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The Sunbird

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  3,109 ratings  ·  92 reviews
I scrambled onto my knees, pushing the automatic rifle forward to cover one flank. In that instant they opened on us. The air around me was torn by the sound of a thousand bull whips, while the gunfire sounded like a stick dragged swiftly across a corrugated-iron fence.' A hazy aerial photograph and a sinister curse are the only clues Dr Ben Kazin has before he stumbles on ...more
Kindle Edition, 628 pages
Published (first published 1972)
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A hazy aerial photograph and a sinister curse – known only to the Africans – and Dr Benjamin Kazin stumbles on the archaeological discovery of a lifetime...

For nearly two thousand years, a brilliant and unknown ancient civilisation has remained buried in southern Africa. Now at last the red cliffs of
Botswana seem about to yield their secret.

Under the lavish patronage of his old friend and mentor Lauren Sturvesant, head of one of the richest companies in the world, Ben and his green-eyed assistan
Carl Timms
The first half is an interesting archeological boy's own romp and on its own would have been a 3/5. However it's the second half that raises this book to greatness. Ben Huy-Amon is a fantastic creation and the secret history of an empire that unfolds is do vivid detailed and ultimately heart-breaking that it made this book a classic in my eyes. It's themes mirror real life: the invasion of the White man and enslavement of the African indigenous tribes, but the twist in the tail and revenge that ...more
Mark Steven Thompson
Easily one of the best books I have ever read. Smith weaves a masterful tale of love, betrayal and adventure in this stand alone novel. This was the second of his books I tried after River God. I admit I was apprehensive, believing that nothing could surpass that amazing book but, while I wouldn't say this is better, I would say its on par.

Oh, I'll also add that I have read this book three times. I don't normally go back and re-read so let that tell you something if nothing else does.

One of the
Had I stopped at Part 1 I probably would have rated this one star. The story in Part 2 was much more compelling to me, and the characters and their motivations were much more interesting...I enjoyed understanding how what was found by the archaeologists in Part 1 came to be. I did not enjoy the prolonged hunting scenes and love scenes. Just a lot of overwrought bad writing there (and I don't enjoy hunting...:) ). Everything in Part 1 made sense in light of Part 2 except the actions of the Sally ...more
I've been reading Wilbur Smith's novels in chronological order, and I've now reached the mid 1970s. THE SUNBIRD marks the author's first attempt to do something different: this is actually two novels in one, linked via parallel themes and characters.

The first part of the book sees the author in familiar territory: his hero is a hunchbacked archaeologist and the story is his search for a lost Phoenician kingdom in the deserts of southern Africa. This part of the book is superb: it makes archaeolo
Clive Ousley
This was the second Wilbur Smith novel I read and still in my view his best. The two parallel stories thousands of year’s apart work perfectly. The characters are so well drawn you live with them well after finishing the novel. Dr. Ben Kazin was for the time this book was written such an unusual and striking character you willed him on for success in love and as an archaeologist, the same goes for his parallel character Huy in the second half of the novel.
With rereading I’ve worn out my hardcopy
Heather Tisdale
For book number 400 I had to make it a Wilbur. It's told from two different perspectives - from the point of view of those who once lived at the ancient site and those who discovered the site centuries later. I think I was more interested in Part II of the book than in the beginning. Although, there were moments in the beginning I loved. It's a typical Wilbur book, but it's set up more like The Angels Weep with the time difference between the two sections.
BTW...the end and Sally! Grrrr.... That
Rav3n Owl
This book took me 5 days to read. It's probably the longest a book has ever taken me and it was only 538 pages long.
Although the book was imaginative, well-written and had me wanting for more, I just couldn't get into it. Around 100 pages in I managed to find things that hooked me, but then the descriptions of others left me wanting.
This book has made me view society with a more cynical eye, however it also has reawakened the passion I have for archeology.
It had a few typos and grammatical mi
by Ax
Diviso in due

Diviso in due parti ben distinte, tra presente e passato, questo romanzo riserva gioie e dolori. Le prime , contrariamente al mio gusto per i romanzi storici, le ho trovate disseminate durante lo svolgimento della prima metà del libro, quella moderna, caratterizzata dalla conoscenza delle personalità dei protagonisti; a tratti toccante, per quanto riguarda le vicende di Ben l'archeologo nella sua ricerca della mitica "Città della Luna", regala punte di azione da destare l'interesse
Not my favorite Wilbur (Monsoon) but still plenty of action, adventure, and faraway places.
I'd very likely have given it a full five if Wretched Sally had died some sort of spectacular African death.
The first half was 5 stars the second half failed IMHO miserably!! 1 star
Dr. Ben Kazin, an archaeologist makes the discovery of a lifetime in Africa. An unknown civilization whose uncovering will bring him the recognition he wants. He is financed and supported by his lifelong friend Louren Sturvesant, one of the richest men in the world. Their efforts to bring the discovery to life are met with danger from terrorists and intrigue. There are two parts to the story, the last one explaining the life and death of the civilization. The book could have used more editing as ...more
Riki Strydom
Some of Wilbur Smiths older books tend to be hard to wrap your head around, this being one of them. From the start you get a sense that one of the main characters is “bad” in a sense, however the book never gets around to fully exploring that topic. For one this is essentially two stories in one. The first half if the book is set in the present where a search begins for a lost city with vast amounts of history and treasure. This story abruptly finishing with no substantial conclusion. Then direc ...more
It is not one of Smith's best novels. The first part was read easily, however the second one was a bit boring; too detailed descriptions of hunting scenes (I did not enjoy them at all) and the only reason I went till the end was my curiosity on how the city of Opet was destroyed. It is a good book in general terms, but not too good.
Stephen North
Passionate full-blooded adventure tale set in Africa! The story bounces between the modern era and the long lost past. I have read this book several times, and know that I will read it again. Wilbur Smith is a master of historical fiction, and as a native African, he knows his land well. Highly recommend this book!
I have read several of Wilbur Smith's books and have loved them all. This one is no different. It's really a two part tale but they are connected of course. I enjoyed both parts but really liked the second much better than the first. The first part tells the story of two finds making a discovery of a lost city most of their colleagues never believed existed. There is a love triangle here. The second part is the story of three people from that lost city. Love triangle of a sort here also. Smith r ...more
Javed Hayat
The second half of this book is one of the most engaging reading experience I have ever had. I would have awarded it 5 stars without any qualms had it not been for the largely boring, kinda irrelevant first half of the novel.

The first half of the novel is all about a grand archaelogical discovery made in the modern day Egypt, remains of an ancient city destroyed, and the second half of the novel takes us way back to ancient days of Egypt, explaining what really happened and the terror that befel
The is an entertaining book which deals with the Curse of the White Ghost. Dr. Benjamin Kazan, an archeologist, discovers a lost city that he has been searching for all his professional life. The belief has others in his field ridiculing his efforts but despite this he finds the lost city of Opet. Strangely parallel to his own life, the king of the city and his patron and good friend are remarkably alike in appearance. In addition, the king had a friend like Benjamin himself. That friend loved a ...more
The second half of this book is a fascinating, extremely well-written tale of adventure, love, betrayal, injustice and revenge. It makes persevering through the rather tedious first half well worth it. Wilbur Smith weaves his words in such a way that they paint a vividly detailed picture in your mind, and the story of Ben Huy-Amon and his city stays with you well after you have finished the book.
John Shillito
Always loved this book, had to repurchase as my original lost in a move. Brilliant blend of the now and a possible history, and the characters in each. Modern business and ancient rulers and African history.
Stephanie Binch
Another one of my favorites by Wilbur Smith. I think I have read this one twice now and every time i just like it more and more. I love learning about Africa through this author.

Nello standard dei romanzi di Smith: brutto, pur se di un infinitesimo migliore degli altri. Un protagonista che è nominalmente intelligentissimo, con un QI di 156, nei fatti si comporta come un ritardato; tutti i personaggi sono come al solito bellissimi; uno schiavo ambiguo che viene addestrato all'arte della guerra (cosa che ovviamente lui sfrutterà a proprio vantaggio); solito cattivo nero; solita amata meravigliosa e desiderabilissima; solito eroe self-made man; la sorte di Tanith non d
Mark Kennard
This book shows Wilbur at his best and in his prime.
Rick Brindle
This is easily my favourite Wilbur Smith book. The first part though, is nothing new for his readers, dealing with the hunchback arachaeologist, and the love triangle between his girlfriend and rich playboy friend/ benefactor. The usual political observations about southern Africa at that time are aired, and the reader is on common ground there. The second part is simply amazing though, creating a world of Carthaginan settlers in southern Africa, and he brings it to life amazingly. You wanted th ...more
Nadine Beech
you never want to put a Wilbur Smith down
meh. Not exactly a pageturner.
Wilburt Smith is a South African writer I have liked for many years. I read the seven books that followed the Courtney family saga a long time ago and fell in love with the writer. I don't like his later books as much though. This perticular one, is very unusual. It goes back and forth in time. Archeologists discover a tomb and find a person who seems to died there by accident. This will bring the reader back to the time when this person lived and how he came to be in that place.
I'm not entirely sure why I liked this book. There wasn't a single character that I really connected with, and many of them are rather irritating. However - I still really enjoyed it! Interesting and fast-paced story which never lost my interest. Maybe I just have a soft spot for Wilbur Smith, since 'River God' and 'The Seventh Scroll' are two of my favorite books - but I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Troy Soos
I might describe reading Wilbur Smith as a “guilty pleasure,” except for the fact that I’m a man and we never really feel guilty about our pleasures. Smith’s characters are often one-dimensional and never subtle. These are primarily adventure books, however, and Smith does keep the action going. “The Sunbird” isn’t one of his best (I prefer the historicals, such as “River God” and “Birds of Prey”), but it still provides some entertaining escapism.
Penney Nile
This is the only book by Wilbur Smith that I have read, but I keep reading it over and over because it is that good. the coordination between the worlds of Dr. Ben Kazin and Huy Ben Amon is fascinating, and the book has interested me in the history of Africa and the city of Cartharge, subjects which failed to catch my interest when they were taught in high school. The book is a wonderful and fascinating read, and it recommend it without reservation.
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Wilbur Smith is the bestselling author of many novels, each meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His bestselling Courtney series includes Assegai, The Sound of Thunder, Birds of Prey, Monsoon, and Blue Horizon. His other books include Those in Peril, River God, Warlock, The Seventh Scroll, and The Sunbird. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages and have so ...more
More about Wilbur Smith...
River God (Ancient Egypt, #1) The Seventh Scroll (Ancient Egypt, #2) Warlock: A Novel of Ancient Egypt (Ancient Egypt, #3) When the Lion Feeds (Courtney, #1) Monsoon (Courtney #10)

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