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Written by Wilbur Smith

Part of the Jack Courtney Adventures Series

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Cloudburst Review

Adventure Stories Ecological and Environmental Interest - Fiction Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers Thrillers

Unputdownable conservation themed action and adventure

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.

Andrea Reece

Other Info

Dear Reader, 

What would you do if you were a long way from home, in a place that felt unfamiliar and dangerous? Would you be able to trust your instincts and survive? Well, this is the position Jack finds himself in. But Jack's not just trying to stay alive. He has a bigger mission to save not only himself, his friends and his parents but also the WORLD. Our planet is already under threat, without more bad guys trying to destroy it. But it only takes one hero to make a difference. So get ready for the most explosive adventure of your life . . . 

Yours sincerely,

Wilbur Smith and Chris Wakling

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Cloudburst Synopsis

Brand new Wilbur Smith series for readers of 10+ - starring fourteen-year-old Jack Courtney.

Jack Courtney has lived in the UK his whole life. But this summer his parents are travelling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a gorilla conference, and they've promised to take Jack and his friends with them.

When his parents go missing in the rainforest, abducted by mercenaries, nobody seems to have any answers. Jack is pretty sure that it's got something to do with the nearby tantalum mines, but he needs to prove it. Along with Amelia and Xander, Jack must brave the jungle to save his parents. Standing in his way is a member of his own family - Caleb Courtney. There are western gorillas, forest elephants and hippos. But there are also bandits, mercenaries and poachers. The three friends will need their wits about them if they are not only to save Jack's parents, but their own lives too.

The Jack Courtney Adventures are co-written by author Christopher Wakling. Wakling is a novelist and travel writer whose previous books include On Cape Three Points, What I Did and Escape and Evasion.

Christopher Wakling said ‘Wilbur Smith’s epic adventure stories have been a publishing phenomenon since I was a boy. This is a fantastic opportunity to help reimagine them for a younger audience and introduce the Courtney dynasty to a new generation of readers.

Cloudburst Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading4Kids expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

This is an action-packed book and there are some interesting characters. Full review

Nate Anderson (Age 11)

Cloudburst is an exceptional adventure book for all ages and is a must-read for any young authors looking for inspiration. Full review

Adil Akther Hye (Age 11)

If you like adventure, mystery and action you have to read this book! Full review

Daniel and Alexander - AKA The Book Brothers (Age 12 & 14 )

Cloudburst tells the story of Jacks adventure in the rainforests of Africa. It is full of suspense and you won’t be able to guess what happens next! Full review

Lucas Blake (Age 9)

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrilling and adventurous stories. Full review

Robyn Chorley (Age 11)

I really enjoyed the book because it is full of surprises and it hooks you in. Full review

Gianna Smith (Age 10)

Cloudburst is the brilliant, fast-paced, first book in an action-packed adventure series by the king of adventure Wilbur Smith, set around Jack Courtney and his family. Full review

Ross O’Gorman (Age 13)

A great read for kids age 10 and up. Full review

Luke Killen (Age 12)

A great read that grabs your attention and gives lots of interesting information about Africa. Good for boys and girls who love an exciting read Full review

Angelito Francisco (Age 8)

The story of Jack Courtney was interesting and informative. This was a fun read with lots of flashbacks. I would recommend this to UKS2 readers who enjoy stories with an exciting action packed climax. Full review

Joshua (Age 11)

If you loved this, you might like these...

Alex Rider: Secret Weapon
Young Bond: Strike Lightning
Gorilla Dawn
Scarlet Ibis

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781848128538
Publication date: 19/03/2020
Publisher: Piccadilly Press an imprint of Templar Publishing
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781848128538
Publication date: 19th March 2020
Author: Wilbur Smith
Publisher: Piccadilly Press an imprint of Templar Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 336 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Adventure Stories, Ecological and Environmental, Family / Home Stories, Thrillers
Recommendations: Reviewed by Children

About Wilbur Smith

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 ...

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