. All are very different from each other. But each will have a crucial part to play in shaping the Courtney’s destiny. Separated by the winds of hazard, adventure will rule their future – just as passion will forge their lives. Wilbur Smith carries all the powerful drama and rich emotions of a bygone time into his action-packed tale of the sea. Monsoon is a masterpiece from the world’s greatest storyteller.”
B 19 Power of the Sword. Heinemann, 1986. 618 pages. Author’s 19th book.
“Power of the Sword is a rich and thrilling adventure, a magnificent feat of storytelling that sweeps the reader from the deserts, mountains and cities of Africa to the heartland of Nazi Germany, and from the turmoil of the Depression years into the white heat of war. A novel of life-long love and hate, of courage and revenge, Power of the Sword is the story of two half-brothers – the sons of Centaine de Thiry Courtney from The Burning Shore – caught up in the tumult of their nation’s history through almost two decades. Blood enemies from their first boyhood encounter, Manfred De La Rey and Shasa Courtney find themselves adversaries in a war of age-old savagery to seize the sword of power in their land. Moving from the teeming goldfields of the Highveld to the secret citadels of Afrikaner power, from the ringing Olympic stadia of Berlin in 1936 to the raging skies over the Abyssinian hills, Power of the Sword is epic fiction rooted in documentary fact-a majestic entertainment by a master of his craft.”
B 20 Rage. Heinemann, 1987. 627 pages. Author’s 20th book.
“In Wilbur Smith’s masterly epic of love, hatred and revenge, the long and deadly enmity between Manfred De La Rey and Shasa Courtney explodes as South Africa herself is swept by the fires of racial conflict. The two half brothers are now ministers in a government dedicated to a vision of the sub-continent in which people of all races would be free to develop and flourish separately. However, both men must confront the ugly reality of apartheid and their country’s growing isolation in a cynical and hostile world. In this violent and bloody struggle against the mounting tide of black rage Manfred and Shasa must also face the consequences of their own ruthless ambition for power and the fate to which their bloodlines and destinies, so closely bound together, have compelled them. Rage displays all of Wilbur Smith’s most powerful skills of storytelling in a sweeping adventure full of passion and danger and the march of historic events, illuminating those turbulent years from the early 1950s to the mid 1960s in which the crisis of the present day was formed.”
B24 River God. Macmillan, 1993. 530 pages. Author’s 24th book.
“Ancient Egypt. Land of the Pharaohs. A kingdom built on gold. A legend shattered by greed... Now the Valley of the Kings lies ravaged by war, drained of its lifeblood, as weak men inherit the cherished crown. City of Thebes. The Festival of Osiris. Loyal subjects of the Pharaoh gather to pay homage to their leader, but Taita – a wise and formidably gifted eunuch slave – sees him only as a symbol of a kingdom’s fading glory. Beside Taita stand his protégés: Lostris, daughter of Lord Intef, beautiful beyond her fourteen years; and Tanus, proud young army officer, whose father was betrayed by Lord Intef, Chief Vizier of Egypt whose power is second only to the Pharaoh. Tanus and Lostris are deeply in love, but unbeknown to them, their union is an impossibility. Taita is the slave of Lord Intef. It was Intef who had Taita gelded as a young boy after he found that he had slept with a young slave girl. Together Taita, Lostris and Tanus share a dream – to restore the majesty of the Pharaoh of Pharaohs on the banks of the Nile. Through Taita, Wilbur Smith draws the reader irresistibly into the daily lives of his characters: their hopes, their fears, their passions. A glorious civilisation. An epic journey. A heroic battle. An enduring love. Here is a magnificent, richly imagined saga that explodes with all the drama, mystery and rage of a bygone time.”
B 4 Shout at the Devil. Heinemann, 1968. 311 pp. Author’s 4th book.
“ ‘This scheme has flair! This scheme is Napoleonic!’ roars Flynn Patrick O’Flynn, with characteristic enthusiasm. The year is 1912. The place East Africa. The action–ivory-poaching deep in the German-occupied delta of the steaming Rufiji river. But Flynn, elephant-hunter and hounder of Germans, likes to enjoy the spoils of his sport without too much effort and the arrival of rich young Sebastian Oldsmith is a windfall he cannot resist. Before he can gather his fuddled wits, Sebastian is plunged not merely into an ivory-hunt but a murderous game of hide-and-seek with Flynn’s outraged and much-taunted enemy, the gross, German Commissioner, Herman Fleischer.
1914. War is declared with Germany. At last Fleischer has carte blanche to avenge years of hurt pride. In a single action of devastating brutality, the gay racketeering becomes a chilling war of personal vendetta, as Flynn sets out with Sebastian and Flynn’s daughter Rosa, to take their revenge – and join the hunt for the German warship, Blücher. From jaunty start to grim finale, Shout at the Devil moves with all the ebullience and power of the brilliant, incorrigible, gin-drinking, old brigand that is its central character.
Hilarious comedy gives way to spine-chilling horror at the end, as Flynn, Sebastian and Rosa come to learn that death and violence are no longer a grotesque joke but a savage reality.”
B 16 The Angels Weep. Heinemann, 1982. 506 pages. Author’s 16th book.
“Dreams of Empire, desire for land and its hidden mineral wealth and for power over a proud and warlike people: such were the forces that drove Englishmen in Queen Victoria’s last years to thrust deep into an untamed continent and found a new dominion. With those Pioneers rode Ralph Ballantyne, a man whose ambition and sense of destiny made him at once his leader’s greatest servant and betrayer. From the last years of the nineteenth century this broad novel sweeps through to the present day when the confrontation of two families, mirroring the conflict of two nations, comes full circle. The Angels Weep is about the way the seeds of hatred sown in battles fought round issues of land and race will germinate and produce anew ugly sprouts of the same tragic stock. An exciting, colourful and moving novel in both its parts.”
B 18 The Burning Shore. Heinemann, 1985. 435 pp. Author’s 18th book.
“This first volume of the second Courtney sequence, The Burning Shore is a marvellous epic of courage and love that moves from the blazing skies of war torn France to the secret heart of the African wilderness. It is the odyssey of a beautiful young woman of aristocratic birth, Centaine de Thiry, in search of love and fortune – a monumental journey of mystery and discovery. Once again in The Burning Shore Wilbur Smith proves that he is the master storyteller. Whether his subject is love or war, whether he is describing the conflict of men and machines above the trenches of 1917 or the onslaught of a ravenous man-eating lion, he writes with such authority and hypnotic attention to detail that the reader is swept away on the torrent of the narrative. Magnificently exciting, full of vivid action, passion and mystery, The Burning Shore is certainly one of the richest and most entertaining adventure stories of our time.”
B 2 The Dark of the Sun. Heinemann, 1965. 284 pp. Author’s 2nd book.
“Wilbur Smith’s first, dynamic best-selling novel, When the Lion Feeds, was an epic of the early days of South Africa. Now this outstanding writer has conceived a modern epic, which has the same swift-flowing, action-packed narrative. Bruce Curry sets out with a trainload of mercenaries to relieve a mining town in the heart of the African jungle. The journey turns out to be a nightmare, softened only by Curry’s meeting with Shermaine, a Belgian girl with whom he falls passionately in love. In a sinister atmosphere of omnipotent evil, Curry struggles to preserve the new tenderness that has grown between himself and Shermaine, and fights to stay alive. Taut with sustained excitement, this powerful novel puts Wilbur Smith at the forefront of today’s storytellers.”
B 6 The Diamond Hunters. Heinemann, 1971. 231 pp. Author’s 6th book.
“The Van Der Byl Diamond Company, willed by its founder to his son Benedict, daughter Tracey and estranged foster-child Johnny Lance, turns out to be a bequest not of love, but of hatred. It is couched in such terms as to offer Benedict an instrument of destruction of his bitterest rival. ‘Destroy Johnny’ was the old man’s implacable message to his son. Obsessively jealous of his foster-brother, Benedict sets out in ruthless pursuit of this goal. In a desperate bid to support Johnny, Tracey acquires a concession in the diamond-rich seabed around the coral islands off the savage South West African coast, and Johnny throws all his resources into the construction of a vessel that will recover stones from the ocean floor and repair his fortune.
But Benedict, already involved in illegal diamond-dealing as a sideline, seizes this chance to attack and with a network of accomplices and some ingenious electronic tampering, plots to syphon off the diamonds. Johnny will not only be ruined, he will also be a laughing stock. However, Benedict’s obsessive jealousy is his undoing. He cannot resist stripping his rival of his beautiful but bitchy wife Ruby as well, and when he then discards her, she takes revenge, precipitating a climax of murder and destruction that consumes Benedict at last. Narrated with Wilbur Smith’s irresistible driving’ thrust, this is a tale of brotherly hatred, redeemed only by the deepening love between Johnny and Tracey. It is set in London, Cape Town, on the thunderous seas around the ocean diamond fields and ends in a final confrontation in the blistering hyena-infested desert.”
B 9 The Eye of the Tiger. Heinemann, 1975. 313 pp. Author’s 9th book.
“For Harry Fletcher, life on St Mary’s Island is good. He has a fine boat and a long list of rich clients eager to charter it for the big game fishing of the Mozambique Channel. He has a home amongst the palms above a white coral beach, and he has friends and pretty girls to share his paradise. Harry has earned all this the hard way, but now he is at peace. Suddenly men from the world of violence which he had forsaken arrive on the island to plunge him once more into a deadly game – for an unknown prize against undeclared odds. Of one thing Harry is certain: to fail is to die. The irrepressible Harry, adventurer and rogue, takes up the challenge and brings both a touch of hilarity and a chillingly ruthless sense of purpose to the quest as he gropes his way towards the legendary golden tiger and its fabulous eye. The carefully observed setting among the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean adds a rare and exotic atmosphere to a splendid piece of story-telling. This is rich Wilbur Smith fare.”
B 17 The Leopard Hunts in Darkness. Heinemann, 1984. 366 pages. Author’s 17th book.
“The Leopard Hunts in Darkness is a novel of stunning power and pace, infused with a deep love for the landscape, the people and the wildlife of Africa. Alone, disillusioned and empty of inspiration in New York, best-selling author Craig Mellow longs to return to his roots. Sole survivor of the Ballantyne family, who had farmed in the Zambezi valley for a hundred years, he fled the country when the bush war ended, and now he has lost his way. So when he is asked to return to Africa on a secret mission funded by the World Bank, he seizes the chance. His cover is the writing of a book on Africa in collaboration with the brilliant and beautiful young American photographer, Sally-Anne Jay, but his real task is to send back information on ivory poaching and signs of Soviet interference in the country. Back in Zimbabwe, exhilarated and full of hope once more, Craig embarks on a giant project – the restoration of the derelict family estates in the Matabele grasslands – only to be caught up in a bloody tribal war and pitted against a power-crazed fanatic who would sell his people into slavery and plunge his country into a new Dark Age. This is a story of high adventure, of hatred and terrible violence but also of love, love of a man for a woman, of a man for his country, and love of a man for his friend.”
B 31 The Quest. Macmillan, 2007. 504 pages. Author’s 31th book.
“The eagerly awaited sequel to the thrilling Egyptian series. Following on from River God, The Seventh Scroll and Warlock, The Quest continues the story of the Warlock, Taita, wise in the lore of the ancient gods and a master of magic and the supernatural. Egypt is struck by a series of terrible plagues that cripple the kingdom, and then the ultimate disaster follows. The Nile fails. The waters that nourish and sustain the land dry up.Something catastrophic is taking place in the distant and totally unexplored depths of Africa, from where the mighty river springs. In desperation the Pharoah sends for Taita, the only man who might be able to win through to the source of the Nile and discover the cause of all their woes.None of them can have any idea of what a terrible enemy lies in ambush for the Warlock in those mysterious lands at the end of their world.”
B 25 The Seventh Scroll. Macmillan, 1995. 486 pages. Author’s 25th book.
“The Seventh Scroll. Nearly four thousand years old. A fading legacy from beyond the grave. Within it lie the clues to a fabulous treasure from an almost forgotten time...
Duraid Al Simmu and his beautiful half-English, half-Egyptian wife, Royan, were the first to discover the tomb of Queen Lostris, and with it the scrolls in which the wily Taita recorded the burial of Pharaoh Mamose with all his vast treasure. But as their present-day search moves from the Nile to the uplands of Ethiopia, a savage battle begins, to unlock the Pharaoh’s secrets. Others will stop at nothing to gain the prize as their own. When Duraid is brutally murdered and their research notes stolen, Royan is forced to seek refuge in England. With eminent and aristocratic archaeologist Nicholas Quenton-Harper, she can pick up the pieces of her shattered life. With him she can find the courage to return to Ethiopia. For Duraid. For Taita. And for the dreams of an ancient Pharaoh...
After the worldwide success of River God comes another thundering triumph from the master African storyteller. The Seventh Scroll is a magnificent adventure set in present-day Africa, yet indelibly linked to the world of River God nearly four thousand years ago.”
B3 The Sound of Thunder. Heinemann, 1966. 438 pp. Author’s 3rd book.
“ ‘The game was war. The prize was a land. The penalty of defeat was death...’ The Sound of Thunder is an epic of the Anglo-Boer War and the peace which followed.
This sequel to his best-selling When the Lion Feeds, has the same tremendously dramatic quality, and takes up the story of Sean (the lion of the earlier title), who joins up to fight the burghers. Brilliantly Wilbur Smith describes the progress of the War through Sean’s own actions, first in harrowing missions in the front lines for the British Guides, then as the leader of a commando designed to fight the Boers on their own terms – guerrilla combat in the veld.
The peace which follows finds Sean with hopes of marriage, settling down to develop new land by planting wattle. At this point the hatred borne him by his twin-brother Garrick really comes into the open: Garrick, who has been forced to live in the shadow of his twin’s superiority since childhood, and who has vowed to pay him back for it. Sean is very much the big figure of the novel, but other characters grip the imagination as strongly. Ruth, for instance, beautiful and self-willed, who can draw on hidden depths of savagery to protect her own: or Dirk. Sean’s young son by his first wife, whose warped character gives his father endless cause for anxiety and self-questioning.
This is a novel of grand scale, packed with movement and life, which brilliantly evokes the hazardous world of the pioneers who founded a nation.”
B 7 The Sunbird. Heinemann, 1972. 483 pp. Author’s 7th book.
“A hazy aerial photograph and a sinister curse – known only to the Africans – and Dr Benjamin Kazin stumbles on the archaeological discovery of a lifetime...
For nearly two thousand years, a brilliant and unknown ancient civilisation has remained buried in southern Africa. Now at last the red cliffs of Botswana seem about to yield their secret. Under the lavish patronage of his old friend and mentor Lauren Sturvesant, head of one of the richest companies in the world, Ben and his assistant Sally grope towards the mystery of the lost people. Magnificent cave paintings and the Bushmen’s legendary City of the Moon are the unexpected clues to the first discoveries that point to the existence of an ancient city, violently destroyed centuries ago.
But the magic of uncovering a lost culture is interrupted by dramas of a different kind: hunting scenes, romance, and the violence of African terrorists. All are skilfully echoed in the splendour of the ancient world. As in a breathtaking sweep through time, the reader is transported back to the last days of the magnificent city itself.
Combining adventure, suspense and a wealth of historical detail, The Sunbird is a brilliant imaginative feat.”
B 30 The Triumph of the Sun. Macmillan, 2005. 501 pp. Author’s 30th book.
“From one of the world’s most celebrated and bestselling novelists comes an epic adventure in the spirit and tradition of Monsoon and Blue Horizon.
It is 1884, and in the Sudan, decades of brutal misgovernment by the ruling Egyptian Khedive in Cairo precipitates a bloody rebellion and Holy War. The charismatic new religious leader, the Mahdi or ‘Expected One’, has gathered his forces of Arab warlords in preparation for a siege on the city of Khartoum. The British are forced to intervene to protect their national interests and to attempt to rescue the hundreds of British subjects stranded in the city. British trader and businessman Ryder Courtney is trapped in the capital city of Khartoum under the orders of the infamously iron-willed General Charles George Gordon. It is here that he meets skilled soldier and swordsman Captain Penrod Ballantyne of the 10th Hussars and the British Consul, David Benbrook, as well as Benbrook’s three beautiful daughters. Against the vivid and bloody backdrop of the Arabs’ fierce and merciless siege these three powerful men must fight to survive.
Rich with vibrant historical detail and infused with his inimitable powers of storytelling, The Triumph of the Sun is Wilbur Smith at his masterful best.”
B 28 Warlock. Macmillan, 2001. 501 pages. Author’s 28th book.
“Set in Ancient Egypt and following on from River God and The Seventh Scroll, Warlock marks the return of the world’s finest adventure writer. After the death of his beloved Queen Lostris, Taita performs the rites of embalmment and burial. Then, stricken with grief, he retreats into the forbidding deserts of North Africa, where he becomes a hermit. Over the years that follow he devotes himself to the study of the mysteries of the occult until, armed with these extraordinary powers, he gradually transforms himself into the Warlock. Now Taita answers the summons from the beyond. He leaves the desert vastness and returns to the world of men, to find himself plunged into a terrible conflict against the forces of evil which threaten to overwhelm the throne and the realm of Egypt, and to destroy the young prince Nefer, who is the grandson of Queen Lostris.
With vivid depictions of battle and intrigue, of love and passion, with fascinating characters both good and evil, Wilbur Smith brings to life in colourful detail the world of ancient Egypt. This is a masterful feat of story-telling by one of the world’s best-selling authors.”
B 1 When the Lion Feeds. Heinemann, 1964. 459 pp. Author’s 1st book.
“ ‘Something always dies when the lion feeds and yet there is meat for those that follow him.’ The lion is Sean, hero of this tremendous drama of the men who took possession of South Africa in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Sean and his twin-brother Garrick grew up on their father’s farm in Natal. The first part of the book deals with his childhood and youth and his longing to become a successful farmer and hard-hitting fighter like his father.
The tough life of cattle-farming is brusquely interrupted by the Zulu Wars, when Sean and his brother see fighting for the first time. Wilbur Smith vividly recreates the excitement of the war for the young men-their hope of winning their own cattle, the horror of the massacre atIsandhlwana, the heroism of the defence at Rorkes Drift.
‘Witwatersrand’ is the name of the second part of this book. It tells the story of Sean’s fabulous success in the gold rush and his rich life with Duff Charleywood and the beautiful Candy in the new town of Johannesburg, where huge fortunes were made and lost in a morning’s dealing on the Exchange. The atmosphere of this feverish, violent time is brilliantly drawn: the heavy drinking, the elaborate houses, the ruthless abandonment of the failure. Sean and Duff are caught at last in a trap laid by their rival, the sinister and clever Hradsky, and leave Johannesburg for the wilderness to seek their fortunes once more. As the book moves to its climax, it seems as though Sean will settle to a quiet married life – but fate has other plans for him. They return to Johannesburg and tragedy strikes quickly. Sean finds himself alone once more...
Filled with action scenes in war and the early heady days of the gold rush, and adventure among the vast game herds of the African wilderness, this novel is dominated by the towering compelling personality of Sean, whose life story is continued in The Sound of Thunder and A Sparrow Falls.”
B 13 Wild Justice. Heinemann, 1979. 370 pages. Author’s 13th book.
“Wild Justice contains in full measure all the elements that the name of Wilbur Smith promises: pace, tension, complex but satisfying plotting, strong love interest, vivid scenes of action and a complete grasp of the subject. It is a novel which powerfully reinforces Wilbur Smith’s claim to be one of the world’s leading writers of adventure.
In Wild Justice he tells of ruthless men and a beautiful woman locked in a struggle for power such as few men dream of; it is a novel of treachery and betrayal, of loyalty and courage, of hatred and love. The narrative sweeps remorselessly across oceans and continents to its stunning climax in the deserts of Galilee. It is a story you will not readily forget, for such is its credibility that it could be taking place at this very moment.”