Top positive review
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Goodbye Sean Courtney.
on 17 November 2005
This, in my humble opinion, is the best novel Wilbur Smith has ever written. I've read a lot of his books and enjoyed them very much. Elephant Song, A Time To Die, Eagle In The Sky, The Burning Shore, The Leopard Hunts In Darkness, Hungry As The Sea...
I first read When The Lion Feeds, The Sound Of Thunder and this novel about 15 years ago and have read them at least three times since. However, I'm always looking forward to getting to this novel.
I love the characters in this novel, Sean Courtney, of course; Mark Anders (the son Sean Courney never had), Storm Courtney. I feel a real connection to them all, even Dirk Courtney, Sean Courtney's handsome yet evil son.
The pace is swift and engrossing. The plot is vast in scope, from Flanders fields though the Johannesburg Strikes and the formation of land reform to conserve the animals that Sean Courtney made his fortune hunting.
General Sean Courtney first meets Mark Anders, a young sniper from his native Natal (Zululand). Mark is sent out to hunt a German sniper in no man's land and is badly wounded.
On returning to South Africa after months in hospital, young Anders discovers that his Grandfather has been murdered and his land taken by Dirk Courtney for an ambitious project to create farmland from Ladysburg to Chaka's Gate (a fictional wilderness) on the Indian Ocean coast.
Mark sets out to find what really happened to his Grandfather and to bring those to justice who killed the old man.
It seems Mark's and General Courtney's lives are destined to intertwine, but Mark doesn't know whether the man he admired in France is involved in the conspiracy.
The General's beautiful daughter, Storm (concieved in a thunderstorm during the beginning of the Boer War) is a spoiled socialite who Mark immediately falls in love with when she and her father enter the car show room where he works in Durban.
General Courtney is delighted to see the young man again as he greatly admired him as a young man of great destiny. He sets out to win over Mark and to mould him.
It is with a heavy heart that Sean eventually learns what his son has done and sets out to help Mark get the proof he needs.
Their relationship blossoms into that of a father and son, but tragedy is close at hand...
This novel has everything. It isn't a great work of literature by any means, but it is extremely engaging. Now that's not something you can say about some of the "great works of literature" is it? The writing is tight and well-paced and although the characters are not exactly three-dimensional, it works.
Can be read as a stand alone, but I recommend reading the previous two as you will get to know Sean Courtney better that way. But it isn't necessary, as I know people who have thouroughly enjoyed this novel as just that.