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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like It
Kind of like it, certainly very different from Wilbur Smith's first novels many years ago. Quite violent in a sexual way which I was not sure about. Easy to read.
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. Ann Kennell

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208 of 211 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What has happened to Wilbur Smith?
Let me start by saying that I have all of the Wilbur Smith books and treasure every one. If I ever had to choose just one author to take to a desert island, it would be him. I eagerly anticipated his latest Vicious Circle and, despite all the negative reviews, I ordered it and started reading as soon as it arrived. I was on page 30 before I reluctantly admitted the...
Published 16 months ago by truckdriver4roads


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208 of 211 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What has happened to Wilbur Smith?, 19 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels) (Hardcover)
Let me start by saying that I have all of the Wilbur Smith books and treasure every one. If I ever had to choose just one author to take to a desert island, it would be him. I eagerly anticipated his latest Vicious Circle and, despite all the negative reviews, I ordered it and started reading as soon as it arrived. I was on page 30 before I reluctantly admitted the reviews were correct. There are glaring mistakes - a van loaded with pallets of concrete blocks -later referred to as brick - each one "several tons" being pushed out of a van by one man. A man with a Leatherman tool removing a vehicle's spark plugs. hard enough with a proper plug spanner and ratchet. And, his language has gone so coarse and uncalled for. I always admired Smith's fine command of language and the fact that there were very few real swear words or coarse sexual references. Not any more. the prose has gone gutter-wards and, for no specific reason. The plot would work just as well without being so cringe worthy. And no, I am not a prude or have any real objection towards the kind of language you hear all over these days. It is nice sometimes to withdraw into a book that doesn't need to be "beefed up". You have to wonder just what has happened to change an author's style so completely and for the worse.
I know he is getting old but that is even more reason why he would be expected to stay true to his previous books.
Much as I hate to say it - and I never thought I would - I was disappointed with this book. It was badly written, lacked any real substance, had unbelievable characters and I felt really cheated.
Maybe this should be his last book or he should get better advisors and stronger editors.

PS: I have been online and the reported facts are these. Wilbur has just signed a £15 million deal for 6 more books. He supplies the story line and "selected" writers actually put pen to paper. His previous publishers of 45 years standing, Pan McMillan, didn't like the idea so he has now gone to Harper Collins. Legal? Ethical? To put Wilbur Smith down as the author is misleading to my mind. "In the style of Wilbur Smith" by Whatever Author would be more ethical. That way you would know what you are getting. Like the James Bond and the Robert Ludlum books which have continued after both authors died. This type of misleading selling of books should at least be reserved for those authors no longer living. Wilbur Smith is still living - and very comfortably with a reported £100 million fortune - and should either retire or have the honesty to write his own books. I personally will not be buying any more "in the style of " Wilbur Smith books. Perhaps if like minded fans do the same then the publishers might get the message.
I have since written to Macmillan publishers to ask if it thought it was ethical and/or misleading to name Wilbur Smith as the author when he actually wasn't. To date, (6 weeks) I have not received a reply. Speaks for itself. Shame on you Macmillan.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very predictable, 14 Oct. 2013
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Unfortunately this was very predictable with a cliffhanger end (not). Wilbur has slipped into a comfortable style that is not as enjoyable as his Sunbird type novels.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wilbur Smith far below par., 8 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels) (Hardcover)
The story was sadistic, perverted and disjointed. It was the worst Wilbur Smith novel that I have ever read, having read all of his novels.Come on Wilbur I expect much better from you.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What's happened to Wilbur?, 7 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels) (Hardcover)
I have read your books for years & thoroughly enjoyed them, but this is pure garbage.I agree with all the others, if this is the best you can do now, pack up & fade into the sunset.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars retirement money, 19 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels) (Hardcover)
a message to Wilbur.Please retire now.youve earned the right to put your feet up after enthralling us for40 years with such wonderful books.This latest was just not you.Did your new partners write it? If so sack them and enjoy some leisure time.I never thought that I would write these words ,but felt I had to
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sad about Wilburs decline!, 7 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels) (Hardcover)
I have every book written by Wilbur Smith, a lot I inherited from my late father. I always looked forward to his next book coming out, but after reading this drivel I wonder if I will in the future. It was badly written, daft plot, and seemed to major on the sex?
I wonder what my father would have thought of it, not a lot I am sure. Wilbur you need to get your act together or retire, I will look at the reviews on his next book before I decide to buy it.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unworthy content, 14 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels) (Hardcover)
The book degenerates into a style unrecognisable as Wilbut Smith after page 191. It is used as a vehicle for expressing dreadful sexual preferences in graphic detail which should be highlighted on the books cover.

What a pity a great writer has resorted to such sordid rubbish at the end of his career.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 3 Nov. 2013
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In terms of narrative style and content this doesn't feel like a Wilbur Smith book. The graphic depictions of sex and rape included feel like they've been shoehorned in to make a point, they add very little to the story.

The main characters are heavily cliched, the psycho, the killer and the good guy who will stop at nothing to get them. The ending is a bit like a Stephen King book - it's like he's got bored and just churned something out that looks vaguely appropriate

Compared to his earlier books this certainly has the feel of being written by someone else. I would struggle to recommend this to fans of his other books
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, 28 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels) (Hardcover)
I've never read a book so bad before that I've bothered to write a review about it, but this Wilbur Smith is so utterly dreadful that I've decided to write this so that anyone who's umming and ahhing over whether to buy it or not can be assured... PLEASE DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ON THIS BOOK!
I can hardly describe how much this book intensely irritated me right from the offset, with a completely unbelievable and down right cringeworthy story of how Hector the hero killed a lion when he was a teenager with his bare hands and a spear. This scene between him and his billionaire wife was so fake and devoid of any real emotion that I should have stopped right there but I don't like giving up on books and after all, it was a Christmas present. The cringeworthiness didn't end there - the book was completely rife with it together with cliché after cliché.
I can only imagine that many of the better reviews on here must be owed to some sort of loyalty to Wilbur Smith's previous work so they have forgiven him for the poor quality of his latest work. Having not read any of his other work, I took this book at face value and can honestly say I found the writing to be chauvinistic at times, homophobic and with scarcely credible dialogue. I usually enjoy a good action book and am not adverse to the occasional outburst of violence and bad language, but only when it serves a point in the grand scheme of the plot. However in this book I got the distinct impression Smith was merely writing the most horrific and disgusting things he could come up with to try to shock the readers in the hope of causing suspense, but it only served the opposite effect of making it extremely predictable.
All in all, a huge disappointment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor, 7 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels) (Hardcover)
This is not a good book. I've been a big fan of Wilbur Smith for many years but this novel is entirely lacking in a great many areas. Characters are broadly drawn and cliche, dialogue is frankly horrendous; stilted, idiotic, ridiculous (hilarious when it comes to the obligatory sex scene), generally totally unrealistic. Some of the interactions between characters contrive to create some of the most wooden situations I've ever read - this is real amateur stuff, sadly. Anytime we have any interaction between Carl Bannock and Jonny Congo, its just hilariously bad.

The story has the potential to be a tense tale of revenge, but instead is bogged down in a mire of inaction, cliche, plot holes and no real substance with characters bumbling from one poorly drawn scenario to the next. Some of the plot devices are entirely contrived - the appearance of Carl Bannock for instance, the plot has run into a dead end so out of the blue in a couple of paragraphs Cross's Dead wifes PA suddenly remembers a previously unknown and key member of the Bannock family. Carl is deliberately excluded from the running as the bad guy with such lack of grace and cack handedness that its immediately obvious that he is the bad guy - really poorly written. Theres a few unbelievably obvious plot 'twists' which you'll have seen coming a mile off thanks to the lumpen writing.

And worse, the content of the book takes a real nose dive into the gratuitous. I'm no prude, all Smiths books have sex and violence, but they rarely stray this far into pointless 'shock' territory. Its utterly gratuitous, the majority entirely out of context and serves no purpose for the narrative other than to pad and disgust. Theres a good 30 pages dedicated to an entirely pointless courtroom drama scene with Carl Bannock on trial for abusing his younger sisters - we already know Bannock is the bad guy, we know he's not meant to be a nice chap, so this drawn out chapter focuses for no obvious reason and with great detail on the abuse of underage girls. Why? Its not needed for the narrative. Its just there to shock. Large amounts of the novel focus far too closely on sadistic detail thats simply not required. And yet when we finally get to the comeuppance of Carl Bannock, Smith goes all coy and we don't get any detail of his death. So the novel is fine with focusing in great and lurid detail on the rape, torture and mutilation of non essential side characters (mostly female, mostly underage), but not with the main bad guy. Very odd.

I would genuinely go as far as to suggest that this wasn't written by Smith. It reads like a ghost written novel, produced by someone with only a vague knowledge of what a Wilbur Smith book should contain, and thus focusing on entirely the wrong elements. Theres no research, no sense of place or time or character and frankly no real reason to read this book.

Avoid at all costs.
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Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels)
Vicious Circle (Hector Cross Novels) by Wilbur Smith (Hardcover - 10 Oct. 2013)
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