Set in colonial Egypt at the end of Victoria's reign, this sweeping romantic epic reprises Smith regularsscions of the Courteneys and Ballantynes. (The two fictional British families have provided character fodder for least half of Smith's 30 novels.) Bloodthirsty legions of Arab dervish troops under the command of the Mahdi, or ruling successor to the Prophet Muhammad, have surrounded (but not taken) Khartoum, trapping comely 17-year-old Rebecca Benbrook; her consul general father, David; and her younger twin sisters, Saffron and Amber. The appearance of a cargo boat owned by the dashing, entrepreneurial Ryder Courteney, as well as the subsequent appearance of Capt. Penrod Ballantyne of Her Majesty's 10th Hussars, give hope. Naïve Rebecca falls in love with Ballantyne, who deflowers her before racing off to warn the rescue force commander that the commander is outnumbered 25 to one. The dervish, led by the fearsome Emir Osman Atalan, overrun Khartoum, and Rebecca's father is brutally butchered; the saga continues with Penrod heroically leading troops against Osman. Steamy romance alternates with gore, and it's all done by-the-numbers in a good waylike a junky, absorbing miniseries. Fans will not be disappointed.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW
I began my personal reading at age 10 with a membership in "The Science Fiction Book Club", and over the past 53 years have come across writers I thought were fantastic.
Wilbur Smith is my new favorite author and I have started my own "Wilbur Smith Fan Club".
I endeavor to read everything he has written because he not only strings a fantastic yarn, but delves into ancient history with an excitement I'd never experienced before.
I would recommend any of his books.
Theyve come from out of the shifting sands and down from ancient mountains. Mounted on horse and camel, carrying gleaming swords and plundered rifles, the sons of Allah are led by a holy warrior imbued with jihad, driving his army of thousands to wipe out the last Englishmen from the isolated Nile city...
Along with hundreds of others, British trader and businessman Ryder Courtney is trapped in the capital city of Khartoum. In Khartoum, the fates of a legendary British general, a brilliant, mercenary trader, a beautiful woman and a courageous soldier will become one. They know that time is running out and rescue is improbable. So they prepare for one last stand.