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BOOK REVIEW: WILBUR SMITH – Golden Lion [with Giles Kristian]

| 12 November 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: WILBUR SMITH – Golden Lion [with Giles Kristian]
HarperCollins Publishers
21 September, 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
7 /10

Wilbur Smith - Golden Lion book

Like more and more big name authors, Wilbur Smith has bowed to the pressure of his fans (and undoubtedly also his publishers’ accountants) and enlisted a co-author, ostensibly “to enable my fans to enjoy the gems from my story vault for many years to come.”

Ghost writing is, of course, nothing new – but the concern with ventures like this is always going to be in making the book feel like the voice of the master whose name is in the largest print on the cover.

Co-author Giles Kristian, author of his own series of Viking novels, Raven, makes a good fist of his job here after a slightly shaky start.

Picking up Smith’s long-running saga of the Courtney family in their early days of African adventure, the first quarter of Golden Lion really does feel like someone writing in Smith’s well-established style, rather than the man himself.

Things rapidly pick up after that though, as Hal Courtney goes head-to-head with his greatest foe: the horrifically burnt and grotesque Angus Cochran (aka The Buzzard). Through Zamzibar, up and down the African coast, in and out of idyllic coves and beautiful sailing vessels, this tale sees Hal and soulmate Judith Nazet (an accomplished Ethiopian general) swashbuckle against a veritable army of enemies as The Buzzard – now in league with Zanzibar’s Prince Jahan and the amoral British Consul Grey, a secret convert to the Islamic cause and traitor to his country – pursue his personal vendetta.

Once Kristian hits his stride the action is full of thrills and spills – not to mention a fair helping of Smith’s trademark brutality – and if it’s not as un-put-downable as Smith’s best work, it’s still an entertaining and often exciting ‘boys own’ story and a worthy addition to the bookshelf.

Category: Book Reviews

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