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Stuart Cloete

PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:53 am
by Pete
Although Wilbur Smith has never (to my knowledge) mentioned him, I often wonder if Stuart Cloete wasn't a major influence in WS's early writing? WS must certainly be aware of him, and I think he has acknowledged Ryder Haggard as being an influence. Well Cloete came in-between RH and WS in chronography - writing fiction based in Southern Africa.

In my opinion, Cloete is the best of these fiction writers. I'd recommend: "Hill of Doves" first published 1942 (1899-1902 boer war setting and possibly Cloete's best, also most like Wilbur Smith's Courtney series); "Rags of Glory", first published 1963 (also boer war setting); "Watch for the Dawn", first published 1939; and "Turning Wheels", first published 1937 (The great trek). He wrote many others; sadly I think most are out of print, but can still be obtained from secodn-hand booksellers over the internet.

All three must have been influenced by that great 19th Century Hunter, Naturalist and Writer, Frederick Courtney Selous. FC Selous' most famous book "A Hunter's Wanderings in Africa" is a classic and reads like an adventure novel, but is all fact. Rhodesia's famous special forces unit, the "Selous Scouts" were named after him - the unit one of my main characters in "Scatterlings of Africa" joins. Pete http://www,