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The Sunbird

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  3,261 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Dr. Ben Kazin is a brilliant acrheologist. Louren Sturvesant is rich, impulsive, and physically imposing, everything Ben is not. Now, the to men--friends, competitors and partner--are searching for the legendary lost city of Opet, built by an Egyptian culture that reached Africa two thousand years ago, then vanished completely.

For Ben, the expedition is a chance to prove a
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Mass Market Paperback, 615 pages
Published December 15th 2002 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1972)
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River God by Wilbur SmithBirds of Prey by Wilbur SmithWhen the Lion Feeds by Wilbur SmithThe Burning Shore by Wilbur SmithMonsoon by Wilbur Smith
Best of Wilbur A. Smith
11th out of 34 books — 49 voters
Blood River by Tim ButcherThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara KingsolverOut of Africa by Karen BlixenThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithDon't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Best books for an African Safari
95th out of 384 books — 564 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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Penny
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
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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
Kerry
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
Graham
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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Tara
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.
Housewife Bubuchu
Шикарный образчик жанра современного приключенческого романа.
Как коктейль сделанный гениальным барменом - каждого из ингридиентов ровно столько, сколько нужно, чтобы создать Тот самый вкус, даже зонтик в бокале под строго выверенным углом.
В этой книге есть все что нужно и этого всего очень правильное количество. Тут и драматическая любовь, и настоящая мужская дружба, и захватывающая археологическая история, и кармическая предопределенность, и масштабные исторические события, и настоящая трагедия
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Michelle
7/10

I dislike nearly every character in this book, for various reasons. It made it near impossible for me to connect with any of them, which is not that bad when the story is compelling--but that wasn't the case in part 1. The first part was too drawn out a love triangle for my tastes, and as it's set in the seventies there's also a sexism and racism going on that at times I found hard to read through.

It was interesting the way you read in part two what has happened to the city the archaeologis
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Karen
The first half was 5 stars the second half failed IMHO miserably!! 1 star
Naomi
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
Ian Chapman
A lurid tale, with lots of theory, description and action. The thesis is the a flotilla escaped from the Roman destruction of Carthage, sailed down to South West Africa and founded a city. Modern South African archaeologists uncover it. Much Smith fiction of course, but a dynamic story. The most enjoyable Wilbur Smith book for me.
Fotini
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!
Susan
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
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Rusty
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
Laura
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.
Ian Copsey
This was the first book I read by Wilbur Smith and was quickly drawn into the sultry heaviness of moving into a different dimension. Smith is probably the best author I have read with his books absorbing and passionate.
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.
Adam Mueller
Read almost every Wilbur Smith book and this one is my favorite, after monsoon and birds of prey and the Egypt series and ......
Werehare
2/10

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
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MW 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
ChrisGA
INDIANA JONES of 40 years ago......archaeologists,hidden city, love triangle, greed, supernatural
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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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