Customer Reviews


78 Reviews
5 star:
 (43)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (10)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


114 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of the Siege of Khartoum
This is an excellant book about the siege of Khartoum and features a Courtney (Ryder, the uncle of Sean and Garrick) and a Ballantyne (Penrod). This does not follow directly from 'Blue Horizon' the last Courtney novel but is in fact a stand alone novel that takes place at the same time as 'When the Lion Feeds' and 'The Sound of Thunder'. Although Ryder and Penrod are...
Published on 27 Mar. 2005

versus
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but routine Wilbur Smith
I am a great Wilbur Smith fan, but I must admit to being rather disappointed by this, his latest offering. There are all of the usual, and I suppose inevitable, fairly graphic love scenes, all of the usual overcoming-all-odds-and-still-getting-out-alive-with-the-romantic-heroine, super-heroic derring-do, all of which are well done and at times left me quite breathless...
Published on 29 July 2005


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

114 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of the Siege of Khartoum, 27 Mar. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Triumph of the Sun (Hardcover)
This is an excellant book about the siege of Khartoum and features a Courtney (Ryder, the uncle of Sean and Garrick) and a Ballantyne (Penrod). This does not follow directly from 'Blue Horizon' the last Courtney novel but is in fact a stand alone novel that takes place at the same time as 'When the Lion Feeds' and 'The Sound of Thunder'. Although Ryder and Penrod are joint 'leads' of the story Penrod gets the stronger personal story. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was dreading reaching the end. There is one shocking part that hit me like a physical shot when I read it, I was expecting something bad to happen but not that bad. All I can do now is wait 1 or 2 years for the next Wilbur Smith novel and see where he takes us I'm hoping for a follow on from either 'Blue Horizon' or 'The Golden Fox'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


106 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long awaited meeting for the Courtneys and the Ballantynes, 30 Mar. 2005
This review is from: The Triumph of the Sun (Hardcover)
I love Wilbur Smith, and I have been waiting for this new book for so long, so it almost seems a shame that I got it and immediately read it....what do I do now - wait until the next book comes out in two years time? In this new book, the great fictional families from Smith's previous novels encounter each other for the first time - the Courtneys and the Ballantynes. It's almost as though these two families have been in a parallel existence for so long, and for readers of Smith (like me), the encounter of both families has been long awaited. It's difficult to write a review about this book without giving anything away, but I'll give you a thumbnail sketch: British businessman Ryder Courtney is trapped in the siege of Khartoum in 1884, along with a captain of the 10th Hussars (Penrod Ballantyne), the British consul and his three daughters. Against the fierce, graphic setting of the battle, there is this great story of survival, strength and determination.
There are also some great strong characters which seem to be making contemporary references about the world today; Mahdi, the mystic warlord seems to be a comment about the rise of Islam and the problems in the world today.
This is a great book, and although the characters are from the families of previous books, this is not a sequel to any of the books which came before, nor a continuation of any prior story. It seems as though Smith has brought a natural meeting point for the families and taken them upon a new journey, and not just taken the easy route by writing a sequel to Blue Horizon (though I would really like to see that myself).
If you're new to Smith, you might be better off reading a few of the previous books first before taking this one on, just so that you get a feel of what the families are about, but even if you don't, you will not regret buying this book. Thank you Wilbur Smith.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Quality Offering..., 22 Feb. 2006
By 
DL O. Donnell "procrastinate the first" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Triumph of the Sun (Paperback)
For those Wilbur Smith fans out there this is a book you will enjoy I think. It is not vintage Smith by any stretch of the imagination but instead is a largely enjoyable and very readable tale.
For first time Smith readers I suggest you start with a book like River God or Warlock and then progress to the Courtney and Ballantyne novels. You will not appreciate the flowing style and historical competence of his writing by reading this book first.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gordon's Last Stand?, 18 Aug. 2006
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Wilbur Smith is well established as one of the top novelists writing what I would describe as good old adventure novels. I have not read all of Mr. Smith's offerings, but I have enjoyed very much the ones that have Egypt as their backdrop.

As I had just finished reading a factual book about the Sudan, I thought it would be interesting to read Wilbur Smith's slant on both the country and also the siege of Khartoum. This battle is the main background for the novel.

It is easy for the reader to get the feel that Mr. Smith is a seasoned writer with a string of very successful novels behind him. His confidence shows through in his writing style and also his knowledge of the subject he is writing about.

A Holy War has broken out in the Sudan. A war that has been precipitated by years of misrule from the Egyptian capital Cairo. The war is being co-ordinated by a new and fanatic religious leader the Madhi, the 'Expected One.'

Khartoum is under siege and three powerful men are fighting to survive. One of them, a British businessman Ryder Courtney has become trapped in the fighting, in which the British General, Charles Gordon is killed. The other two men are Captain Penrod Ballantyne of the 10th Hussars, as well as the British Consul, David Benbrook and his three beautiful daughters. They are among the hundreds of British subjects trapped in the conflict and their chances of getting out alive are not good . . .
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Smith page turner, 12 Sept. 2006
By 
Sancho Mahle (Charlotte, USA) - See all my reviews
A page turner, May 9 2005

Reviewer: Sancho Mahle (Charlotte, USA) - See all my reviews

I consider Wilbur Smith as Africa's all time best writer or novelist. The Triumph of the Sun just goes to add to the accolades from his other bestselling novels. This great historical fiction is set in The Sudans when it was gripped by the rebellion against the ruling Egyptian Khedive and the British by The Madhi or "Expected One" who in 1881 deemed himself a religious prophet who Allah had chosen to purify the Islamic faith, a rebellion which saw the creation of a vast Islamic state from the Red Sea to Central Africa by preaching the omnipotence of the Qur'an, utilizing internal class struggles, and by successfully organizing his "ansar" or military.

Against the backdrop of the Mahdi's war that led to the capture of the Khartoum, the death of General Charles George Gordon and the temporary loss of British influence, are the figures from the Courtney and the Ballantyne families that featured in Wilbur Smith's other books, amazing characters that gave the historical fiction that spice that made this story so great.

To have a better feel of the story, I suggest you also read Wilbur Smith's other books such as "When the Lion Feeds", "Blue Horizon" etc. One thing I am sure is that whether this is your first Wilbur Smith novel or just another, you are certainly going to enjoy the story. Just like DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, the message in this novel resonates today.THE DIAMOND HUNTERS, SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL, THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES also feature among the recent books I enjoyed that are set in Africa.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic storytelling that's over too soon, 17 May 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Triumph of the Sun (Hardcover)
I would echo many of the points that have been raised elsewhere concerning this book. The storytelling is first class and the imagery and historical detail (whilst not necessarily 100% accurate - for example, many historians would argue that al-Mahdi didn't order Gordon's decapitation..) provides a fascinating back-drop for the novel.
What stops this being a great book is the fact that the last third of the book seems needlessly rushed; almost as if the author is determined that it should only be 500 pages and no more. From the pinnacle of the book where Khartoum is taken the story suddenly shifts from detailed charcter-building towards tieing up all loose ends. Relationships develop, time passes and characters grow, but we do not necessarily feel that we have grown with them so that it almost feels like a drawn out appendix to the main plot, or a type-over of "what happened next" at the end of a film.
That said - I thoroughly enjoyed the book for what it was and would certainly suggest it to all lovers of historical novels, Gordon literature and steely stomached (since some of it is quite gruesome!) romantics.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilbur Smith in top form, 5 July 2005
This review is from: The Triumph of the Sun (Hardcover)
This is a most enjoyable book. If you have read all of Smith's books (as I have) you know what to expect: excellent action, historical perspective, very strong characters, good against evil, blood and guts, feeling like you're in the middle of Africa, love, and a great storyline. This book has it all.
The siege of Khartoum makes for a great stage for the first half of this novel and builds the main characters nicely for the remainder of the book. The second half moves away from Khartoum and this is where Smith is at his best describing the desert and the people of each region. The action moves much quicker in the second half and there are plenty of twists to keep the reader interested.
This book is billed as "the Courtneys meet the Ballantynes " and you can detect similarities between Ryder Courtney and Penrod Ballantyne and their family members from other books. However, there the similarity ends and there is no connection between these Courtneys and Ballantynes, and those in other Smith books. The family names could have been Smith and Jones without affecting the storyline - this book does not fit in neatly with the "saga" of these two families. These main characters are not even on the Family Tree at [...]
Wilbur Smith almost always leaves us wanting more and leaves plenty of room for a follow-up book - especially with the Courtney and Ballantyne books. Unusually (in my recollection), he does not do this in "Triumph of the Sun" as he ties up loose ends, possibly eliminating the prospect of a second book based on Ryder Courtney and Penrod Ballantyne.
Smith fans will not be disappointed with this book. People new to Smith will also enjoy this as it does not depend on familiarity with other Smith novels.
Enjoy!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but routine Wilbur Smith, 29 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Triumph of the Sun (Hardcover)
I am a great Wilbur Smith fan, but I must admit to being rather disappointed by this, his latest offering. There are all of the usual, and I suppose inevitable, fairly graphic love scenes, all of the usual overcoming-all-odds-and-still-getting-out-alive-with-the-romantic-heroine, super-heroic derring-do, all of which are well done and at times left me quite breathless. There are also more of the graphic Smith descriptions of casual and vicious cruelty and brutality (particularly true of Osman, although in some ways I also sometimes feel that Smith has a sort of underlying sympathy for this character). I'm also not entirely sure I can relate to someone called Penrod...
One aspect of the tale that I do find rather surprising is that nowhere does Smith include any sort of acknowledgement that some of the characters in the book (General 'Chinese' Gordon, for example) were historical, nor any indication of how much, if any, of the real-life events he describes (principally the siege of Khartoum) are accurately presented.
Overall, then, a good yarn, well told, but not his best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Triumph of the Sun, 27 Aug. 2009
By 
'The Triumph of the Sun' sees Smith move away from his traditional sub-Saharan Africa setting towards the area of the upper Nile, and as such it is both refreshing and interesting. Whilst using the aids of both the Courtney and Ballantyne characteristics to immediately impose adventure and excitement on the novel, there is an emotional undercurrent that runs through the book which puts a real weight on the actions of the main protagonists. Whilst the book contains Smith's usual array of action, violence and all-consuming affection, the setbacks encountered by the cast of characters are greater and more frequent than in his other novels, making the eventual climax and triumph ever more engaging for the reader. Once started, 'The Triumph of the Sun' is difficult to ignore. One of Smith's better novels.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best endings!, 13 Jun. 2006
I have read this, and as a true fan of Wilbur Smith, I have read all of his books. However, the book seemed completely rushed towards the end, as though he suddenly realised that he's been writing this for a while and that he should rush and finish it. It made me feel disappointed as I was stuck in it and then felt as though I was left behind, confussed and bewildered. Not one of his better books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews