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Assegai (Courtney #13)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  3,700 Ratings  ·  239 Reviews

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-gam

Audio CD, 0 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Macmillan Audio (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30)
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Assegai is a consummate feast of a story that is rich in vivid description. The author takes the reader into British East Africa of a 100 years ago. The wildlife, the people, and landscapes all come to life as we follow Leon Courtney's adventures leading up to World War I. I listened to the audio book and Simon Vance does an outstanding job with this story.

Assegai references the spear used by the Maasai tribesmen of Nairobi. It has 3 foot long razor sharp metal blade attached to a hardwood shaft
Jun 27, 2009 Mrsku rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
WHAT is happening to Wilbur Smith?! Did he die and is someone, possibly his grandmother, writing on his behalf? Because this book was such a let down. Where are the complicated and heart wrenching story lines of his River God series, where's the excitement of Africa that was in his early Courtney books (i.e. Sean Courtney)?

As far as a recount of hunting wild animals in Africa go this book was ok but even then it wasn't so great. The characters were weak and unloveable, unhateable as well but the
Sep 22, 2010 Cody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was another strong effort by Smith. Compared to his other Courtney novels, however, it must be considered one of the less impressive books. While a reader can enjoy each of Smith's books individually, I recommend that they be read in correct chronological order
Tom Tabasco
Apr 04, 2016 Tom Tabasco rated it it was amazing
I had forgotten how much fun a Wilbur Smith book can be. He truly is a grand master of adventure writing and historical novels. So what if his mind is stuck in the 19th centuty and he is prone to wild hyperboles? His fiction has a very peculiar, inimitable voice, made of strong, simple traits, a fast, always-exciting pace, a rich prose, and a good amount of poetry - especially about African nature.

The "Big Five game" animals - African lion, African elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo and African leopa
Jul 04, 2015 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Smith ups the ante in this Courtney novel, lucky number thirteen, which has very fluid ties to its predecessor. Set in British East Africa (subsequently Kenya), the story centres around the life of Leon Courtney, son of Ryder Courtney. After a court-martial finds Leon removed from the British military, he becomes a professional hunter, taking many important men on big game safaris through the tribal lands. Approached by his uncle, Penrod Ballantyne, Leon agrees to help keep his eyes and ears ope ...more
Jul 25, 2013 Voldemort rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Voldemort by: My aunt
I should have stuck with my TO READ list. This book was a chore, a bothersome pain in the ass. So why keep on reading it?
Because I wanted to find out mamma Lucima’s prophecies (which ended up lame so beloved readers don’t expect much) and I wanna complete my 300 books challenge for this year (silly me).

The characters
Liked none of them. I felt there were chosen just for the benefit of the story (pointless might I say). No depth whatsoever and the way the two main characters fell in love …
“She was
James Brough

What can I say? Obviously well done by the master storyteller, however, this plays out too much like a Hollywood nazi-spy epic.
Evil German mastermind with a bloodthirsty appetite and (spoiler alert) a fake hand that is a mace, flying to cause havoc in a zeppelin.
I found it bizarre that Leon has no problem killing animals and committing adultery, but when given an opportunity to kill (or let the lion do the job) the main antagonist he suddenly has a conscience the size of Africa.
The period is ca
S.R.R. Colvin
Apr 02, 2010 S.R.R. Colvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Assegai (as'-uh-guy) is by far my favorite Wilbur Smith book. Often times he includes graphic scenes of boy meets girl, which I personally don't care to read. I am a mother of three - so obviously I know how it all works. I just don't need to read about it smack in the middle of a great adventure. The skin scenes are kept to a minimum, but the action is hot!

I love Africa and adventures in the bush. This one is set pre-WWI in British East Africa. Smith beautifully describes the landscapes, the wi
Mal Warwick
Aug 06, 2011 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trade-fiction
One of the best ways I’ve found to learn history is through historical fiction. Though I’ve studied African history and read a fair amount of nonfiction about the continent, I may have learned just as much from Assegai, a popular novel set in British East Africa (now Kenya) in the period 1906-1918. (The title means “sword” in the language of the Masai.)

As a novel, Assegai is far from perfect. It tells the adventurous tale of a young white African man, just 18 at the outset, who displays his seem
Anastasia Perrou
Στην Ελλάδα εκδόθηκε από τις εκδόσεις Bell
Τον Smith τον "γνώρισα" από το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο, που ενθουσιάστηκα πόσο εύκολα με ταξίδεψε στη μακρινή Αφρική στην πρώτη δεκαετία του 1900 και μου σύστησε τον ήρωα του.

Ο ανθυπολοχαγός Κόρτνεϊ είχε εγκαταλείψει το βρετανικό στρατό κι έχει γίνει κυνηγός μεγάλων ζώων και οδηγεί πλούσιους Ευρωπαίους και Αμερικανούς σε σαφάρι στις περιοχές των Μασάι.

Ένας από τους πελάτες του είναι ο γερμανός κόμης Ότο φον Μέερμπαχ και η ερωμένη του, Εύ
Didi A
Sep 06, 2015 Didi A rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my full review.

Assegai sounded like a great adventure/spy drama with some romance thrown in, so I was very surprised to get 300+ pages about how the protagonist became a hunter, then hunted, then visited the Masai prophetess, then hunted some more, then visited the prophetess, then hunted...
Courtney is a cardboard cutout character – sexy, tall, hunky, blonde, brave, rebellious and strong-willed. At least we are told he is. In the beginning I almost believed it, because he seemed to have an
Oct 08, 2016 Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Αν μη τι άλλο, ο Smith είναι ένας πολύ ικανός αφηγητής. Αυτό ισχύει και για το "Ασεγκάι", που ξεκινάει δυναμικά την εξιστόρηση της ζωής ενός ακόμη Κόρτνεϊ στη Νότια Αφρική του 1900-κάτι. Το βιβλίο είναι καλό, οι σελίδες γυρίζουν πολύ εύκολα η μια μετά την άλλη, με τις παραστατικότατες σκηνές δράσης να κρατούν το ενδιαφέρον αμείωτο μεταφέροντας τον αναγνώστη στις σαβάνες της Κένυας. Εδώ υπάρχουν επίσης ενδιαφέροντα λαογραφικά στοιχεία για τον τρόπο ζωής και την κουλτούρα των Μασάι, αναλυτικές περ ...more
Faith Mortimer
Mar 15, 2010 Faith Mortimer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read every single book of Wilbur Smith (to my knowledge)and I am sorry to say that he must be feeling his age as this is not one of his best by a long shot.
The period setting and idea is good (WW1 and devious goings on in darkest Africa between the Germans and some renegade south Africans).
Smith's detail on game drives is paramount, and exciting stuff (even for an ecologist)but romance and characterisation in this novel were just plain yucky.
Leon Courtney - the perfect specimen over 6 foo
Jan 07, 2010 Powerock rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A selection of my book club to be discussed next week. I have loaned it to another member but when It is returned, I will quote here some of the romance lines. The word corny is not so sophisticated but it fits. More later.
Sorry I cannot quote the lines that appalled me. The book has been returned so I cannot provide you with a good laugh. My book club generally liked the book with agreement that the historical setting, pre world war I in East Africa, was interesting -- especially the aut
The only thing that kept me reading this disturbing book was the conviction that the hero would wake up and become aware of the travesty of safari hunting,which is outlined here in tedious and horrifying detail. Glimpses of African tribal life and African history were indeed of interest,but the paternalism and obvious glorification of Britain rather intruded.And of course the hunting details were devestating.

And instead of becoming an advocate for animal rights,the hero's focus shifts drasticall
S.K. Levy
Leon Courtney is the protagonist in this Assegai, number thirteen in the Courtney family series. It is a love story, but not a mushy one. It's also about so much more and sheds a fascinating light on Tribal Culture in Africa. The only major drawback is that there is a lot of animal killing, which I am not a fan of reading at all. I pushed through all of this though, as I knew there was a wonderful story within. I couldn't quite lose myself in this book, but I know it was only due to the descript ...more
May 15, 2009 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back to Africa with the Courteneys, and safari treks and exciting action, Smith is back to his "old form" after his blip on the good writing radar screen with Quest! As always, Smith weaves much historical information into the novel, and the sections about Teddy Roosevelt and his safaris is an eyeopener about how the "big game" hunters traveled. Extremely captivating --- I've spent nights unable to get off the Sereghetti, chasing bull elephants, and dancing around the campfire, with the chant of ...more
Jul 23, 2012 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Wilbur Smith classic, love the ability to be transported off into a different world in a different era.
Mar 14, 2017 Caroline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wilbur Smith has enthralled me in the past. Sadly, this was not the case. Bland, bland, bland. The best part of the book was the love and detail that Smith gives to the landscape and richness of the beautiful naturalness of the countries/cultures he is depicting. ( Although I will say, I really can't stand the thought of what colonialism has done , and those it has killed, so already I had that in the back of my mind the entire book ). None of the characters even the leads were anything worth re ...more
Jun 14, 2017 Vivian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed the story. There was so much going on that I could barely put it down. The kill details were a bit much for me as I can't understand killing for sport. But the history and rich geographic descriptions made me still give it five stars.
Jun 04, 2017 Criss rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Wilbur Smith novel and I really enjoyed it. The man can really write an action scene. It also contained a couple of my favorite things, time and place. Time; early 20th century and place; Africa. I could have done without the mushy stuff, but overall a very enjoyable read.
Lynn Hutchinson
May 10, 2017 Lynn Hutchinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great story by Wilbur Smith, full of surprises and intrigue.
Richard Edwards
May 09, 2017 Richard Edwards rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great series

Looking forward to the next book in the series if I can get out of this one on my iPad.
Henry Brown
Whether he's on his game or not, Wilbur Smith is a novelist who tells a good adventure story nine times out of ten.

This one begins a few years prior to the outbreak of WWI and features early aviation, espionage, romance, and big game hunting in Africa.

Leon Courtney is a junior officer in the British Army in East Africa, with a lousy commanding officer. He makes a career change early on and finds himself on an epic hunting safari for Teddy Roosevelt and his son, Kermit. Ultimately he finds himsel
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 13, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Smith's A Falcon Flies was on a list of recommended historical fiction I've been reading through. I couldn't find that title in my bookstore or circulating in the library--for a prolific author, not much of his work seems available. Assegai caught my eye with a blurb from Stephen King claiming Smith to be the "best historical novelist" and with a summary in the back naming the colorful Theodore Roosevelt as a character.

I found the book a disappointment. I hoped Smith might offer the kind of ble
Jeyavaishnavi M
Don't let the Assegais on the cover and the pre-Great War setting fool you. Assegai is more love story than anything else, with the prologue of the First World War and the conspiracy hinted at in the back cover merely forming a canvas for the strong-guy-rescues-strong-but-vulnerable-girl romance of the protagonists.

Nevertheless, I like the way the author described the wildlife of Africa (very vivid images), hunting and airplanes (some of it went over my head though) in the later four fifths of t
Cormac Healy
This was my first Wilbur Smith book and I have to say I was pretty disappointed.

The two main characters were just too perfect to be believable, having a natural talent for literally everything they tried throughout the book. Admittedly I have never tried, but I have my doubts about someone being able to carry their 6'3" friend on their back for 30 miles through the night being chased by spear-wielding tribesmen after being stabbed. I guess you never know.

Also, the plot was very predictable in th
Aug 06, 2012 LindaJ^ rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
This is the story of a young officer in the British army stationed in South Africa in the years leading up to and, to a lesser extent, during WWI. He becomes a brother to a Mauri as he saves the man after a deadly encounter with another tribe of Africans who have been killing settlers. The Mauri's mother is a respected and powerful "witch" doctor and she "adopts" the young soldier. The young officer's uncle is the head of the British army in Africa, and the uncle introduces the young man to an o ...more
Apr 22, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book for me. I have read Wilbur Smith's books about ancient Egypt and thoroughly enjoyed them; this book, however, is focused on the British Africa Protectorate in the early 1900's, moving into World War I. It is a time of the big game hunt, when everyone from Teddy Roosevelt to German and British aristocracy relished the thought of killing as many game animals as humanly possible. It is also the time of rising tensions in Europe that spill over into the adjoining ter ...more
Donna Beckley
The next book in the Courtney saga. It starts some years before the 1st World War. The hero is Leon Courtney. Although this series follows a family through many generations, the author doesn't always make a connection between the generations. This story happens while Sean Courtney, from the "Triumph of the Sun" is still alive, but the connection between the two is not noted. Leon's father is in Egypt, which would imply that he is probably Sean's nephew, the son of his twin brother Guy. Penrod Ba ...more
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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

Courtney (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • When the Lion Feeds (Courtney, #1)
  • Sound of Thunder (Courtney #2)
  • A Sparrow Falls (Courtney #3)
  • The Burning Shore (Courtney #4)
  • Power of the Sword (Courtney #5)
  • Rage (Courtney #6)
  • A Time to Die (Courtney #7)
  • Golden Fox (Courtney #8)
  • Birds of Prey (Courtney #9)
  • Monsoon (Courtney #10)

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