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

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  3,056 Ratings  ·  80 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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Jan 03, 2013 Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 04, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
In his other multi-novel series, Smith continues to use Africa as his central backdrop. The year is 1860 and slave trading remains a key form of commerce amongst Europeans and those in the Americas. After missionary Fuller Ballantyne has gone missing on the African sub-continent, his two children join a clipper out of England to find him. Robyn Ballantyne is a missionary like her father, but also has a medical background, both areas of education she wishes to bring to the African people. Her bro ...more
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
Sep 27, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 15, 2015 LMW rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rishi Prakash
Sep 28, 2011 Rishi Prakash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 08, 2014 Weylin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldnt-finish
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.
Jan 03, 2008 Seracer2003 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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...
May 16, 2007 Stuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jul 08, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Not one of my favourites, but still pretty good.
Heather Tisdale
Mar 25, 2009 Heather Tisdale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully interesting.
Dec 19, 2007 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really paints a picture
Mar 27, 2010 Karina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't like the ending, but since it is by Wilbur smith, it was of course, as usual, amazing
Madison Hardy
Jan 31, 2017 Madison Hardy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was super interesting and was a hard read. It was very intriguing and required critical thinking and reading skills. A Falcon Flies is a Wilbur Smith classic. Something I loved about this book is it can be read on it's own, or it can be read with the other books in the Ballantyne series. This story has a lot of depth and certainly requires a reader's full attention. I really loved that Robyn, a woman, was a strong heroine and very predominant in the book. I think it is notable because ...more
Jan 30, 2017 Isalts rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read but am really over the elephant hunts.
Way too much detail on something I find repugnant.
Sep 23, 2015 Fede rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know that when I'm feeling sad just few authors can make me feel good again. Wilbur Smith is one of them.

A Falcon Flies takes the reader in a long journey into the hear of Africa, side by side with its population, its animals, its landscape. It was intense, really: after reading this, one could easily think that Africa has a soul and a mind of his own, that it will not let you go through its territories unless it lets you do that. I have to say that W. Smith has a great role in making this pos
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
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
Tracy Terry
Nov 16, 2012 Tracy Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 04, 2013 Bigsna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 21, 2014 Nahuel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Ho letto moltissimi romanzi di Wilbur, è uno dei miei autori preferiti e amo profondamente la saga dei Courtney. Sean Courtney è da sempre uno dei miei personaggi preferiti tra le centinaia di romanzi che ho letto nella mia vita.
Ma questo primo capitolo della saga dei Ballantyne l'ho trovato di una noia mortale.
Per la prima volta ho fatto fatica a terminare un suo romanzo. Di solito quando mi imbarco in una nuova avventura con Wilbur, non riesco a staccarmi dalle sue parole, dai suoi personaggi,
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
Feb 02, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1860’s Africa and slaving. Story of Robyn and Zouga Ballantyne, brother and sister, on a quest to find their father, a harsh missionary driven into deepest Africa by revengeful white slavers. Sexual and intellectual tension arises when prim Robyn meets the dashing Mungo St. John, captain of a slaver. Thoroughly enjoyed the read, although Robyn was an annoying personality in her self-righteousness. A twist or two rounded out the story. Felt as though it was written by a female writer of torrid ro ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  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 (Courtney, #12)

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