Golden Lion by Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith is one of today’s most well-known historical novelists. His most recent book, Golden Lion, continues his Courtney book series along the east coast of Africa. The book is set in the 30 years between Birds of Prey and Monsoon.

 From the book’s publisher:

He saw his father executed in battle. He spent his youth avenging that death. And now Henry ‘Hal’ Courtney is a man with a ship – and a family – of his own.

But fate has not finished with Hal. On a voyage along the eastern shore of Africa, a powerful enemy abducts his wife, the fearless warrior Judith… and with her, Hal’s unborn child. For Hal, a man all too familiar with loss, there is only one way forward: He must track his nemesis across desert and ocean, through the slave markets of Zanzibar and the dangerous waters of the coast, in pursuit of the woman he loves, the child he sired, and the glorious destiny that awaits him.

Bursting with action and suspense, heroism and heartache, this unforgettable novel proves once more that Wilbur Smith is the world’s greatest adventure writer.

I cannot quite figure out if I like this book or not. The book is very well-written with good character development and plot lines. Hal is a very likeable guy in that he treats his crew and wife well. He also seems to have a good moral compass.

The plot has many twists that keeps you guessing until the end. Many of my assumptions on the end of the book turned out to be true, but some did not. Those that did not were shocking in a good way. The twist that kills one character is very good.

But then there is this sinister undercurrent throughout the book. It is in the descriptions of the killing. I have read many books on fighting and killing and am not squeamish about death, but the descriptions of death in this book are a bit much. I do not need to read about how a knife slices through an abdomen and what happens to the body. Also, the sinister nature of some of the characters is disturbing. One character is evil and downright demented – I guess you put that down as good writing.

Overall, the book is a good read with a great plot and interesting characters.

1 Comment

  1. This has been my problem with Wilbur Smith for decades. I was a big fan for a while, but he focuses too lovingly on the crueler aspects of his stories. He lost me eventually.

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