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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 9 July 2004
the original in this trio of books, river god, without a doubt makes my favourite read in the history of my favourite reads. Part 2 , the seventh scroll - flashing forward a few millennia also was fantastic (maybe even top 10). Warlock, going back to ancient Egypt, should have followed in the same success... however as strong as it was, it failed to meet the high bar of its predecessors. I would put it down to the formula being changed. Where as it needed a fresh approach & a new concept to make it a novel in its own rights, I am not entirely convinced that this was the recipe for success. the formula in question is the introduction of magic / wizardry / sorcerous powers / the force (?!). The book is set a few decades after the 1st novel (overlook the fact that taita is probably outlived ancient Egyptian life expectancy many times over!). Queen Lostris is dead, her bloodline is in danger of ending, new powers are emerging in the political arena, and Taita, well taita the hero from river god has left the house of lostris and now is a hermit in the wilderness, studying, praying and doing all things mystical to become a warlock. note the similarities with a character from a well loved series of films? cough! old Ben kenobi, star wars cough! further case study comparisons include a not-so-unique escape from an enemy palace within the novel. "these aren't the droids your looking for..."
Despite being the title character, taita surprisingly takes more of a back seat role. for this I was glad - as a favourite character in river god - his warlocky abilities in this book didn't grip me or allow me to 'believe' in the tale as much. I preferred the action to remain on the 'down to earth' characters. saying that, however, it was refreshing to have taita's presence, as with him, you kinda knew things couldn't go too wrong - especially with those powers...
A big change from river god - is the switch from 1st person narrative to 3rd person. I think I prefer the former option - it adds a lot more personality and opportunity for emotive description. with the tale following many different stories & characters it would have been hard to have a single narrator. Again, a change in the formula from original, possibly taking some of the charm away. However the characterisation, storylines and wilbur's trademark 'romance' remain strong and make up for some of the losses as such. to touch upon the romance, some would describe as too in-your-face and over powering. I disagree. I will say that the encounters seemingly come out of nowhere, are very graphic (in quite a tasteful way), and then disappear just as fast. a number of times whilst reading (as a self-confessed skim reader), I would end a page and question 'did I just read that?' and would have to flick back and re-read just to make sure. its good to be shocked now and again. There are some great character cameos from 1st novel - which I loved even if they were brief. I soon forgot their lack of presence outside the first few chapters as the story gripped me again in true wilbur smith style.
I'm glad I read it, I think the Egyptian series has now brought itself to a well deserved end. For those devotee river god fans - I think its unavoidable to get another taste of taita's tales - although beware, it is a completely different concept / formula from that of #1. still a 'gripper' and a 'hard-to-put-downer' but definitely not river god returns. Any one picking this book up afresh, would suggest getting the background flavour and taste for the series by reading river god & seventh scroll first.
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on 4 April 2001
Once again the indomitable Wilbur Smith captivates both old and new readers. Even those unfamiliar with River God will find this adventure captivating. I read it in two days, and I'm not normally a fast reader. All the classic elements for an adventure are here, and Smith makes the most of them, thrilling with the action, building up the tension and weaving plots within plots. If the character of Taita was enigmatic before, now he is the very essence of mystery, and the reader can never take anything for granted. Just when you think you know what's going to happen - bamm! - the plot twists like the cobra that is symbolic to the characters. With every turn of the page a new puzzle, who killed Pharaoh and why? Can the House of Lostris possibly survive against seemingly overwhelming odds? Of course the reader knows it will all turn out right in the end, but not before a great deal of pain and suffering all around (not to mention murder, war, love and sex). Whether a fan of Smith, of adventure, or just a passing interest in Egypt, Warlock is sure to have you hooked.
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on 2 April 2001
Smith has certainly done it again with this fast paced ancient Egyptian thriller. Impossible to put down from the first page to the last, it carries you off to another world, another time altogether. The descriptions are so vivid you could swear you had seen everything he describes with your own eyes, and the storyline is, as always, utterly engrossing. His obvious love of ancient Egypt and his vast knowledge of the subject give the story such a realistic tone that you want to believe every word he has written to be the truth. A master story teller indeed, telling another riveting tale. Definately one to buy to read again and again and again.
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on 7 June 2001
Having read River God, and The seventh scroll, this story continues the Egyptian theme, but is slotted between the two. The seventh scroll was a fantastic read to follow on from River God, and a masterly stroke by Mr Smith. Warlock continues on from River god and tells the story of Taita guardian and protector over the Pharo's child, and tells the story of his rise to maturity and the struggles after his birthright is usurped by pretenders to the double crown of Egypt. A must for wilbur smith fans. but I would reccomend that you read river god first before warlock as there are many references in warlock to the first book.
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on 19 July 2001
I stop reading Smith when he stepped out of old Africa and into near modern time, his writing was the same but to me the books lost their charm. Now he is back where his writing works magic. I read this book on the train trip to work and home, it's amazing how the 3/4 hour trips seem like minutes. However it is annoying that the most interesting part always seem to come up as the journey ends, nearly missed my stop on a number of occasions !!
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on 14 January 2008
After the somewhat disappointing The Seventh Scroll, I feared the series is deteriorating. Fortunately, Warlock is no disappointment. In fact, in some aspects it's even better than River God! I know is hard to believe, but its true.

Wilbur Smith is a master story-teller, and continues a great epic in superb fashion with his exquisite prose, fascinating characters and captivating story. It is masterfully written and the story's unfolding will surprise the most readers with its twists and turns. It will keep you hooked from start to finish.

It will make to laugh, it will make you cry, it will give you goose-bumps, it will leave you gaping with amazement... Read this book!
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on 28 April 2001
Oh, dear, Dick Francis syndrome! Where an accomplished writer of tautly-plotted thrillers succumbs in old(er) age to waffle and syrup. River God was an immensely exciting and moving book, one in which details of Egyptian life, culture, science never intruded into the plot but just made it more interesting. Big mistake on Smith's part to introduce 'magic powers' into the world he's created- why? It just makes the book so much less believable. Suspension of disbelief is a wonderful thing, but you can only do so much! Coming from anyone else, this would have been maybe 3-4 stars, but as a sequel to 'River God' it pales in comparison.
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on 23 November 2016
Love Warlock and bought a second copy as Wilbur Smith signed my first copy so I dont touch that one now.

One of the first 'adult non picture/mag' books I read when I was 13 and he started me on a life time of great reads :-D
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on 1 August 2004
I like to call this a 'Sequal' to 'River God'. Of course, you don't HAVE to read the latter before this, but both are incredibly gripping, and page-turning. Make sure you haven't got anything else to do when you start reading this, because you won't want to stop! Again, excallent if you love Ancient Egypt. The story gets going more or less straight away and its action all the way through!
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on 2 January 2002
I used to like the Wilbur Smith novels having started with his series on the Courtenays but recently his books seem to have been written by computer. This is the third book in his Egyptian series and I hope it will be the last.The plot is the usual Smith one - a vulnerable character is lifted to the heights of greatness by he love of a good woman aided by an allseeing ,all wise older man with uncanny powers. At one time I found it hard to believe the characters were human. The men bark orders , growl commands and shriek with rage/ecstasy. The men are always ramopant and the women compliant. This is soft porn out of Mills and Boon. I struggled through 100 pages before I gave up, thankfully. Wilbur can do better and must do better.
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