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Birds Of Prey (The Courtneys)

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In 1913 Leon Courtney, an ex-soldier turned professional hunter in British East Africa, guides rich and powerful men from America and Europe on big game safaris in the territories of the Masai tribe.

During an extended captivity, we hear endlessly about how his youth is shed and his muscular development while working in the quarry. Within the waters of the northern continent, acts of piracy, rapine and murder – whose perpetrator previously would have been hunted down by the combined navies of Christian Europe and hanged from his own yard-arm – were condoned and even applauded when committed beyond the Line. With a start of guilt Hal looked out into the darkness; he should not be mooning down at the deck in these vital minutes when, at any moment, the enemy might loom close at hand out of the night. This meant that even those poor creatures who succumbed during the dreadful tropical passage of the Ocean of the Indies must lie rotting with the living in the confined spaces of the ’tween decks. The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.

Of course, the human bowels held no mysteries for him, but he did not understand much of the rest of it, for he had never seen those parts of a woman to which the seamen in both ships referred in such graphic detail, nor knew of the uses to which they could be put, but it excited his imagination to hear them so described. He led prayers twice a day and exhorted his seamen to gentle and dignified behaviour when they put into port – although Hal knew that this advice was seldom followed.

The characters were pretty shallow as far as characters go and our young hero not necessarily very charming -though we are induces to believe that he is, he kind of doesn't charm much out of you. A breath-taking adventure from start to finish, Birds of Prey by Wilbur Smith is a fabulous addition to The Courtneys of Africa series. But Hal knew from his father that no civilized man had ever travelled into that awesome interior and wondered, as he had so many times before, what it would be like to be the first to venture there.Yes the heroes and villains are cliched and the women beautiful and seductive but hey, it’s all good fun. As the Buzzard pulled away rapidly he came back to the stern rail, and his voice lifted above the skirling of the pipes and the whimper of the wind. It will be a time in which brother is pitted against brother, as they are drawn into the lair of the golden fox. After being sentenced to a prison camp, the entire crew find a means escape, but only after learning the extent to the Dutch punitive measures.

Transporting readers back to 1667, the Anglo-Dutch naval war is at its zenith as Sir Francis Courtney and his son, Henry (Hal), sail off the coast of southern Africa. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the small country of The Netherlands spread its sails, to become a major world trade player. It is a prequel to the Courtney saga and follows the fortunes of Hal Courtney and is set in the 1660’s. Whilst I certainly enjoyed this novel, it has a definite tendancy to veer into the two dimensional at times and I found the descriptions of our young leads virile manhood tiring by the end.High above him the splendour of the stars began to pale and fade, and the firmament was filled with the pearly promise of new day. The books I have read by him range from exciting action packed thrillers to occasionally cliche ridden stories of cringe worthy sex and violence. Sir Francis Courtney, his son Hal, and their crew are carried around the southern tip of the African colonies by the good ship Lady Edwinna, licensed to attack and seize the treasure-laden ships of the Dutch East India company. Like I mentioned earlier, it’d be hard to find a hist fic box that Smith doesn’t check over the course of the 700 or so pages.

The seamen that crowded the Lady Edwina’s deck and rigging were silent now, unable to meet each other’s eyes. Set in the East African coast during the Anglo Dutch war, I felt like I was lost in an old pirate film with everything that goes with it: tragedy, love stories, murder and manslaughter, villains and heroes.

All of this is done quite necessarily, and at times the obvious is given despite a character knowing full well what the omniscient third-person narrator provides (i. Some picked out Hal's virile broad-shouldered figure and shouted unintelligible invitations to him, making their meanings plain by the lewd gestures that accompanied them" (p. Smith opens this collection of adventures in exciting fashion, leaving nothing to chance as he entertains his readers. It is the ninth book in The Courtney Series and the beginning of an adventure you will never forget.

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