For readers of Game of Thrones, Ken Follett, and Clive Cussler: an epic adventure spanning land and sea. . . time and distance. . . courage, revenge, and everything in between.
He saw his father executed in battle. He spent his youth avenging that death. And now Henry 'Hal' Courtney is a man with a ship—and a family—of his own.
But fate has not finished with Hal. On a voyage along the eastern shore of Africa, a powerful enemy abducts his wife, the fearless warrior Judith... and with her, Hal's unborn child. For Hal, a man all too familiar with loss, there is only one way forward: He must track his nemesis across desert and ocean, through the slave markets of Zanzibar and the dangerous waters of the coast, in pursuit of the woman he loves, the child he sired, and the glorious destiny that awaits him.
Bursting with action and suspense, heroism and heartache, this unforgettable novel proves once more than Wilbur Smith is the world's greatest adventure writer.
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I WAS BORN OF BRITISH STOCK ON JANUARY 9, 1933 IN NORTHERN RHODESIA, NOW ZAMBIA, IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
As an infant of eighteen months I was struck down by cerebral malaria, delirious for ten days. The doctors told my parents that it was probably better if I died, because if I survived I would be brain damaged. Despite the primitive medical facilities available in Africa in those days, their prognosis proved correct; I survived and am now only mildly crazy. Which is good because you have to be at least slightly crazy to write fiction for a living.
I spent the first years of my life on my father's ranch, so I had as my playground 12,000 hectares (or if you prefer 25,000 acres) of forest, hills and savannah. My companions were the sons of the ranch workers, small black boys with the same interests and preoccupations as myself. Chief amongst these was avoiding the discipline and unreasonable interference of our elders. Armed with our slingshots and accompanied by a pack of mongrels we ranged at large through the bush, hunting and trapping birds and small mammals. These we scorched over a cooking fire and devoured with immense gusto. I returned home as late in the evening as I dared with my bare legs scratched and bloody from the viciously hooked 'wait-a bit' thorns, smelling strongly of wood smoke and dried sweat, and infested with bush ticks.
I was occasionally allowed to ride on the back of my father's pickup truck while he went about the business of a cattleman. Later when he had trained me not to talk too much and not to be “a bloody nuisance”, I was allowed to run with the herders and bring the cattle in for branding and dipping. As I made myself more useful I was gradually allowed to spend more time with him.
My old man was a Victorian father and ran a tight ship. He would not hesitate to pull his belt out of the loops of his trousers and give me taste of the buckle end. That was perfectly all right with me. I usually deserved it, and a few shots across my skinny little buttocks was small price to pay for being close to him. To me he was God on earth, and I worshipped him.
When I turned eight years of age he gave me a .22 Remington repeater rifle. It had belonged to my grandfather before him, and it had 122 notches on its butt. He taught me to shoot it safely and to honour the sportsman's code. Soon there was no more space on the butt for my own notches. It was the start of my lifelong love affair with firearms.
The previous owner of my rifle, my grandfather, possessed a magnificent pair of moustaches only slightly stained with tobacco juice. He could hit his spittoon at five paces without spilling a drop. He could spin a tale to make the eyes of an eight-year-old boy start out of their sockets. In his youth he had been a mighty Nimrod and warrior. He had commanded a Maxim gun team during the Zulu Wars. His name was Courtney James Smith. Later I took his name Courtney for the hero of my first novel, “When the Lion Feeds.”
If my old man was God then my mother was an angel from heaven. She shielded me from my father's rage, until it had cooled. She taught me to love all of nature. She opened my eyes to the beauty of the wild world all around me. She was an artist, and to this day at the age of 93 she still paints beautiful watercolours of trees and animals.
Best of all she loved books. Before I could read myself she taught me to revere books and the written word. Every night she read bed-time stories to me, and these sessions became the highlights of my long exciting days on the ranch.
Through her influence I became a reader myself at a precociously young age. I started with 'Biggles' and 'Just William'. Pretty soon I moved on to the novels of C.S. Forester, Ryder Haggard and John Buchan. From then onwards I always had a well-thumbed book in my pocket.
My father felt that my obsession with books was unnatural and unhealthy. I was forced to become a secret reader. I spent so much time in the outhouse long-drop latrine, where I kept a cache of my favourite books, that my father ordered my mother to administer regular and copious doses of castor oil.Review:
“Best Historical Novelist--I say Wilbur Smith...You can get lost in Wilbur Smith and misplace all of August.” (Stephen King)
“One of the world’s most popular adventure writers.” (Washington Post Book World)
“I’ve been a fan of Wilbur Smith for the past three decades. Every new book is an event, a cherished time to get lost in ancient worlds.” (James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The 6th Extinction)
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Book Description Harperaudio, 2015. Compact Disc. Book Condition: Brand New. unabridged edition. 5.75x5.25x1.50 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0062419951