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on 15 July 2007
I would say that the quest is not a bad book, but it is so far removed from the others as to almost alienate large sections of his fanbase. I have read all of Wilbur's books and this one stands alone as a fantasy novel rather than the well researched historical adventures that i am used to.

If you are into fantasy then the book is quite a good read; Smith describes fantasic and colourful scenery and characters.

The problem is that almost all of Smith's fans aren't. If you are used to the realism of his great books like When the Lion Feeds and Birds of Prey then you will barely believe what you are hearing. To an average Smith fan, the plot is outlandish and at times laughable. It's sad to see that so many people hate this book, because it really isn't all that bad, but Taita is one of Smith's most loved characters, and perhaps his first dive into fantasy shouldn't have used him as the Guinea Pig.

There are also quite a few consistancy problems with the earlier novels in the series which serve to annoy long term fans. (When did Wilbur decide that Lostris' baby name was Fenn?!)

Wilbur Smith has set a very high standard for his novels, and this one does indeed fall short of it, however i get the feeling that if this was his first book there would be lots of fantasy fans giving it four stars rather than the miserable ones and twos it's getting. He's done a very brave thing jumping into the genre of fantasy, but it looks like it's not going to pay off for him unfortunatly.

Also it's really, really, really long! It could be a series in itself - Perhaps that would have worked better; a fantasy series about the fight against the lie...

Nice try Wilbur, but lets have a good old African adventure in 2009 before you put all your fans off for good. I'd like to see what happpens to the Courney family after Blue Horizon!
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on 14 April 2008
As most people on here, I've been a huge fan of Smith for years and despite the odd duffer, the vast majority of his novels are compelling and carry a great sense of place and time for his vibrant characters to roam.

Not in 'Quest' though. Its a bit odd really, you'll have to leave your logic firmly on the shelf if you're to get past the fact that A) unbelievably Taita is still alive and B) hes now turned into a raging sex fiend with the ability to do odd magic. Having his eye popped out with a spoon has also given the lad 'THE INNER EYE' dun dun duuuuun, so he can see auras, and theres also a dash of apparent reincarnation in here, with Lostris popping up again in the form of a child, despite haviing been dead for 70 years. Which incidentally makes Taita around 100 years old, and theres no reason for his extroadinary long life given other than he is a 'Long liver'.......Gone is the flawed yet noble Taita of River God, gone are the memorable characters both good and evil, instead its a dull tale of magic, witchcraft and gods where the sense of time is lost and sense of place is not terrible forthcoming. Characters have no sparkle to their dialogue, dull bit players come and go, theres no real objective for the titular Quest as the narrative is muddled and the ideas confused - Taita and some egyptians leave the plague ridden Egypt behind to investigate the source of the blocked nile, and eventually wind up in some weird mountain where people live in volcanos and can regrow eyeballs and other body parts. You can get where this is heading, as a fair chunk of the 200 odd pages since Taita finds Fenn (Lostris reincarnated apparently) is spent banging on about having no todger and how he wished he could have one. So, quite fortunate for a Eunuch to find a nest of doctors in a volcano with the ability to grow body parts.....

Mildy entertaining in parts, but overall not a worthy addition to the series.
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on 29 June 2007
Over the past 10 years I have read all of Wilburs Smiths great stories but, for me, this latest effort is another slide down the slippery slope from 'must read' to 'must leave'. THE QUEST seems to have been written without a plan. The story lumbers along through a series of crises, most of which are solved by Taita weaving a 'spell of concealment', and, unlike so many of his books, fails to grasp the imagination. It is undoubtedly his worst work. I saw a Wilbur Smith interview recently where he stated that, when writing his books, his characters tell him where the story should go. All I can say is 'WILBUR, STOP LISTENING TO THEM'. This, following the average 'Triumph of the Sun', is a great example of not knowing when to stop.
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on 14 July 2007
What can I say, I've read them all like many of you and quite frankly this book could put you right off Mr Smith who is without a doubt a No 1 Author. So lets hope he gets right back to what he does best next time. How about another century and another batch of Courtenay's!!!

Whilst we wait for a return to form I have scoured the 4 corners of the universe for a substitute and once you have gone through early Clive Cussler I strongly recommend you to a few Ozzie author's - Peter Watt, Tony Parks (new) and Bryce Courtenay. They are all in the same league.
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on 30 April 2007
As with other reviewers I am a big fan of Wilbur Smith. I own all of his books and have read each at least twice, some many more times than that. I will not read this one again.

You expect Smith's heroes to be a little too talented to be true and there is no harm in that but what you also expect is the healthy dose of realism that is sadly lacking in this book. When did Wilbur Smith become a creator of sorcery novels and, more importantly, why?

I hate to be an 'anorak' but I would add to the reported continuity problems that Tanus named his great warbow 'Lanata' as this was Lostris' child name, we are now told that it was 'Fenn'.

In short if any other author had written this travesty of a novel misusing these much loved characters they would have been lynched and I would be one of the angry mob.
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on 21 April 2007
First let me say this, I am a huge Wilbur Smith fan and have read almost all his work and especially enjoyed the Egyptian novels.

However this book feels more like a cheap imitation of one of his than the real thing. If I hadn't read his previous work I would have thrown it down in disgust as fantastical rubbish.

I have nothing against fantasy novels and enjoy reading them, but this takes it too far. We are supposed to believe that Taita and other 'long livers' have been around for thousands of years? And as for the childish nonsense about 'the truth' and 'the lie'- well, it would be funny if it wasn't contained in what is supposed to be an adult novel.

I finished reading it only on the authors reputation and the one redeeming feature - his wonderful description of events and setting. But as for the events themselves? Maybe Smith should stick to what he does best, writing entertaining but generally historically accurate books. Magic was present in his previous books I know, but for me in 'The Quest' magic seems to be more common than reality, and without reality Smith has created a childish and unbelivable work of fiction.

If this book had been realised by a new author it would have been panned by everyone who read it - it only gets good reviews on Smith's reputation and as far as I'm concerned didn't deserve to be published. Maybe I'm being a little harsh, it's not the worst book I've ever read, but it is so far below the standard I expect from this quality author that I can't stand to see it get such a mixed reception.

Don't buy this book, stick to his earlier work. But if you really want to read it wait until it comes out in paperback! Don't waste your money like I did.
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on 16 April 2007
Shame Mr Smith Shame.A dreadful collision of fractured history and outlandish fantasy > Time to give the Egyptian series an entombment. In fact if this outrage is fitting evidence of declining skills the burial should have happened at the end of the last adventure of the intrepid castrati. So far this effort is leading the charge as the most putdownable book of 2007
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on 18 July 2007
I have read most of Wilbur Smith's books and always enjoyed them. Many I have re read. I loved the Taita series and was really pleased to see this latest offering in the book store. This book however was completely removed from the author's usual style. It may appeal to those that enjoy the fantasy genre but it didnt appeal to me. I was extremely disappointed and didnt even finish it. I hope the auther gets back to his usual style asap.
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on 9 April 2007
As an avid Wilbur Smith fan who has held River God as my most loved book for years, I looked forward to The Quest from the moment it was announced a new Taita novel was on its way.

However now that Ive managed to read it I find myself incredibly disappointed with the huge differences between Smith's usual style and this.

No longer our slightly vain, not so modest early Taita or even the enigmatic older Magus Taita. We now have a young, all powerful warrior Taita in a story involving outlandish magics, modern day genetic manipulation, long dead characters resurrected with noticable differences, and extended 'sex battles'.

Not only does Taita gain immense magical power and manage to regrow his entire genitals and the virginity that cost him the loss of them in River God but also discovers the reincarnation of his decades dead love, Lostris (who has mysteriously become a blonde), who also has immense magical power and conveniently falls in love.

No sign of the flaws that made Taita into the wounded hero that so appealed originally. No sign of the undying love Lostris bore for Tanus her entire lifetime until her death. No sign of the rich storyline that I love so dearly about Smith's other novels or the well developed and thought out characters.
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on 1 April 2008
Did Wilbur Smith's money tree suddenly run bare to entice a once great storeyteller to sink to a parody on Lord of the Rings. Only Shadowfax was missing as Galdalf lost his nuts and then found them again and as if that was not bad enough Shelob made an appearance
Come on Wilbur write a good story or just spend your last minutes with your young wife and let us remember you as a great writer not a failing sham! please
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