I don’t know how many of my contemporaries have read Wilbur Smith, but I believe, he is one of the competent writers of our times. I’ve never been a die-hard fan of Smith, but managed to read only two of his books – barring the one I’d just finished reading. That makes it three.
When I first read ‘When the Lion Feeds’, I found it quite exciting with vivid descriptions and a rich plot. Later, I found another of his novel ‘River God’ of the Egyptian series quite compelling. I must say he impressed both times. The recent book which I read – ‘Those in Peril’ was in parts engaging. It is not based on any of the dynasties that he has written about in the past. Rather it’s about the Somali pirates.
The story runs like this: “Hazel Bannock, is a rich independent widow whose private yacht is hijacked by pirates and her daughter held for ransom. When legal means of recovering her daughter prove fruitless, she turns to the ex-military head of her private security, Hector Cross, an intelligent strong willed man of action, who will take actions that governments could not and executes the mission to rescue.”
There are plenty of twists and turns – even though an overall good read it has some strong racism towards Somalis. They were typically the ‘bad guys’ who get almost everything wrong and have to perish and the ‘good guys’ are good at everything.
It is well written, at times brutal. In between I was kind of lost. I skipped a couple of pages which I found pretty dragging. However, there was also some good descriptions of Africa and a bit on relationships – which made sense.
Those having an interest in action thriller should go for it. The book failed to completely satisfy my appetite and the “knight in the shining armour” act was a little too unreasonable, may be, given my age.
But this morning as I was having a discussion with a friend on the book, he told me ‘Those in Peril’ will be adapted to a movie soon starring Tom Hanks. Don’t know how true… but will look forward. I would want to read more of Smith. May be I’ll go back to the Egyptian series.