Customer Review

88 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well I couldn't put it down..., 4 April 2009
This review is from: Assegai (Hardcover)
Wilbur Smith's story of a young big game hunter captivates you from the opening pages with its distinguished, convincing and evocative descriptions of colonial Africa. Whether you have visited Africa or not, an enriching experience of the continent is in store as the author transports you to confrontations with the big five, altercations with rebels, and the ghostly visions from the hero, Leon Courtney's, past, present and future.

The book is a page turner not just for an well-conceived plot. As 'Assegai' demonstrates in every lucid description, Wilbur Smith is a genuine writer, and a stylist of distinction. The writing is a joy to read. The cultural details expand upon the plot and never seem tacked on. The novel illuminates a crucial juncture in early twentieth century history, the steep incline to the First World War, the problems and pitfalls of imperialism.

What is most impressive is the way in which Smith marshalls and orchestrates the structure of this plot and his characters. The way the novel segues from a straightforward action and suspense largely focussed on Masai rituals and customs, to a Western intrigue in which Courteney is essentially the outsider looking in on the west is seemless. This deepens the characterisation of Courtney and genuinely questions ideas of national identity.

I have a few issues with some of the characters (Snell is your archetypal pen-pushing underachiever with an axe to grind), and sometimes the portrayal of Africans and their deference to the physically and morally excellent Courtney is a bit too conventional, but what's important is their interrelationships and interiorirty, and these have a palapable veracity at their core.

If you're a fan of Smith work then this is another winner. For new readers, expect a well-orchestrated plot where the perspective and identity of the protagonist is adjusted by the uncontrollable events around him, either by supernatural fate or the growing, undeniable reality of war. Above all, expect good writing and an enveloping experience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details