Twenty-year-old Hal Courtney is already captain of his own ship, the Golden Bough. Accompanied by Aboli, his faithful teacher and former slave, Hal has witnessed the horrific death of his father at the hands of his Dutch enemies and has lived through numerous sea battles, imprisonment, torture, and incredible hardship. England and the Netherlands, at war for years, have now negotiated a tenuous truce. As Courtney travels along the coast of East Africa, this novel of the 17th century combines piracy, seduction, and betrayal to create a fast-paced adventure.
As the novel begins, Hal’s mortal enemy, Angus Cochrane, the Earl of Cumbrae
(nicknamed the Buzzard), is rescued by a young boy scavenging for plunder from a horrific shipwreck. After a fierce and deadly battle at sea with Courtney, “His injuries were so severe that he should not be alive at all.” (p. 4) The Buzzard is horribly disfigured by fire and has lost an arm
and an eye, as well as his manhood. He eventually ends up in the court of Maharajah Sadiq Khan Jahan, who also wants also revenge on young Hal Courtney. In a strange alliance with the English Consul to the Sultanate of Zanzibar, William Grey, the Buzzard plans his ultimate revenge on Hal for destroying his body--and his life.
Meanwhile, Hal has reunited with his beloved Judith Nazet, a warrior for the child
emperor of Ethiopia. The couple plans to return to England to start a new life and to raise the child that they are expecting. On their travels, they encounter allies such as the intrepid Dutch captain and villains such as the dastardly William Pett, who secretly plots to kill both Hal and the pregnant Judith.
In Golden Lion, Wilbur Smith once again takes readers to 17th-century Africa as he did in his previous Courtney novels. His unique mixture of fascinating historical detail and dynamic characterization creates a fast-paced and thrilling narrative. The descriptions of sea battles and the details of life in Zanzibar and the gold fields of central Africa are intriguing. Readers will gain insight into life at sea on the warship the
Golden Bough, the complicated political machinations of emperors and maharajahs,
and the realities of slavery.
Born in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) in Central Africa, Wilbur Smith was raised on his father’s 25,000 acre ranch, where he learned to hunt and raise cattle. His first novel,
When the Lion Feeds, was published in 1964. It began Smith’s famous Courtney series. Since then, he has published over thirty novels. Those who are familiar with Wilbur Smith’s Courtney novels will be thrilled by this new addition to the series, and first-time
readers will be sure to start looking for the previous novels in this series.