Birds of Prey - Courtney 3, Bk 1 Author:Wilbur Smith 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 storytelling powers in Birds of Prey, a swashbuckling epic of adventure, intrigue and passion on the dangerous high seas of 1667. — As the choppy sea lanes of the Afric... more »an coast are rife with bloody battles over trade booty, Sir Francis Courteney and his 17-year-old son Hal embark on a seafaring quest for the treasure-laden galleons of the Dutch East India Company. But soon the horrific torture and execution of the elder Courteney catapults Hal into the role of captain. And the heavy burden of avenging his father's death-- along with the lusty pleasures he shares with three beautiful women-- will swiftly, irrevocably transform Hal from boy to man...
Richly detailed, breathlessly plotted, and rich with the color of the time and place, Birds of Prey is an unforgettable saga that will transport you to one of the most fascinating, action-packed eras in world history.« less
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I loved this book. Pirates, 17th century, exotic locales, boarding enemy ships, hidden gold bullion, revenge, a little sex for spice(a little too spicy for younger readers) and a great story with an author who really knows how to write. What more can you ask for? This is a terrific novel for adventure fans.
This was the first of Wilbur Smith's books I ever picked up, somewhere late in my college career when it was either read something fictional or burn out trying to write my thesis. Thick though it is, it's a fast read, quick paced and engaging from almost the first sentence (which is generally thought to be the goal). Set during the European colonization of Africa, this first book in the Courteney brothers series introduces us to Henry, called Hal, as he quite literally runs himself to exhaustion working and learning on his father's ship. Sailing under letters of marque from England, Sir Francis, a knight of the order of St. George and the Holy grail (the successors of the Knights Templar), searches Africa's coast for Dutch trading ships to commandeer and rob. On one such ship, he finds the new governor of the Cape of Good Hope and his wife Mevrouw. The couple are held for ransom, but it is not long until Mevrouw, called Katinka, finds young Hal an interesting diversion in her captivity. Sword fights, a Dutch colonial prison, a first-hand look at the European slave trade, and brushes with native wildlife, native peoples and warring western nations take readers by the throat through a ten year quest for wealth, justice, revenge and hope on the part of Sir Francis' crew, eventually led by Hal himself.
It's rare to find a story this fast-paced and detailed that also includes eroticism and passionate love, and yet since life gives us those opportunities as well, Smith includes them in masterful detail. It's just a fun read, and interesting to those who are fond of history but not necessarily familiar with that of Africa. This first book leads us to several more as the generations of the Courteney family live on and make parts of Africa their own. I loved it and continue to do so. This book is one I'm *not* trading!
This is not really a review, it is a warning. This particular book (and I love ALL Wilbur Smith's books)can very easily become hazardous to a person's health. I just could not put it down, and read through the night for many nights, cutting back on my sleep. And I am 70 years old and really, really need my sleep!
Just kidding about the health, but this is one very engrossing story. Don't miss it, especially if you like Wilbur Smith's books.
A wonderful & exciting adventure! This story will keep you coming back for more, and rooting wildly for the heros of the story!
There is a lot here for everyone: wars, romance, cheating, revenge...you name it! Highly recommended!