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The Sunbird [Paperback]

Wilbur Smith
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Feb 1998

'I scrambled onto my knees, pushing the automatic rifle forward to cover one flank. In that instant they opened on us. The air around me was torn by the sound of a thousand bull whips, while the gunfire sounded like a stick dragged swiftly across a corrugated-iron fence.'

A hazy aerial photograph and a sinister curse are the only clues Dr Ben Kazin has before he stumbles on the archaeological discovery of a lifetime. Beneath the red cliffs of Botswanaland a magnificent unknown civilization has remained buried for millenna. But the magic of uncovering a lost culture is harshly interrupted by the violence of terrorists, love, intrigue and the breathtaking secrets of centries...



Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New edition edition (6 Feb 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330239481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330239486
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 337,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 facebook.com/WilburSmith

Product Description

Review

"When it comes to historical fiction, Smith is without rival."--"Tulsa World" "Each time I read a new Wilbur Smith I say it is the best book I have ever read--until the next one."--"Times Record News "(Wichita Falls, TX)

About the Author

Wilbur Smith was born in Central Africa in 1933. He was educated at Michaelhouse and Rhodes University. 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A right little gem 29 Nov 2005
By JPR
Format:Hardcover
Only the 2nd stand alone i've read of Wilbur. I must admit that when starting this book, i had quite high expectations since i'd heard it was one of his best.
I can say now that i was not disappointed in the slightest. In fact i was even taken aback a little by its brilliance. This is definitely one book not to miss out on.
Split into 2 parts, the 1st is set in the modern era (1970's) in Southern Africa. We follow the gifted, intelligent but physically deformed (Hunchback) Dr. Ben Kazin and his rich and handsome friend Louren. They share a passion for lost civilisations and archietecture. So when the red cliffs of Botswanaland show a potental sectet to an ancient civilisation and culture, Dr. Kazin thinks that this could be the one, the chance of a liftime, to realise his dreams. Both set of to try and uncover any leads. These efforts are constantly disrupted by many things, namely Terrorists, Violence, Greed and Love.
Even if this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, the way Wilbur writes it eventually weaves some kind of magic spell on you and you are swept into the world of these 2 characters and their dreams. The main character Ben is brought to life so well that you begin to share his passions, happiness, weakness and ambitions with him.
The 2nd part of the book goes back 2000 years and introduces us to the civilisation of Opet. Here our main hero is a courageous, well loved priest/war veterain named Huy Ben-Amon. His close friend is the King of Opet, Lannon. Their civilisation rules the southern continent but a potentially hostile enemy is lurking in the North. Due to their cruelty and complaciency overall as a society, Opet comes under threat by a seemingly unstoppable and relentless foe.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I have read the Sunbird three times until now (once in English and twice in Greek) and every time I finish it I want to read it again. Admittedly the beginning isn't very exciting. After a certain point though Smith's narration attains some kind of magic and you find yourself in another dimension. The writing is so natural and balanced that makes the book almost a classic. The story also is wonderful and manages to appeal like an ancient Greek tragedy or a Shaekspearean play. The characters, especially Dr. Kajin, are so well given that make you share their passions, weaknesess and ambitions. 'The Sunbird', I think, is the kind of book that all the equivalent should have as reference.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best thing I have ever read 3 July 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Smith shows just how good a writer he really is. This amazing example of his work brings together the exitement of modern day Africa and the emotions of his lead character perfectly, before throwing them back in time where we see the brilliance of his creative mind sending them into their carthaginian past. I could not put it down. Excellent, fantastic, perfect. Need I say more?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilbur Smith's masterpiece 6 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The Sunbird is the standard by which all other books of this genre should be measured. Wilbur Smith's dark tale of reincarnation and doomed love is riveting. Smith has us wishing we were fighting beside Huy Ben-Amon as he goes into battle. Africa is described as being harsh and unforgiving, but with a beauty that is breathtaking. The author gives us everything we could ask for in this type of book. Simply put, Wilbur Smith's greatest novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wibur Smith at his very best 13 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mild spoilers

Well probably some 30 years from my first read of this epic book I find myself submitting a review of it after breaking my own unwritten rule of never re-reading a book. I ended up on this road after drawing up a short list of books I would have given 5 stars to had I been into reviewing at the time (or in this case had amazon and the internet existed!) after a discussion with another reviewer. (Cheers JPS)

As a teenager this book absolutely blew me away. It seemed to have everything a young man ever fantasised about between its covers:- wild untamed Afrika, beautiful and willing woman, full pitched battle and the lifestyle of the rich and famous! Well all the usual Wilbur Smith ingredients really. What set this book apart from the other WS classics of the same era was it's telling of two tales, one tale set in the present day and the other set over a thousand years earlier, just after the final punic war. A further twist is that main players are essentially re-born versions of themselves, and that the modern tale in someways shadows the events of the past. In the modern day Dr Ben and his fabulously rich mentor have uncovered an ancient city whilst a thousand years earlier a new King takes control of the same City in it's pomp after it's inhabitants fled Carthage and the iron shod rule of the Romans. You with me?

However the biggest and best twist for me is that the main hero, our own Dr Ben Kazin / Huy Ben-Amon is a hunch back! As other regular readers of WS know all his heroes are staggeringly handsome, intelligent, rich, super tough and natural leaders of men... oh and invariably called Courtney! So this was quite a departure at the time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment I have thoroughly enjoyed many of Wilbur Smith's...
What a disappointment
I have thoroughly enjoyed many of Wilbur Smith's works and list the Egyptian series as some of my favourite reads. Read more
Published 7 hours ago by R. Bates
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 4 days ago by M. Coakley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book enjoyable
Published 6 days ago by babara
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb read
As always Wilbur Smith did not disappoint with this book. Well written and researched.
A powerful storyline spread over centuries.
Published 12 days ago by Lanei
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Got the book and had read it many years ago but wanted to take it on holiday so purchased for the kindle. Read more
Published 18 days ago by jayceys
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sunbird
What a fabulous book. Loved every word, one of Smith's best. As good as River God. I never tire of reading this epic story
Published 1 month ago by Lyn Baker
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I bought this as I remembered reading it years ago and thoroughly enjoying it. It did not disappoint. A sweeping tale painting vivid pictures of Africa today and yesterday. Read more
Published 1 month ago by J Doonan
5.0 out of 5 stars Aleady read the Original paperback.
Many years ago I read the paperback version of this book, thought a reread would be good and this Kindle version is easy to read.
Works well as a partible e reader book.
Published 1 month ago by 'Amerigo'
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated dinosaur of a novel
Only on revisiting Wilbur Smith after many years of absence do I realise what a dinosaur he appears in today's world: sexist, racist, trite, populist ... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Danielle F. Kaye
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sunbird
Another brilliant novel by Wilbur Smith. Enjoyed all his books and looking forward to the next one.Can't put them down once you start.
Published 2 months ago by G R Dilworth
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