Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith is the bestselling author of many novels, each meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His bestselling Courtney series includes Assegai, The Sound of Thunder, Birds of Prey, Monsoon, and Blue Horizon. His other books include Those in Peril, River God, Warlock, The Seventh Scroll, and The Sunbird. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages and have sold over 120 million copies. Smith was born to a British family in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, in Central Africa, and attended Rhodes University in South Africa. He has homes in Cape Town, London, Switzerland and Malta.


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Those in Peril by Wilbur Smith

For nearly fifty years, internationally bestselling author Wilbur Smith has thrilled readers with novels set during the Egyptian era all the way up through the present day. Now, Those in Peril brings his matchless storytelling to bear on the violent, ruthless world of twenty-first-century piracy.

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Book Trailer for Assegai by Wilbur Smith

A book trailer for bestselling author Wilbur Smith's thriller, Assegai.

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The Triumph of the Sun by Wilbur Smith--Audio Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Wilbur Smith's novel The Triumph of the Sun, continuing the saga of the Courtney Family Adventures. From one of the world's most celebrated novelists comes an epic adventure set on the banks of the Nile in Khartoum, 1884. In the Sudan, decades of brutal misgovernment by the ruling Egyptian Khedive in Cairo precipitate a fierce and bloody rebellion and Holy War headed by a charismatic new religious leader, The Madhi or "Expected One." The British are forced to intervene

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The Quest by Wilbur Smith--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Wilbur Smith's novel The Quest. New York Times bestselling author Wilbur Smith returns with the eagerly awaited next installment in his 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 follow

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Assegai by Wilbur Smith--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Wilbur Smith's adventure novel Assegai, part of his saga about the Courtney family. Wilbur Smith has won acclaim worldwide as the master of the historical novel. Now, in Assegai, he takes readers on an unforgettable African adventure set against the gathering clouds of war. It is 1913 and Leon Courtney, an ex-soldier turned professional hunter in British East Africa, guides the rich and powerful from America and Europe on big-game safaris. Leon had never sought fame,

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Those in Peril by Wilbur Smith--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Wilbur Smith's New York Times bestselling action and adventure novel Those in Peril, narrated by Rupert Degas. For nearly fifty years, internationally bestselling author Wilbur Smith has thrilled readers with novels set during the Egyptian era all the way up through the present day. Now, Those in Peril brings his matchless storytelling to bear on the violent, ruthless world of twenty-first-century piracy. Hazel Bannock is heir to the Bannock Oil Corporation, one of t

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Q & A

Wilbur Smith has published 31 books, including bestsellers like When the Lion Feeds, The River God and The Triumph of the Sun, which have been translated into 26 languages.

Set in Africa - where Smith was born in 1933 - his books include the Ballantyne, Courtney and Egyptian series of novels, which have secured him an army of fans.

Assegai is Smith's latest novel.  Below he answers readers questions from around the world.

AFRICA 

With the political unrest and violence in so many countries within Africa, can you see a way forward to regain the beautiful Africa that was there before? 
Ian McFadzean, Alloa 

I'm not a prophet, I can only use historical reality to come to a view of the future, and my view is that Africa will return to being African and not European. The advent of colonialism was foreign to the country itself, but it will return to what it was before the Europeans arrived.

As a fellow Zambian I have watched my country of birth and Africa as a whole change beyond all recognition but I see now only despair and poverty caused by AIDS and conflict. Do you think you will ever write about this new Africa? 
Mike, London 

I certainly never will because Africa is changing so quickly that if I set out to write a book about present day Africa, by the time I got half-way through the book the whole scene would have changed and I could never really catch up with reality.

Like you I was brought up in Africa, do you think it is true that Africa never leaves you! You take it with you in your heart? 
Ann Bain, Cupar, Fife 

I think that if you were weaned on Zambezi water you can never escape Africa. The romance and the pulling power of Africa is much too large and too pervasive enough for us to ever break free from it, even though we might live in a land across the sea.

Did you ever consider using the Boer War as a central part of one of your books? 
Gereld Boffa, Milford New Jersey, US 

I've already done so - in the Sound of Thunder.

I have always been a fan because of the way you portray the African bush so well I can smell the dust and feel the heat of the sun. Will there ever be a sort of autobiography of your own adventures? 
Carla Thompson, Sawtry 

I would never have the hubris to write my autobiography because most of my time has been sat behind a desk dreaming up characters, but certainly there are parts of Africa that are more vivid and more looming in my mind than others. I love east Africa, I love Botswana, I love the east coast of Mozambique, and the Zulu land, but generally speaking I love all of Africa, even the big deserts - the Sahara and the Kalahari.

Do you still feel southern Africa has a role to play on the world stage? 
Jason Beney, London 

I don't think that South Africa is in the mainstream of the powerful G20 nations. It has vast amounts of basic minerals - gold, platinum, copper and others - but it is physically and mentally so far from the centre of events that it will always just be good old South Africa.

BOOKS 

Where did you get the inspiration from to write River God? 
Victoria Hansford, Saffron Walden 

I was sitting in the Temple of Karnak on the Nile, as the sun was going down, and I was all alone, and the great Hypostyle Hall was full of shadows and ghosts of the past, and suddenly I heard this little voice saying "my name is Taita, write my story"… and if you believe that you'll believe anything!

The Sun Bird has two such great intertwined stories, what was your inspiration for this and why haven't you repeated this kind of format? 
Neil Camp, Ely, Cambridgeshire 

It was a very important book for me in my development as a writer because at that stage I was starting to become enchanted by the lure of Hollywood. There had been some movies made of my books and I thought "whoa, what a way to go… All that money!" and I thought "hold on - am I a scriptwriter or am I a real writer?" Writing a book that could never be filmed was my declaration of independence. I made it so diffuse, with different ages and brought characters back as different entities. It was a complex book, it gave me a great deal of pleasure but that was the inspiration - to break free.

Why did you make the Seventh Scroll a departure from the previous two Egyptian books? I've started reading the Seventh Scroll but finding it very hard to get into as it's not like the ones I'm used to.
Steve Farndale, Peterborough 

Obviously if I have written 32 books some of them are going to disappoint readers of previous books if they have that model in their minds. But with The Seventh Scroll I just wanted to have a novel that was like a house of mirrors where there were mysteries to solve that were 2,000 or 3,000 years old, by a modern-day man, I really enjoyed writing the book, but I can see that if you really loved River God then you would be slightly disappointed, just as people who like the Courtney's don't like the Egyptian series. It's the old thing - you can't make all of the people happy all of the time.

How did the character of Taita appear to you at the very beginning?
Jo Naylor, Hamilton, Bermuda 

I think one of the most poignant things is unrequited love and loneliness. So I had to have a man who was very interesting and attractive to females but who was unable to carry through his love for them because he was emasculated. A lot of people seem to empathise with the feeling I was trying to portray.

I have long wanted to make a film of Eagle in the Sky but I understand you do not want to have any more films made of his books after the disappointing early productions. Is this still the case?
Nigel Wooll, London 

I would not want to be involved in the making of the movie because I have been on enough film sets to know that they are deadly boring places. There's not much going on, and unless you are one of the main movers and shakers of the story there is nothing except a lot of sitting around and talking nonsense. But if someone wants to make a movie of one of my books, and I feel they could do justice to the story, and they had enough capital to make it, then I would have no objection but I wouldn't want to be involved.

You have to let go of control. The producers are going to make you sign a clearance and you have no control over it, absolutely no creative control, and they can change the name of the movie, move where it is set from Africa to Mexico, and move the period it is set in. If you love the work you are doing you don't want to see it mucked around like that.

The Quest struck me, and many other people, as strangely inconsistent with your previous works. Could you comment?
Simon, Mulhouse, France 

It was different, it was a chance of pace, I agree with that, and it was perhaps self-indulgent to give Taita his manhood back in the end, but I had become very, very fond of Taita. It was an adventure further into the realms of witchcraft and magic.

WRITING 

How do you get (and maintain) your inspiration to continue writing?
Mike Pitt, Plymouth 

I don't know where the inspiration comes from, and I wouldn't want to get too deeply into that, but I just thank God it's there. I have never had too much trouble for creative ideas to spring up in my mind and now, in the later years of my life, I have slowed down the actual amount of writing and creating I do. I work on a book one year, and I take the next year off and I find that is helping greatly. It gives a little more time for the well to refill with water before I go to it again.

I dream about my books sometimes when I am in the middle of writing them. Very often I will go to bed worrying about a section or a transition area of the book. Where I am changing from one scene to another, and I'm not quite sure how to do it, I go to bed, sleep on it, and I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror when I'm shaving, and there it is. It was there the whole time. That can only mean that when I'm asleep my mind is still running over the problem and coming to a solution.

How many hours at a time do you work on your novels and where do you write them? I imagine a study with a great view.
Kate Horsley, Alcester 

Everyone imagines a great view! That would be a little distracting. I work on my novels wherever I have a PC, and I have four or five places around the world where I do have a PC. These days you can just slip a little flash drive into your top pocket, fly for 12 hours, come to another place, plug it into a computer and you are away again.

I write my books in my head, and not in a specific study with a view. The view is from my inner eyes.

Your early books had a lot of action violence and not much sex. Lately they have a lot more sex and less action - why the change? 
Joy Allen, Woking 

I suppose when I wrote my earlier books I did not know women very well. I was frightened by women - I was intimidated by them - I went to an all-boys school and I only really met a grown up girl with boobies and everything when I was 16. They were frightening creatures. All I knew is that they were warm and soft and smelled very good. But in the meantime I have been married four times, I have been around the block and up the apple tree a few times, so now I feel I know enough about women to write about them. The road to Damascus was a book called The Burning Shore, and there for the first time I took a female character and made her the major character in the book, and it worked well - a lot of ladies came on board after they read that book! I am in awe of women, I love women, I have always loved women - I admire them for their strengths, their determination, for their dedication and the sacrifices they are capable of making. I have been fortunate to have at least two very, very good women in my life - my present wife who is just wonderful, and my previous wife who died of cancer back in 1999. She was a very strong and interesting woman.

Who's your favourite writer and what's your favourite book? 
Amaniel Mengistu Ghile, Northampton 

There are so many writers I enjoy but modern writers have, for me, unfortunately not written enough books. You don't have a body of work to explore so they can't be your favourite writer. My favourite writers are those who have written a lot and have probably gone to the great writing desk in the big blue yonder, but up there would be CS Forster, John Steinbeck - he had so much humour and pathos and understanding of people in distress - Brian Patrick O'Brien and Robert Graves. I also love to discover someone I didn't know about before.

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books
by the author

Vicious Circle

Wilbur Smith
Thomas Dunne Books

Internationally bestselling author Wilbur Smith returns with Vicious Circle--a heart-racing story of family secrets, greed, and revenge. Hector Cross left...


Available In:

Book Audio Book eBook
The Triumph of the Sun
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith: Read by Tim Pigott-Smith
Macmillan Audio

From one of the world’s most celebrated novelists comes an epic adventure set on the banks of the Nile in Khartoum, 1884 In the Sudan, decades of brutal...


Available In:

Those in Peril

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Those in Peril Wilbur Smith In this nail-biting tale of adventure, bestselling author Wilbur Smith brings his matchless storytelling to bear on the violent,...


Available In:

Book Audio Book eBook
Assegai
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Ex-soldier Leon Courtney guides the rich and powerful from America and Europe on big-game safaris. After a successful expedition with U.S. President Theodore...


Available In:

Book eBook
The Dark of the Sun

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

The Congo. Situated at the heart of sub-Saharan Africa, it is a place where men die for diamonds. For love. And for the unholy pleasure of others… Bruce...


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Book eBook
Warlock
Novels of Ancient Egypt
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

One of the world's most acclaimed adventure writers returns to the world of ancient Egypt with the stunning sequel to the New York Times bestselling River God....


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Book eBook
The Seventh Scroll
Novels of Ancient Egypt
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

For 4,000 years, the lavish crypt of the Pharaoh Mamose has never been found...until the Seventh Scroll, a cryptic message written by he slave Taita, gives...


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Book eBook
River God
Novels of Ancient Egypt
Wibur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

For Tanus, the fair-haired young lion of a warrior, the gods have decreed that he will lead Egypt's army in a bold attempt to reunite the Kingdom's shared...


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Book eBook
The Quest
Novels of Ancient Egypt
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Egypt has been struck by a series of terrible plagues, killing its crops and crippling its people. Then the ultimate disaster befalls the kingdom: The Nile...


Available In:

Book eBook
The Sound of Thunder
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

The year is 1899. The British Empire is at the height of its power. But in South Africa, proud Dutch colonists defy the Queen and her army—and a lush, wild...


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Book eBook
Rage
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

In the second half of the twentieth century, the future bears down on Africa—fueled by the sins of the past and the blood feuds of nations, tribes, and...


Available In:

Book eBook
Power of the Sword
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Sasha Courtney was groomed by his French-born mother to take control of the Courtney Mining and Finance Company, whose font of wealth was sown deep beneath...


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Book eBook
The Burning Shore
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Centaine de Thiry grew up with privilege, wealth, and freedom on a sprawling French estate. Then war came crashing down around her, and a daring young South...


Available In:

Book eBook
A Sparrow Falls
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Mark Anders grew up on eight thousand acres of African land that bore his family name. Then he fought in Europe’s Great War and, upon returning to his...


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Book eBook
The Angels Weep

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

On a continent of breathtaking beauty and bitter suffering, two vastly different cultures clashed, mingled, and recoiled. Here, amidst mist-shrouded mountains...


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The Leopard Hunts in Darkness

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

In Manhattan, Craig Mellow is the toast of the literary world, a young writer whose bestselling novels and larger-than-life adventures are fueled by...


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Book eBook
Men of Men

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

It was called The Devils’s Own: a steep scar in the African earth, around which men toiled with picks, shovels, and dreams of the milky treasures that would...


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Book eBook
A Falcon Flies

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

In 1860, a man and woman approach the coast of Africa aboard a swift clipper--in the command of an American who knows no law. Robyn Ballantyne and her brother...


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Book eBook
When the Lion Feeds
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

He began life at his twin brother’s side, soon running wild on his father’s ranch on the edge of Africa. But violence, desire, and fate sent Sean Courtney into...


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Book eBook
Gold Mine

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

North of Johannesburg, five companies share the Kitchenerville fields, furiously blasting and digging deep into the earth. For some men, gold mining is a way...


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Book eBook
Sunbird/Wild Justice

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

SUNBIRD Dr. Ben Kazin is a brilliant archaeologist. Louren Sturvesant is rich, impulsive, and physically imposing, everything Ben is not. Now, the two...


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eBook
Eagle in the Sky

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

With bold characters and stirring prose, Wilbur Smith writes riveting novels filled with adventure and intrigue. In EAGLE IN THE SKY, this master storyteller...


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Book eBook
Shout at the Devil

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Wilbur Smith’s adventure tales are big, bold and unforgettable. In SHOUT AT THE DEVIL, the New York Times bestselling master storyteller takes us to a brutal...


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Book eBook
The Triumph of the Sun
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

They’ve come from out of the shifting sands and down from ancient mountains. Mounted on horse and camel, carrying gleaming swords and plundered rifles, the...


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Book eBook
The Diamond Hunters

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

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...


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Book eBook
The Eye of the Tiger/ Hungry as the Sea

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

THE EYE OF THE TIGER The deep. The deadly. The damned... For a thousand years, an unimaginable treasure has rested on the bottom of the Indian Ocean,...


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Book eBook
Blue Horizon
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

An electrifying tale of danger, courage, and suspense set in colonial South Africa from one of the greatest historical adventure writers living today - a...


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Book eBook
Wild Justice

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

It begins as a routine trip to South Africa. It ends in a nightmare for 400 passengers taken hostage. The hijackers is a beautiful pawn for an elusive...


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Book eBook
The Sunbird

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Dr. Ben Kazin is a brilliant acrheologist. Louren Sturvesant is rich, impulsive, and physically imposing, everything Ben is not. Now, the to men--friends,...


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Book eBook
Cry Wolf

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

The year is 1935, shortly before World War II. The "Wolf of Rome", Italy's army under Mussolini, is poised to invade Ethiopia, whose army is not only...


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Book eBook
The Eye of the Tiger

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

The deep. The deadly. The damned... For a thousand years, an unimaginable treasure has rested on the bottom of the Indian Ocean, hidden by swift blue...


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Book eBook
Monsoon
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

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....


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Book eBook
Hungry as the Sea

Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Wilbur Smith sets his vividly realistic novels on the razor's edge between human courage and nature's wrath. In Hungry As The Sea, this master storyteller...


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Book eBook
Birds of Prey
Courtney Family Adventures
Wilbur Smith
St. Martin's Paperbacks

Deemed "one of the world's most popular and prolific adventure writers" by The Washington Post, bestselling author Wilbur Smith is at the height of his...


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