Editorial Reviews of 'Monsoon'

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Editorial Reviews of 'Monsoon'

Postby John R » Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:16 pm

http://my.linkbaton.com/get?lbCC=q&nC=q ... 031220339X

Amazon.comSouth Africa's master storyteller Wilbur Smith has been writing his exotic historical sagas for so long that he's in danger of being taken for granted and typecast as an author of adventure stories for and about overgrown boys. But there's a lot more to Smith's books than mere blood, thunder, swash, and buckle. He might not be as thoughtful or as philosophical as Patrick O'Brian, but his stories have a wider geographical and chronological range and lots more action.
Monsoon is the latest chronicle in Smith's Courteney series. In it, Hal Courteney is sent by the East India Trading Company to attack Arab pirates who are harassing trade off the East African coast. He takes three of his four sons, but one of them absconds to Bombay and another is taken prisoner by the Arabs. Although the mission is an eventual success, Hal himself is seriously injured and returns to England. His son Tom becomes the real hero of the story, gallantly rescuing his captured brother from the infidel.

Like his heroes, Smith's prose pulls no punches: "Aboli swung the axe in a wide, flashing arc. It took the man full in the side of his neck, severing it cleanly. His head toppled forward and rolled down his chest, while his trunk stood erect before it slumped to the deck. The air escaped from his lungs in a whistling blast of frothy blood from the open windpipe." It may not be pretty, but it certainly grabs your attention. --Dick Adler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
Tenth in the swashbuckling saga of the bold and adventuresome Courtneys, this epic sequel to Birds of Prey finds Sir Hal Courtney and his sons up to their bloody sword arms in piracy, intrigue, treachery and civil war in late 17th and early 18th century East Africa and Arabia. Once again the veteran author creates a masterful tale of action and suspense set on the high seas, arid deserts and steaming jungles. Wealthy English landowner Sir Hal earned his fortune as a sea captain with the East India Company. To protect his overseas investments, he becomes a privateer to combat Arab pirates attacking company ships from bases in Zanzibar and Madagascar. Accompanied by three of his four sons, Sir Hal embarks on a desperate voyage that will bring either glory and treasure or ruin. Sir Hal is a skilled leader and a good father, but his sons are a mixed lot, bitter rivals in love and war. William, the eldest son, left in charge of the English estate, is a greedy blackguard and a brutal poltroon. Tom is a fearless leader while his twin brother, Guy, is a bitter and vengeful schemer. Young Dorian, captured by the Arabs and raised as a Muslim, is resourceful and cunning. Sir Hals voyage brings the Courtney family both wealth and catastrophe. One son is murdered, another becomes a fugitive, a third an abusive betrayer and the fourth is abandoned and forlorn. Clever plot twists and lavish historical detail attend the siblings adventures as they battle pirates, slavers, assassins, their own government and each other. A smooth blend of adventure and romance, the novel is an atmospheric trip through the fierce mysteries of the Dark Continent and the Arabian seas.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal
At the end of Birds of Prey (LJ 5/1/97), young Hal Courtney had proved his seafaring mettle as his father's worthy successor. When this sequel opens, Hal has buried three wives, mothers of his four sons. The eldest son, greedy and ruthless William, torments the others, who fear his power as firstborn. Although refusing to acknowledge Billy's cruelty, Hal agrees to take the others on a voyage to Africa to stop piracy against East India Company ships and win booty for his crew. Two sons, Tom and Dorian, prove able seamen. Tom's twin, Guy, not only rejects sailing but grows to hate his brother for his sexual success. Conflicts among the brothers intensify after Hal's death. By then, Dorian has been captured by Arabs, who spare him because of a prophecy about a red-haired child. After years of training in arms in two different cultures, Tom and Dorian meet in a final confrontation along the African slave route. Smith offers plenty of battles and harrowing escapes for adventure fans. More character development and insights into 18th-century British and Arab culture than the series debut broaden the novel's appeal.
-AKathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist
In this sequel to Birds of Prey (1997), Hal Courtney is enlisted to stop a pirate who is looting ships on the high seas near Africa. The challenge returns him to an adventurer's life, though he is now the father of four children: three adolescent boys and a newly married young man. A vitriolic sibling rivalry prompts Courtney to take the boys on the adventure, leaving his considerable estate in the hands of William to manage. Because of the British custom of primogeniture, William is in line to inherit the family fortune. Courtney knows the others will be left to seek their own fortunes. Tom is up to the challenge, with a vigorous ego and intelligence, he is an adventurer by nature. His twin, Guy, is less vigorous and venturesome, but no less ambitious. Dorian is a boy of 12 who has a daring spirit but is much in need of guidance. A jealous rivalry for the affections of a passenger, Caroline, traveling with her family aboard the Courtney ship, eventually separates Guy and Tom, as Guy chooses a deskbound life and eventually finagles an arranged marriage. Tom and Dorian continue with their father in a quest that ends in the kidnapping of Dorian by Arabs. Courtney risks his life in a failed rescue attempt. When William declines to finance the quest to save Dorian, Tom is on his own in a tortuous struggle that ends with him killing his older brother and fleeing England. Readers who love swashbucklers will enjoy this book. Vanessa Bush --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews
Bestselling Smith (the Ancient Egypt duet River God, 1994, and The Seventh Scroll,1995, etc.), who usually specializes in colorfully escapist tales with South African settings, returns to the 18th-century scene of his seagoing Birds of Prey (1997) to continue with the lives of the three sons of Sir Henry Hal CourteneyTom, Dorian, and Guy. Living in England, the lads are drawn to lives of adventure and to the allure of the Dark Continent and the desert sands of Arabia. The story, long-memoried readers will recall, harks back to incidents about pirate Sir Henry from Birds of Prey. Here, himself is on hand as commander of the Seraph, which carries his sons to the far shores that beckon to them and that takes them on his own raiding parties as well, during which the young men are allowed to go ashore with their father and prove themselves capable swordsmenwhile, for example, recovering the body of Henrys father, who was hung and quartered by the Dutch. Not surprisingly, the Dutch have also put a price on Henry's head. Smith overstuffs every possible paragraph of his cutlass-and-pistol epic, yet he paces his tale as swiftly as he can with swordplay aplenty and killing strokes that come like lightning out of a sunny blue sky. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Smith is a captivating storyteller."
- The Orlando Sentinel

"A masterful tale of action and suspense set on the high seas, [in] arid deserts, and steaming jungles... Clever plot twists and lavish historical detail...a smooth blend of adventure and romance, the novel is an atmospheric trip through the fierce mysteries of the Dark Continent and the Arabian seas."
- Publishers Weekly

"[Smith is] one of the world's most popular and prolific adventure writers."
- The Washington Post Book World

"Smith is a captivating storyteller." --The Orlando Sentinel

"A masterful tale of action and suspense set on the high seas, [in] arid deserts, and steaming jungles... Clever plot twists and lavish historical detail...a smooth blend of adventure and romance, the novel is an atmospheric trip through the fierce mysteries of the Dark Continent and the Arabian seas." --Publishers Weekly

"[Smith is] one of the world's most popular and prolific adventure writers." --The Washington Post Book World


Book Description
One man. Three sons. A powerful destiny waiting to unfold.

Once a voracious adventurer, it has been many years since Hal Courtney has dared the high seas. Now he must return with three of his sons - Tom, Dorian, and Guy - to protect the East India Trading Company from looting pirates, in exchange for half of the fortune he recovers. Riding the wind-tossed seas toward Arabia and Africa, a dangerous, exhilarating, epic adventure will begin, pitting brother against brother, man against sea, and good against evil
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John R
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