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Wilbur Smith (1933-2021 was a worldwide phenomenon. His readership has built up over fifty-five years of writing. Born in Central Africa in 1933, Wilbur became a full-time writer in 1964 following the success of When the Lion Feeds, and has since published over forty global bestsellers, including the Courtney Series, the Ballantyne Series, the Egyptian Series, the Hector Cross Series and many successful standalone novels, all meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide.
The establishment of the Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation in 2015 cemented Wilbur's passion for empowering writers, promoting literacy and advancing adventure writing as a genre. The foundation's flagship programme is the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.
A Jack Courtney Adventure : with Chris Wakling | This second Jack Courtney Adventure by Wilbur Smith and Chris Wakling is every bit as edge-of-your-seat-entertaining and environmentally aware as its predecessor, Cloudburst - think Alex Rider with conservation conscience. After enduring a terrifying time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jack and his mum, plus friends Amelia and Xander, are on the island of Zanzibar for a much-needed holiday, where Jack is treasure-hunting for lost wedding rings (Zanzibar is a popular honeymoon destination) in the idyllic sea. He plans to use his share of any spoils to help his mum, because “raising awareness of the plight of the coral reefs costs money.” Then, on one of their treasure-hunting trips, and not long after Jack is dealt a bombshell about his father, they venture further afield in the Thunderbolt boat and are captured by gun-wielding Somali pirates. Mo, a boy with the pirates, advises them to “stay calm”, which is easier said than done when you wind up in a training camp for child soldiers under the command of General Sir who, as Mo explains, “steals children for others to use. While they’re here he gives them a little training with guns and explosives so they’re more valuable, and then he sells them on to the militia, or the army, whoever will pay.” With its unrelenting sense of danger underpinned by serious environmental and social issues - the destruction of coral reefs; child labour in their Zanzibar hotel; Somali child soldiers forced to fight for Al‑Shabaab - Thunderbolt is an adventure with ethics. What’s more, the short chapters and sharply focussed action scenes make this hugely accessible to reluctant readers. Part of a series but works perfectly as a standalone adventure story. ****Read a Q&A with Wilbur Smith on his inspiration behind Cloudburst and the different challenges of writing fiction for children.
A Jack Courtney Adventure : with Chris Wakling | Young readers who want to be gripped, challenged, informed and entertained – this exciting new adventure series is just what you’ve been waiting for. Fourteen-year-old Jack is on a safari holiday in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with his parents, the wealthy founders of a conservation charity. His friends Amelia and Xander are on the trip too – so far, so idyllic (though he could do without his arrogant cousin Caleb), but then his parents are kidnapped by mercenaries. Jack has already experienced one family tragedy, he’s determined he’ll prevent another. This is a taut, tightly plotted thriller which puts young people firmly in the driving seat, but there’s lots about family and relationships too. Moreover, the authors will inspire a fascination about the wildlife of the region in readers, and alert them to the threats facing it. Fast-moving adventure with heart and a message. Jack is as appealing a hero as Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider, but the books will also appeal to fans of Gill Lewis’ animal adventures, Gorilla Dawn and The Scarlet Ibis. ****Read a Q&A with Wilbur Smith on his inspiration behind Cloudburst and the different challenges of writing fiction for children.
The Syrian plane disintegrated, evaporating in a gush of silvery smoke, rent through with bright white lightning, and the ejecting pilot's body was blown clear of the fuselage. For an instant it was outlined ahead of David's screen, cruciform in shape with arms and legs thrown wide, the helmet still on the head, and the clothing ballooning in the rush of air. He chose this life. And it may cost him everything. From a young age it's clear that David Morgan is 'bird' - a natural pilot, most at home in the air. In the South African Air Force he receives plaudits beyond his years, and even his family begins to accept that David will do anything to stay away from the Morgan billion-dollar business, and to keep flying instead. Following his dream and in pursuit of Debra, a beautiful young Israeli writer, David soon joins the Israeli Defence Force and finds himself caught up in the country's struggles. But when he pays a terrible price for his choices, will he be able to become the man he always hoped - or will he choose to disappear into the skies?
The deck bucked under her feet and she was hurtled backwards on to the bunk again, and the blast of a massive explosion ripped through the ship. 'What is happening?' she screamed. Love in a time of war. Hope in a time of danger. One of the greatest fighter pilots of the Great War, Michael Courtney is saved by the French noblewoman Centaine de Thiry when he crashes near her home. Soon after, Centaine finds herself alone and carrying Michael's child, and must travel across the ocean to join his family in South Africa.But no journey is ever simple, and a pregnant Centaine finds herself shipwrecked in shark-infested waters off Africa's notorious Skeleton Coast, a deadly swim away from the sun-bleached desert that will see her defenceless and alone. When hope arrives, she has no way of knowing if she will be saved -- or left in greater danger than ever before... A Courtney Series adventure - Book 1 in The Burning Shore sequence
Zouga was left alone, as alone in spirit as he had ever been in any of his wanderings across the vast African continent. He had spent almost the last penny he owned on these few square feet of yellow earth at the bottom of this hot and dusty pit. He had no men to help him work it, no experience, no capital. A tribal battle. An Empire's war. Zouga Ballantyne has in his blood a fanatic's need to find diamonds, one that will take him to Southern Africa's most punishing places. Losing his wife to one of the many sicknesses that haunt the diamond mine camp, Zouga and his sons must find another way through the country, helping to build the British Empire, and developing their own form of civilisation in the face of tribal opposition. But the Ballantyne family success comes at a price - the sacrifice of the local Matabele tribe, who have tried to live alongside the colonists, but are slowly losing everything. In the face of exploitation, violence and greed, who will triumph in the land of ruthless men? The second book in the epic Ballantyne Series
Craig got no further, for Tungata's anger turned to red fury. He was shaking with it, it clouded his gaze and knotted the muscles at the points of his heavy lantern jaw. 'Be silent,' he hissed. 'You meddle in matters that you do not understand, and that do not concern you. Leave this land before they overwhelm you.' His family's past. His country's future. Bestselling author Craig Mellow is tired of fame, and wants only to return to his family's old home in Zimbabwe. Although it's now derelict, Craig wants to rebuild and turn Rholands into a functioning ranch and tourist safari, but finds his way unexpectedly blocked by his old friend, now government minister, Tungata Zebiwe. Working with acclaimed photographer Sally-Anne Jay, Craig is able to uncover Tungata's corruption and continue with his planned restoration. However, there is new fighting on the horizon that may threaten not only Rholands, but the lives of all who live there. In their desperate attempts to escape, Craig and Sally-Anne will learn that no one is truly who they say . . . The fourth book in the epic Ballantyne Series
It takes one to recognise one. This was a man trained to live with, and by, violence. He was muscle, a soldier, in the jargon. I had hoped never to see this kind of barracuda cruising St Mary's placid waters. It gave me a sick little slide in the guts to know that it had found me out again. He left that life behind. But that life hasn't left him . . . Harry Fletcher lives a quiet life these days, running a tourist fishing boat from the peaceful island of St Mary's, off the South African coast. Then his next group arrives, with very specific instructions for Harry - instructions that suggest they know exactly who he is. Before he knows it, Harry has been swept back into a world of greed and violence, of men who will do anything to get their hands on the treasure under the sea, and of women who are too beautiful to trust. But when the Great Mogul diamond is the prize, all Harry knows is that he'll do anything to get there first . . .
He mounted his assault rifle to his shoulder and fired a three-shot burst into the thorn bush. The man who had been lying behind it leaped to his feet. He was turbaned and cloaked with his AK-47 slung over his shoulder and a small black box in his hand, from which dangled the thin red insulated cable. 'Bomb!' Hector screamed. 'Heads down!' Some debts can only be paid in blood . . . When Hazel Bannock, billionaire oil tycoon, discovers her daughter has been kidnapped by Al Qaeda pirates just off the coast of Somalia, she uses all the power at her disposal to rescue her daughter - but politics and diplomacy fail her at every turn. Her only hope is her ex-military head of security, Hector Cross, an expert in surveillance, infiltration and combat. For all Hazel's connections and wealth, Cross is the one man who is offering to find her daughter. Hazel and Cross must work together to bring Cayla home, but neither of them realise that the kidnappers are not merely interested in ransom - what they have planned is far, far worse . . . The first Hector Cross thriller
Jim sprang back on to the truck of the violently rocking wagon, and stared across at Manatasee. She saw him and pointed her assegai at his face. Then he saw the length of slow-match had been exposed across the last yard of trampled earth below the mound on which the queen stood. The swift flame shot along it, leaving the fuse blackened and twisted as it burned. Jim clenched his jaws and waited for the explosion. A powerful enemy. A land of second chances. Jim Courtney is protected by all the wealth and influence that his family's successful business, the Courtney Brothers Trading Company, can provide in the Dutch-owned colonies of South Africa. Louisa Leuven is an orphaned young woman who escaped the plague only to be unjustly imprisoned and transported to the Cape. When a storm destroys her prison ship, Jim is her only hope of escape. But Louisa and Jim have greater adventures in the African wilds ahead of them: they must flee from Dutch forces who seek not only to recapture their prisoner, but also to hunt down and hang Jim Courtney - and punish the other member of the Courtney family, however they can... A Courtney Series adventure - Book 3 in the Birds of Prey trilogy
The sun went down behind the storm clouds, and stained them with its blood, then the rain fell upon the ship in torrents. Solid sheets of water hammered the wooden decks so hard that the din drowned the men's voices and blotted out their vision. They leave as brothers. They must return as men. Famed sailor Hal Courtney is now a man of land and family. But when the King orders him to sail to Madagascar and stop the pirates responsible for looting the finest trading ships of the East India Trading Company and bringing ruin to them all, Hal must travel with his three younger sons on a journey that will shape the young men forever. In this swashbuckling adventure of marauders and slave-traders, love and treasure, the brothers will face duels, chases, betrayals and battles - and see their fates cast in ways they could never have imagined . . . A Courtney Series adventure - Book Two in the Birds of Prey trilogy
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