I have devoured every word of the Courtney novels and was pleased to see that this book would look at the early roots of the family. Smith writes better about the past than he does the present and this is no exception. Never dull and always asking you to turn to the next page, Birds Of Prey is full of vintage Smith: violence, conflict, sex and rich detail. Whilst Smith's characters are always sterotypes we can relate to them and,in many cases,envy them. I can't wait to see how this series of Courtney adventures joins up with his earlier novels to from a 400 year history of the Courtney family.