By Wilbur Smith
Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312567248, 480pp.
Publication Date: May 12, 2009
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.
“Best historical novelist: I say Wilbur Smith.” —Stephen King
“Smith is a master.” —Publishers Weekly
“One of the world’s most popular adventure writers.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Smith is a captivating storyteller.” —The Orlando Sentinel
“A rare author who wields a razor-sharp sword of craftsmanship.” —Tulsa World
“Wilbur Smith is one of those benchmarks against whom others are compared” —The Times (UK)
“No one does adventure quite like Smith.” —Daily Mirror (UK)
“ ‘A thundering good’ read is virtually the only way of describing Wilbur Smith’s books” —The Irish Times
“The world’s leading adventure writer.” —The Daily Express (UK)
The highly popular historical novelist returns with another guaranteed best-seller. In the early 1900s, Second Lieutenant Leon Courtney decides to hang up his military career after a near-fatal mission in British East Africa (and a subsequent court-martial proceeding instigated by a vindictive superior office). He takes up big-game hunting, but that's only his cover: in reality, he is working as a spy, gathering intelligence for his uncle Penrod Ballantyne. Leon's target is Count Otto Von Meerbach, a German weapons manufacturer (the novel is set only a handful of years before World War I), but Leon doesn't count on falling in love with the target's seductive mistress, Eva. Can Leon foil Von Meerbach's plot to foment an African rebellion and, at the same time, protect the beautiful Eva? There is a reason Smith is a hugely popular writer of historical novels: his remarkable talent for re-creating historical periods and crafting characters we care about is virtually unmatched in the genre