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Assegai (Courtney #13)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,485 ratings  ·  193 reviews
Ex-soldier Leon Courtney guides the rich and powerful from America and Europe on big-game safaris. After a successful expedition with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Leon became one of the world’s most sought-after hunters. Now, he is about to find out that celebrity comes at a hazardous price.

Leon has been recruited by the British forces to gather intelligence on Count
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Paperback, 673 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2009)
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Mrsku
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
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Voldemort
Sep 24, 2014 Voldemort rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Faith Mortimer
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
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Powerock
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.
Update:
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
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S.R.R. Colvin
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
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Lynn
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
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
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Magdelanye
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
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Erin
Another Wilbur Smith classic, love the ability to be transported off into a different world in a different era.
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
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Neil Davies
The beginning and end of this book are very good and very exciting, but in the middle it drops off so much that I almost gave up on it. Perhaps it's because I'm spoilt having read so much H Rider Haggard, but the endless safari/hunting scenes in the middle paled in comparison to those in Haggard's African books. They were too drawn out and just lacked the excitement I'm used to in such scenes. However, it is not fair to concentrate on this middle bit when, as I said, the beginning and end are re ...more
Linda
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
Mal Warwick
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
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Jeannie Mancini
I have always loved reading about the Colonial period of Africa at the time of the big game hunters. And although I have issues with killing animals for sport, I DO understand that in the early 19teens and 1920s, this is what was done and thought of as the thing to do. Many great white hunters, usually British, came to Africa to hunt and lead their own Safari's for others. So in the previous novels of this time period that I did read, there was a little of the hunting and killing of the wild lif ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 14, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Orrin Laferte
This book evokes the writings of Isak Dinesin (Karen Blixen) and the movie Out of Africa. It takes place in British East Africa (Kenya) during the first decades of the Twentieth Century. It's major difference is that it is written from a very male perspective. The male protagonist is handsome and brave, adventurous and rebellious to authority. All the characteristics that make up a classic adventure hero. He is not the suave Robert Redford version of Denis Finch-Hadden as portrayed in Out of Afr ...more
Cheryl
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
Kelly
I am a sucker for a grand, sweeping African epic adventure, so I'm predisposed to the stories penned by Wilbur Smith. As always, he has delivered a detailed, thoroughly researched tale that is brutal, savage and romantic (but not like a Mills and Boons novel, though at times it strays pretty close) and pretty damn similar to most of his other books. Formula writing anyone? Well, W.Smith is pushing 80, so we can forgive the lack of originality and applaud his talent for storytelling.

The character
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AndrewP
Set against the backdrop of big game hunting from 1913 to World War One in Africa, this book has something for everyone. Adventure, action, romance, dastardly villains and rousing heroes. Part of the book is based on Teddy Roosevelt's real life African safari, something I had never heard of before and which I subsequently read up on.
I used to read a lot of this type of book and this is the first one in a long time that I thoroughly enjoyed. Wilbur Smith has never disappointed me and it's nice
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Arlene
Assegai is a Maasai long spear. Leon is an ex-British Army officer who is working as a safari guide out of Nairobi. He is lucky to be a guide to Theodore Roosevelt and becomes known as one of the best in the business. He is asked to gather intelligence from Graf Otto von Meerbach, a German industrialist who hires him to be his guide on safari. In the process he learns to fly in one of the Graf's planes that he brings to use while in Africa. He also meets the Count's beautiful mistress and falls ...more
Manuela
Finalmente l'Africa torna ad essere l'assoluta protagonista di un romanzo di Wilbur. Dopo l'impresentabile “Alle fonti del Nilo”, torna a ciò che più gli è congeniale, e per cui ci siamo innamorati di lui: l’avventura con la A maiuscola, la natura più selvaggia e imprevedibile che ti avvolge e ti trascina nel suo vortice irresistibile, ed è bello assaporare di nuovo i gusti e i profumi africani, come Wilbur ci aveva abituati. In questo romanzo si rivive tutto ciò, anche se non ai livelli grandio ...more
Author Annette Dunlea
Book Review of Wilbur Smith’s Assegai by Annette Dunlea
Assegai Wilbur Smith’s new hardback is published by Macmillan. The novel’s ISBN is 0230529208. It has all the classic ingredients for great novels a great hero, romance, a bit of espionage and the cunning enemy. Set in 1913 Leon Courtney a professional hunter turned guide to the rich of Europe on safaris in East Africa. Leon falls in love with one of his rich client’s wife Eva Von Wellberg. The situation is made more complicated when he disc
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Elaine
Vivid, sickening descriptions of safari killings.
Takes place 1906-1918.
Assegai is a Masi spear used in the ritual killing of a lion that is necessary for all young men to do.

Kaiser Wilhelm was the grandson of Queen Victoria, nephew to Edward VII.

Honeyguide is an African bird who will lead men to bee hives. Symbiotic folklore holds that man must share the honey with the bird or the next time the bird will lead to a venomous snake or a man eating lion!

Sitatunga is a very rare and elusive aquatic
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Teresa Bunn
OK, I've become a Wilbur Smith fan, this is the fourth of his books I've read. Action adventures, light reading, completely entertaining. Adventure in Africa at the turn of the century. Would give it a 5 except for the brutal safari hunting descriptions, that disgust me completely.
Ron
A bit of a letdown for me--an enjoyable read, but a lot to nit-pick. I never quite bonded with Leon as the protagonist--he just seemed 'there' filling the space. Manyoro and Eva were more vivid to me. The book splits into two separate stories--the first part with the Roosevelt safari (I enjoyed this more) and the second part focusing on the looming clouds of WWI, which was rife with stereotypes and melodrama. The adventure elements were strong as were the action scenes--the sort of thing you exp ...more
Natalija Knaidele
Definitely not among the best Wilbur's African novels, but it was nice to go back there after not reading anything about Africa for a while. If you're thinking to read this as your first Wilbur's African novel, pass and go for The Burning Shore instead (moreover, it is a series).
Slow start, but quick and fun middle section, with an abysmal ending. Read past the safari part at your own risk.
Joshua Cayetano
Tremendously made where in your emotions are to be captured by the poignant scenes. This is really a fascinating book. I really recommend this novel, Assegai, to be added in your bookshelf.
Denise
African adventure of the young Courtney - who predictably falls in love with the most beautiful woman around and comes to here rescue as a shining knight of the African Safari...
Great descriptions of hunting in wild Africa, the witch-doctor ceremonies and the dirigibles designed at the beginning of WWII.
Lots of action, hard to put down. I've been increasingly astonished at this writer's use of female characters as mindless strumpets, and the main heroine in this story is basically a whore - bu
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Chandana Gunasekara
Finished reading Assegai. Its kind of a collection of many Wilbur Smith books. feels like that similar epics repeats too much. in summary, I enjoyed every other Wilbur's book more than Assegai. Still it demonstrates the viriety wonders of Africa well.
Jo
The setting for this book is in British East Africa in 1913, The main character, Leon Courtney,is a big game hunter and guide for the rich and influential hunters. His uncle commander of the British forces in East Africa, recruits him to gather information on one of his clients, Count Otto von Meerbach whose company builds aircraft for the German Kaiser's army. The Kaiser is conspiring to wipe out the British forces in East Africa and take over the country.
This book is one of the best I have re
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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 13 books)
  • When the Lion Feeds (Courtney, #1)
  • The 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)
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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