Assegai (Courtney Family Adventures)
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Wilbur Smith has won acclaim worldwide as the master of the historical novel. Now, in Assegai he takes readers on an unforgettable African adventure set against the gathering clouds of war.
It is 1913 and Leon Courtney, an ex-soldier turned professional hunter in British East Africa, guides the rich and powerful from America and Europe on big-game safaris. Leon had never sought fame, but an expedition alongside U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt has made him one of the most sought-after hunters on the continent. Soon, he finds that with celebrity comes not just wealth―but also danger.
Leon is recruited by his uncle Penrod Ballantyne, commander of the British forces in East Africa, to gather information on one of his clients: Count Otto von Meerbach, a German industrialist whose company builds aircraft and vehicles for the Kaiser's burgeoning army. While spying, Leon falls desperately in love with von Meerbach's beautiful and enigmatic mistress, Eva von Wellberg.
On the eve of the World War, Leon stumbles on a plot by Count von Meerbach that could wipe out the British forces in Africa. He finds himself left alone to frustrate von Meerbach's plan, and in grave peril as he learns more about the enigmatic Eva.
Set amidst the tensions that will spark a war across continents, Assegai delivers the fast-paced action and vivid history that has made Wilbur Smith an internationally bestselling author.
over the grassy dale. The rotting carcasses of the cattle lay in full view, bellies ballooned with gas. Some had been partially devoured, but others seemed untouched. Now the single file of warriors changed formation. As they reached a predetermined spot, each morani turned in the opposite direction to the man in front of him. Like a chorus line of well-choreographed dancers, the single file split into two. The twin lines opened to form a noose that would encircle the grassy hollow. Then, at a
fetch the doctor. We already owed him more than twenty pounds but Dr Symmonds never refused to come when Curly needed him. When he and I got back to the room in which we lived, we found that Curly had killed himself with his old shotgun. Many times before I had tried to sell that gun to buy food, but he would never part with it. Only as I stood beside his headless corpse did I realize why he had been so stubborn about keeping it. That marvellous brain of his was splattered all over the wall
Butterfly was free and clear. Leon brought her around and climbed back into the position above and behind the Assegai, keeping in her blind spot. The burst of tracer from the Maxim machine-gun had come too close. He would not make that mistake again. He watched smoke billow from the airship’s rear engines. The netting and heavy drag lines were so deeply tangled in the propeller bosses and other moving parts that both had seized up and cut out. The Assegai was no longer responding to her helm.
pistol and go on alone.’ ‘Did you plan to kill yourself because you were crippled and you did not want the Nandi to catch and drown you as they had done to the district commissioner and his wife?’ ‘I would have killed myself rather than die the Nandi way, but not before I had taken a few of the jackals with me,’ Manyoro agreed. ‘Your officer refused to leave you?’ ‘He wanted to carry me on his back to the railway line. I told him it was four days’ march through Nandi tribal lands and that we
and chewed with gusto. ‘And Serbia will surely want to wade into Austria. How about another little war? Talking of which, the one in Turkey rumbles on. The Turks have thrown the Bulgarians back from the gates of Constantinople, but it cost them twenty thousand casualties . . .’ He devoured the rest of the marrow and washed it down with a glass of Margaux. While he waited for Malonzi to serve the hot-pot he went on, ‘Now, closer to home you have a large accumulation of mail, which includes a