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Customer Review

252 of 255 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) (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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Showing 1-10 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Oct 2013 16:50:58 BDT
Yeah, it was page 28 onwards that got me.. Just the sheer number of errors! I picked up on the tons of blocks, and the removing the spark plugs was a ridiculous plot line..

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Oct 2013 19:22:58 BDT
It really upset me to find that my favorite author had lost it. I am just glad that I am not alone in realising this. It is almost like it was written by a complete amateur. I would rather he gave up now and not write any more. regards Dave

Posted on 24 Oct 2013 10:24:46 BDT
Like the above reader I also have read all of Wilbur smith's books and always looked forward to his next novel. This one however was a complete disaster. I noted in his last novel the language and description of sexual acts was taking a downward turn for the worse. Perhaps it is time he called it a day, or had a rethink about his story line.

Posted on 25 Oct 2013 12:21:44 BDT
Vicious Circle was obviously not written by Wilbur Smith. It was written by someone with a depraved mind,someone who has never known the sublime pleasure of making love to a woman who is dearly loved and is a best friend and shares life and family together.The cruel sadistic torture depictions appear to be the work of one of the minions of the devil . I read it ,I,m sorry. There was no redeeming factor.

Posted on 27 Oct 2013 13:23:23 GMT
patty lincs says:
Yes I too have all the Wilbur Smith books and disappointed with the way it has been written. much to much violence and far to graphic, I think Wilbur has lost the plot.
I have always loved his books, this is far to graphic, this being so has spoiled what would be a very good story.

Posted on 30 Oct 2013 17:38:20 GMT
The van loaded with concrete blocks, it was clearly stated that the pallets were on rollers.

Posted on 30 Oct 2013 18:22:45 GMT
I too have followed W Smith and have read all his books, some more then once. I have always liked his style and inclusion, particularly in his african sagas the reference to real events and characters. I was somewhat dissapointed by his Eygyptian episode which was somewhat umbelievable unlike his previous books. I have never taken much note of comments but like most avid Wilbur Smith folowers I know what I like and enjoy about the authors books. Clearly this one doesnt hit the mark and for the first time on others comments I will not be purchasing.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2013 06:55:21 GMT
On rollers or not, one man cannot move pallets of concrete blocks from the back of a moving van. I have had years in transport so know this from experience.

Posted on 9 Nov 2013 22:48:25 GMT
A. K. Figiel says:
Ditto to having read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Wilbur Smith's previous novels, and to having found this one disappointing. The plot, scenery and characters lacked the author's usual depth and overall it seemed to be one long saga of gruesome sex and violence. A good read, but not at the engrossment level I have come to anticipate.

Posted on 23 Nov 2013 17:04:15 GMT
Vicious Circle
I quite agree with truckdriver4roads comment.I also have read & enjoyed all of Wilbur Smith books & awaited this.The descriptions of a sexual & depraved nature are beyond the pale.I am no prude but this went too far.I had great difficulty finishing this book,whereas normally I can't put his books down.He needs to go back to his African root stories "The Courtneys etc"
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