From Publishers Weekly
Smith's latest Courtney family adventure (after Monsoon), set in colonial South Africa in the early 18th century, follows Jim Courtney, scion of the English shipping and adventuring family seeking their fortune in the Cape of Good Hope colony, administered by the Dutch. A storm at sea blows a ship full of female Dutch convicts into port, and Jim saves the life of the comeliest prisoner, Louisa, before the vessel sinks. Louisa was unjustly imprisoned when she went to the authorities about her lascivious and violent employer. Jim's rescue infuriates the greedy Dutch overlords, and the Courtneys, with Louisa in tow, head north in search of more hospitable territory. The balance of the long tale is elephant hunts, exploration of Indian sea islands, battles among native tribes and conflicts between principled colonialists-Jim and his father and brother-and their baser counterparts, including Jim's treacherous uncle and most of the Dutch population. The Courtneys are adored by various native peoples, and a Bushman tracker named Bakkat becomes their acolyte and guide, while his enemy, Xhia, takes orders from the Dutch. The eventual confrontation of the two Bushmen is gripping, if readers can get past the generally condescending way in which Smith writes about black Africans. Subtlety takes a back seat in this broad tale, and readers may be exhausted before they get to the end, but the writer's fans will enjoy the ride.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The eleventh volume in Smith's saga of the Courtney clan is every bit as riveting as its predecessors. In Monsoon
(1999), brothers Tom and Dorian Courtney established themselves as both swashbuckling seamen and master tradesmen on the shores of South Africa. This time around, their sons, Jim and Mansur Courtney, are equally determined to carve out their own triumphs across the African continent. When Jim falls in love unexpectedly with a beautiful prisoner he spies on a convict ship, he vows to free her from her shackles and a life of certain misery. Escaping with the emotionally shattered and physically damaged Louisa, Jim flees cross country with both his beloved and his faithful manservant, Zama, in tow. Worried about their only son, Tom and Sarah Courtney pursue the young couple, eventually bestowing their family blessing upon them. Blazing a trail across Africa, Jim and Louisa traverse thousands of miles of unexplored wilderness, encountering risk, adventure, and passion along every step of their perilous journey into the unknown. Reuniting with Mansur, Jim and the rest of his expedition face mortal danger from an unexpected source. Brimming with bravado, greed, and romance, this rip-roaring historical romp across eighteenth-century Africa will mesmerize faithful fans and win new converts to Smith's trademark brand of lushly exotic fiction. Margaret FlanaganCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved