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A right little gem
on 29 November 2005
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.
I don't want to talk about the 2nd part in any more detail othewise i might give something away. All i can say is that this part of the book is quite sensational. This has to be Wilbur at his very best.
I found the 1st part of the book very good, but its the 2nd part that makes the Sunbird so special, the way it brings both parts together, making this a right classic!