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on 6 November 2003
I was lucky enough to buy a box set of 8 novels by Wilbur Smith and have thoroughly enjoyed 6 I have read so far. Though this one is undoubtably the best.
The characters have been superbly described, being very strong and believable, even if some of the scenes do stretch the imagination. However, if you are willing just to enjoy the scenes that are described then this book is one you won't be able to put down.
As I got near the end I found myself trying to imagine the different ways this book would end, and was still surprised as I turned the last few pages.
In short this is a must read!!! Totally unputdownable!!!
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on 7 July 2000
No one writes big musulcar fiction like Wilbur Smith and this has always been one of my favourite non "Courtney" books. It's a pretty straight forward adventure novel, packed with all the excitement and derring do you could hope for. However it's Smith's skill as a writer that raises this above the works of most other adventure writers, his magical turn of phrase brings every scene to life and his characters have a life depth that is rare in this type of book and, even though you know the hero will win out, you find yourself careing about him. The climax is based on as unlikely a set of coincidental circumstances as it's possible to imagine but Smith keeps the pace and exceitment high and as long as you don't think too deeply about what is happening you'll experience the ride of a lifetime.
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Oh dear. I seem to be very much in a minority here, but I really hated this novel (and I never say that lightly), although (and here I must be honest) I failed to finish it. It begins with seemingly endless descriptions of the minutiae of ships and shipping, of storms and tornados, and much of this was quite hard to follow if you aren't acquainted with the subject (I'm not). And the writing...Cliche followed upon cliche, and our hero never looked at his "watch", but always at his "Rolex Oyster"; sometimes even his "Rolex diamond Oyster". This watch was mentioned in these terms eight times in all. The love interest was obvious from the outset, as our (very handsome) hero courted his (staggeringly beautiful) girl.

I usually enjoy Wilbur Smith; not so much for the quality of his writing, but because at his best he writes a thoroughly gripping yarn. But I was very disappointed in this one. Maybe it serves me right for reading one of his earlier works (although I enjoyed his Balantyne and Courteney novels), but I shall think twice before tackling his books again.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2006
Another typically good Wilbur Smith story.

This one is set in the mid 60s and focuses on the hero Nicholas Berg and his trip from 40 year old hasbeen to great success once more. It all starts with him taking on the captaincy of one of the two ships (the bulk of the novel is set at sea) his struggling firm owns to try and rediscover his vitality. And it works.

Needless to say this is gripping adventure at it's best all the way through and is a stand-alone novel so can be read without reading any of Wilbur Smith's other material.
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on 12 May 2013
When I was about 14 which was a long time ago I had a Wilbur Smith and I remember really enjoying Hungry as the Sea. So, coming across it on my Kindle one evening, I decided I would rediscover it. Well how I must have changed over the years because this was a painful read, a MIlls and Boon for men. Cringeworthy cliches abound around the chisel jawed protagonist, even more chisel jawed antagonist and a beautiful ex wife who ' dulls even the most perfect supermodels when she enters the room'. There is some action amidst the guff of course which is pretty well done if you like sea faring books. Overall though I am sorry to say this stuff just can't pull its weight anymore, it's a novel of its time I guess and now that time has well and truly gone. I am sorry Wilbur but I won't be reading any more of your books again - this one almost finished me off.
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on 13 April 2015
I have read all wilbur smith books over the years and this is a move away from his usual African novels. All his novels are five star in my book but this was a sea story and its one of his best, I thoroughly enjoyed it and one of the very few book I have re read
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I read this many years ago and enjoyed it a lot so lately have decided to re-read some of his books. It is just as good a read as it was back then - perhaps the hero is a little too lucky with his near disastrous adventures but nonetheless it's a really good yarn and very well written - as are all his books. I'm going to start on one of his trilogies next now that I've remembered what a good writer he is
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on 6 December 1999
Well done Wilbur, great book. If you like adventure stories you will love this. From the harrowing high seas to the daunting claims courts: it describes the ups and downs of ocean liner salvage to a tee..........WELL DONE !!!!!!
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The hero of this story has been wronged in love and busienss and is at the bottom but owns his own salvage company. What follows is adventure, thrills, excitement, romance etc....all elements for a good story. Wilbur builds the story and the characters with care and craft and although in some ways the story is predicatable there are so many twists and turns to keep you turning the next page. Wibur Smith is one of the great story tellers and this is one good story and a real page turner. Recommended.
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on 27 January 2014
For me - an ex merchant seaman - this has a lot of elements that I like. The fact that all the characters have a built up description enhances the reading enjoyment. I just like the way Wilbur Smith writes though the best books are the Courtney series.

The plot unwinds smoothly and quickly making it hard to put the book down. Probably not his best book but still an enjoying read.
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