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I’m ashamed to admit I rather enjoyed this. It’s typical Wilbur Smith: a ripping adventure yarn peppered with vicious racial stereotypes and a few superclean non-white characters thrown in to sweeten the non-political correctness. There’s even an Irish character called Paddy who says “Begorrah”.
Don’t listen if you’re vaguely sympathetic to sharia law because in one judicial scene (not necessary to the plot) Smith paints an Islamic society in the blackest shades possible, followed by a vaguely apologetic “the religion’s not all bad” bit of dialogue from its central character.
Also don’t listen to this if you’re appreciative of good dialogue. The interactions between the characters are fine when the plot’s steaming along, but are embarrassing during the more reflective moments, particularly where any of the speakers are female.
It’s astounding to think that Smith has ever met a woman other than his mum. The female characters are either ball-busting Alphas, brats or submissives. Come to think of it, these are tried-and-tested templates he’s stuck to before, particularly in the Courtney series.
There is one aspect of this reading which is bordering on the hysterical, and that’s the narration. Considering the macho nature of Wilbur Smith’s work, it’s somewhat disconcerting to have a gruff-voiced guy read the naughty bits, in all their squishy details. Imagine listening to your grandad reading a Jackie Collins novel out loud at bedtime – it’s that icky.
Best bits: evil pirates contemplating the tortures they’re going to inflict; inventive manifestations of nemesis from the goodies and the baddies; home-made daggers; sharks.
Worst bits: Mysterious things hiding in glass jars; rubbery arms; being a gay incidental character in a small town in Somalia; talkie bits.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I used to enjoy Wilbur Smith - some years ago. This is really awful. Shallow stereo-typed characters, cringe worthy sex, unnecessary violence - cr*p story. The narrator does a good job with what he's got - but you can'y make a silk purse out of a sow's ear - and this really is a sow's ear.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The first half of this book showed so much promise with excellent narration and great story. However, the second half was just violence for the sake of violence. Some people who like blood curdling violence will like this book. For me the only thing that kept me listening was the narrator he was outstanding giving each charater their own believable voice.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I generally love Wilbur Smith. High adventure, excitement, and action.
This book is far from Wilbur's usual standards. It's boring, predictable, and at times, so inane it's laughable.
The start showed promise, and then it degenerated into this stupid farce of a story. I couldn't wait for it to end. The characters are idiotic, the dialogue is atrocious. The whole book stinks.
I'm annoyed I wasted my time and money on this. Not happy with you Wilbur Smith. You should have burned his manuscript.
The worst book I've downloaded at audible.com
2 of 2 people found this review helpful