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Birds of Prey (The Courtneys Book 9) [Kindle Edition]

Wilbur Smith
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It is 1667 and the mighty naval war between the Dutch and the English still rages. Sir Francis Courtney and his son Hal, in their fighting caravel, are on patrol off southern Africa, lying in wait for a galleon of the Dutch East India Company returning from the Orient laden with spices, timber and gold... 'The scope is magnificent and the epic scale breathtaking ... Wilbur Smith is one of thos benchmarks agains whom others are compared' The Times 'Meticulous research supports constant excitement in a fast-moving tale' Washington Post

Books In This Series (5 Books)
Complete Series

  • Product Description

    Amazon Review

    Look up "classic adventure novel" in the dictionary and you'll find the strong and capable features of South Africa's own Wilbur Smith, who--in books as varied and enjoyable as River God, The Seventh Scroll, When the Lion Feeds, and The Diamond Hunters--displays an awesome storytelling ability. His latest is one of his best efforts: a richly detailed story of war and piracy on the high seas in 1667, 150 years before Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin books


    "Constant excitement...ÝA fast-moving tale. What could be better for the beach or backyard?"--"The Washington Post Book World" "ÝA rousing adventure story...Smith is a captivating storyteller."--"Orlando Sentinel" ""Birds of Prey" is a wonderful novel filled with excitement, pirates and vivid sea battles. The heroes are handsome and memorable and overcome tremendous odds to defeat unscrupulous enemies, to remain honorable and wise and always win the fair maiden in the end...In short, it is vintage Wilbur Smith."--"Times Record News" (Wichita Falls, TX)

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 1035 KB
    • Print Length: 788 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 033035289X
    • Publisher: Pan (9 April 2008)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B003GK229I
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,371 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    More About the Author

    Wilbur Smith was born in Central Africa in 1933. He became a full-time writer in 1964 after the successful publication of When the Lion Feeds, and has since written over thirty novels, all meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages.
    For all the latest information on Wilbur visit

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars All the Rigours of Life at Sea 10 Sept. 2004
    Having read Wilbur Smith's books about Taita's adventures in Egypt (River God, Warlock and The Seventh Scroll) I'd got a taste for his exciting, descriptive and involving style of writing and I felt like I was at a loose end when I knew that 'that was it' for his Egyptian stuff.
    Tentatively, I picked up Birds of Prey, and although it was a bit of effort to get into at first (I later discovered this book is in the middle of 'The Courtneys' series) I soon found I couldn't put it down and became a recluse for the next few days.
    As with so many of Smith's books the clever story line follows surprising twists and turns at a furious pace, yet always stays descriptive enough to let you really experience what the characters go through, victorious elation, love, heartache, torture and gore..
    I was never really a great fan of any adventures at sea, but THIS BOOK CHANGED ALL THAT. It got me hooked on the Courtney novels. Having since read the two sequels after Birds of Prey I've been unable to prevent myself from ordering the first three books in the Courtney series too. Once I've read those I'll probably re-read this one again and I'm sure I'll pick up on a whole lot of finer points and detail I missed in the excitement the first time around!
    If you'd like to have the advantage of starting at the beginning of the series, they're listed here in order:
    When the Lion Feeds
    The Sound of Thunder
    A Sparrow Falls
    Blue Horizon
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    12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A New Tangent On The Courtneys 27 Aug. 2000
    By A Customer
    Format:Audio Cassette
    I have been an avid Wilbur Smith fan since the age of 14 when I first plundered the library for a copy of When The Lion Feeds.Since then I have avidly devoured all of his serialised novels and four of his other ones.The discovery that he'd gone back in time to the early roots of the Courtney(or should that be Courteney?)family had me breaking down the doors of the nearest book shop. Up till now we'd been used to the idea of members of the Courtney family fighting their battles in the jungle or in the boardroom,so having the new slant of seafarers in their earlier generations injected new enthusiasm into it. Wilbur Smith lays the innermost feelings and emotions of his characters bare and exposed for us to see.Even the restrained and dignified Sir Francis Courteney has feelings,as Smith reveals in his narrative without confusing the image that the other characters in the book have of him. The adventure unfolds over a period of years,taking Hal Courteney from a youth of 17,into his eraly 20's.In that time he experiences everything you could think of:lust,love,betrayal,comeradeship,adventure,etc etc etc.The sexual scenes are described with language more explicit than we are used to seeing in Smith's books,but I was left with the feeling that Smith was more focused on Hal's betrayer than his other lovers,who he really feels something genuine for.Perhaps Smith finds his female villains more captivating than his heroines;I know I do! If you can stomach reading a novel this huge,(554 pages in the hardback edition)then you won't be sorry for getting a copy of this.It has everything and does'nt really fit into any one specific genre because romance,adventure and any other subject you can think of,are covered in this one novel,more than they would be in any smaller,specialist book. Long may this author live and long may he keep writing material of this calibre!
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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars More From The Courtneys 29 Sept. 1999
    By A Customer
    I have devoured every word of the Courtney novels and was pleased to see that this book would look at the early roots of the family. Smith writes better about the past than he does the present and this is no exception. Never dull and always asking you to turn to the next page, Birds Of Prey is full of vintage Smith: violence, conflict, sex and rich detail. Whilst Smith's characters are always sterotypes we can relate to them and,in many cases,envy them. I can't wait to see how this series of Courtney adventures joins up with his earlier novels to from a 400 year history of the Courtney family.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! 26 April 2004
    By A Customer
    Birds Of Prey follows the Courtney family back about 300 years. It startswith an introduction to 17 year old Hal Courtney and his father SirFrancis aboard the ship the Lady Edwina. Sir Francis is a privateersailing under letters of marke from the king. He is betrayed by a brotherknight and cruelly tortured and executed. It is then up to Hal to savethe day, followed by his trusty friends Aboli, Ned Tyler and DanielFisher. Later his loves Sukena and Judith appear.
    This is a wonderfulbook from Wilbur Smith. It is very long, but unlike so many other booksof this size, it keeps moving and every page has a new and excitingsituation to explore.
    I only have 2 critisms of this book. The mostspecific is that the 'good guy' characters are just too perfect. It is atheme that runs throughout Wilbur Smiths books. In my opinion, they wouldbe all the more intreging if the good guys had a few flaws to theircharacters.
    Like all his books, Smith is in his element when exploring the distantpast, rather than the more 'modern books'.
    Am I the only one thatwould like to see him move out of Africa for a setting? Personally, Iwould love to see how Smith would handle a book set in Europe or theAmericas.
    Still, a great book that had me hooked from beginning to end! Read it andfinish feeling like you have actually learnt something.
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