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A Falcon Flies
 
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Wilbur Smith
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A Falcon Flies (Ballantyne #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  2,349 ratings  ·  62 reviews
the first book of the Ballantyne series, this novel tells the story of one family's conquest of the untamed lands of Africa. Searching for the father they barely remember, Zouga and Dr. Robyn Ballantyne board Mungo St. John's clipper and head for Africa. Long before they reach Africa, a love-hate relationship develops and fate takes control. Available in September.
Audio, 0 pages
Published December 31st 1998 by BBC Audiobooks (first published 1980)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Graham
Another splendid read from this author. I'm going through all of Smith's books in chronological order, and have reached up to 1980. All of his previous books were stand-alone thrillers, mostly set in the modern day, so I was looking forward to something a little wider reaching with this one.

I got it. A FALCON FLIES is an epic read, an adventure story charting the events that befall the Ballantyne siblings as they penetrate the Zambezi river and the African interior. Smith throws a little of ever
...more
Laura
Just arrived from Japan through BM.

An enjoyable reading after has read too many "serious" books.

This is the first book of the series The Ballantyne Novels describing the first Rhodesia historical facts when slavery was still taking place to North and South America. Every slave was sold by 20 dollars and these ships are able to transport thousands of them in very inhumane conditions.

A very touching moment can be described when Robyn Ballantyne find his father debilitated by the disease and being
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John
This was the second Ballantyne novel I read, although its first in the series. It steps back several generations to trace the originations of the Ballantyne family's fascination with Africa. Captain Mungo St. John, who is a rapscallion you want to love, despite his unsavory profession as a slaver. Britain's fight against slavery, while the recently independent United States is left to slave unmolested due to treaty. Great moments of naval action. Robyn Ballantyne's place as a strong female chara ...more
Rishi Prakash
Wilbur Addison Smith is the best known author on stories based in Africa. All his books are based on some country of the mystic African continent! It has lot to do with his birth place which is Zambia also in Africa! This book is based on the slave trade which was flourishing in 18th century in entire Africa and I must say that it has been researched really well. I can definitely connect with his writing after spending 2 years in Africa...a real good read.
Weylin
I tried this book out because I heard it was good historical fiction. At about 100 hundred pages in, one of the main characters attempts to murder a man......only to end up sleeping with him because male magnetism is more than she can resist. SERIOUSLY?! Who thinks of this crap? After this happened in the book, I couldn't bring myself to read more.
Seracer2003
In another Smith serious that follows the "Ballantyne" Family... They go to Africa... and they start a life trying to make money from diamonds/gold... by exploiting the locals... but it's pretty historical (though fictional) it includes Cecil Rhodes the man(as in Rhodesia)... The whole series is good... i have one more to read in the series...
Stuart
Really enjoyed getting back to 19th Century Africa with the first of the Ballantyne novels. A mixture of hunting elephants (again), missionary work, the slave trade, imperial ambition and passionate affairs (by the female missionary no less). Looking forward to reading on from the various story lines established in part one!
Robert
interesting history of the slave trade between africa and america, and the efforts of the european countries, especially the british, to end the slave trade.
Katie Grainger
This is a great beginning to the Ballantyne Series, action packed with some really interesting characters introduced.
Karina
Didn't like the ending, but since it is by Wilbur smith, it was of course, as usual, amazing
LMW
WTF! I have read other stuff from this author. 'River Gods' was great, the 'Seventh Scroll' was good, the other two books in that series was whack-a-doo! I had read a later book in this series that was not too bad, and thought I should start at the beginning.

Started out OK, then suddenly turned into a cheap romance novel! One star is reserved for books I simply could not finish! This author shows moments of brilliance, and is not a bad writer, but is inconsistent. When I read historical fiction
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Kimberley
Not one of my favourites, but still pretty good.
Amy
Really paints a picture
Heather Tisdale
Wonderfully interesting.
Barbara ★
I love Wilbur Smith and have read many of his books including Men of Men (book 2) of the Ballantyne Family series which I greatly enjoyed (it follows Zouga many years down the road.) Unfortunately, this book, the first in the Ballantyne Family series is just so-so. I greatly disliked the God-fearing (but only when she wants to be) heroine, Robyn and sometimes liked and sometimes disliked her brother Zouga who was only after riches (gold and ivory) regardless of his claims.

Robyn and Zouga are ret
...more
Cathy (cathepsut)
Wilbur Smith is like an old friend. I have read so many of his books, I know what to expect: Good looking, hunky heroes, wilfull and good-looking women that get what they want. Which is usually not the good-looking hero, because he is mean. But hey, in the end it turns out he is not so mean after all and they live happily ever after - starting an Empire or perhaps a gaming reserve or that diamond business... There is some adventuring going on as well. At least one of the main characters goes nat ...more
Luckngrace
At 704 pages, I still was sad when it ended. From the astounding descriptions of nature, landscape and Africa's wild 1860's continent, I learned all about the slave trade; that hundreds of thousands of natives were enslaved by warring tribes to the foreign devils who packed them like sardines, sometimes without adequate food or water, to face long sea voyages. Only a small percentages survived the passage. Natives tattooed their bodies, put ugly bones through their daughters' noses, multiple rin ...more
Bigsna
Actually this would be a 2.5 starrer for me.

I had heard a lot about Wilbur Smith, many had recommended the author and others were shocked to know that I hadn't read any yet - but may I say, that after reading this 700 page first book of the Ballantyne series, I may well be done with Wilbur Smiths for good.

While the story is full of adventure and exotic description carrying you to the far away African countryside of the early 19th century - I think for me what didnt work was the length and the
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Tracy Terry
Used as I am to having a love/hate relationship with this authors work even I was surprised to find myself having such very mixed feelings about A Falcon Flies.

An epic story of siblings, Robyn and (Morris) Zouga's, search for their missionary father in 1800's Africa, this is a story of slavery, hunting and adventure on (and off) the high seas.

Part one in what turns out to be a series of four novels, this occasionally felt as if it was two books combined into one - the more adventurous 'swash and
...more
Naomi
A wonderful descriptive book about Africa from its premier author. The only reason I didn't give it a 4 star is because I am not particularly fond of the writing concerning the killing of the animals. Robyn Ballantyne and her brother Zouga in 1860 go to Africa to locate their missionary father who has been missing a long time. They eventually end up going their separate ways as they don't agree on what is really important in their hunt. This adventure is left with a lead in to the next book.
Dee Dubin
A re-read of a well written historical novel on the English and others coming to Africa and doing their plundering and missionary work. We were visiting the same areas - Cape Town, Rhodesia which became Zimbabwe - and stopping at Zimbabwe ruins which is a central focus of this book in Wilbur Smith's series on Africa. Did make some of the landscapes sing to me.
Séverine
Un excellent roman d'aventure historique, en plein coeur de l'Afrique sauvage du XIXème siècle et sur les mers qui l'entourent.

Des histoires de négriers, de femmes en détresse, de bons et de méchants, de chasse au trésor, ... On a envie de tourner les pages pour connaître la suite et Wilbur Smith sait tellement bien nous tenir en haleine !
Nahuel
Es un típico libro de Wilbur Smith, sin embargo a diferencia de muchos otros que he leído este libro tarda muchísimo en volverse interesante. Recién a mitad del libro comienza a ser interesante y con mas "acción o aventura". Un libro muy largo para lo que ofrece, si bien las descripciones y la narración es muy buena y propia de Wilbur Smith, queda la sensación de que al libro algo le falta y le sobran muchas páginas.
Los dos protagonistas Robyn y Zouga, son muy dispares y si bien está bien llevad
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Sean
nice book ...I love wilburs adventures and when I want to leave and go on holiday somewhere...I get his books because then all I need to do is sit in a chair and he takes me there
Roar
Not sure I will finish this. Wonder how the author can be so famous. If this is typical for Wilbur Smith, I won't try any other of his books.

I didn't finish it.
Kelly
Action scenes in this Wilbur Smith are some of the most exciting that I have read in his books. The sibling stress is some times stretched and does not read true. The description of the slaver ship conditions are heart retching. Can't wait to go to the next one in this series.
Angelyn Schmid
"This was vibrant manhood, and she had been struck with sudden insight as to the original sin of Eve, the serpent and the apples, here offered again, and she had gasped aloud. He had heard her and stepped from under the thundering jet of water, and flicked the hair from his eyes. He saw her standing near, unable to move or tear her eyes away, and he smiled that lazy, taunting smile, making no move to cover himself, and the water still streaming down his body and sparkling like diamond chips on h ...more
Teresa Ball
My first Wilbur Smith novel. I had heard so many good things about his books over the years, I thought to give this a try. I was utterly disappointed. The heroine is too easily swayed by handsome men, and her character is not as well-developed as her elephant-hunting, adventure-seeking brother. This book highlights all the arrogance of the colonists and the white man of that era. I am not compelled to pick up the second book in this series.
Patricia
Jul 08, 2012 Patricia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves historical fiction
Recommended to Patricia by: internet
Excellent historical novel that starts the Ballantyne saga. Set at the time after England has banned the slave trade but the United States has not and the stress put on the rules of the sea because of the diplomatic situation. The world is waiting to see if Abraham Lincoln will be elected and how that will effect this fortune maker around the workd. In the meantime we see the real consequences and the toll this takes on the humanity of Africa, through the eyes of a brother and sister with two ve ...more
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Wilbur Smith 1 3 Jan 07, 2015 03:37PM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Ballantyne (5 books)
  • Men of Men (The Ballantyne Novels, #2)
  • The Angels Weep (The Ballantyne Novels, #3)
  • The Leopard Hunts in Darkness (The Ballantyne Novels, #4)
  • The Triumph of the Sun
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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