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Assegai (Courtney #13)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  3,461 Ratings  ·  235 Reviews
The number one International bestseller It is 1913 and ex-soldier turned professional big game hunter, Leon Courtney, is in British East Africa guiding rich and powerful men from America and Europe on safaris in the Masai tribe territories. One of his clients, German industrialist Count Otto von Meerbach, has a company which builds aircraft and vehicles for the Kaiser’s bu ...more
Paperback, 501 pages
Published April 2nd 2010 by Pan Macmillan (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jul 08, 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
Mar 13, 2016 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
Sep 24, 2014 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
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
Mal Warwick
Aug 06, 2011 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Αναστασία ~ Ουφ θα ξε-σκάσω!
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 22, 2015 Didi A rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scanned
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
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 20, 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
S.R.R. Colvin
Apr 24, 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
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.
Nov 05, 2016 Rob rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the first 200/300 pages of this book. Exciting adventure set in Africa before WWI with strong characters & interesting stories of hunting large game. Unfortunately, from 300 pages on it descends into a twee & predictable love story.
Oct 10, 2016 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it because it was set in Africa and had some interesting, intriging and likeable characters, none of whom however were white. It was like watching an old black and white film complete with a muscled, fearless hero, petty, weak bad guys, really despicable bad guys and of course a mysterious, enegmatic, simpering girl. It was all very swash-buckling and daring-do and frightfully English. Thank God for the Massai! The accounts of the uncontrolable slaughter and disregard for the lives of th ...more
Tom Tabasco
Apr 16, 2016 Tom Tabasco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oliver Salazar
Sep 26, 2016 Oliver Salazar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
action packed
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 14, 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
Apr 07, 2016 Jeyavaishnavi M rated it liked it
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
Sep 16, 2012 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 01, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Orrin Laferte
Sep 21, 2009 Orrin Laferte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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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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 14 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
  • Golden Fox
  • Birds of Prey (Courtney #9)
  • Monsoon (Courtney #10)

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