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The Burning Shore

(Courtney #4)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  5,425 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Spanning decades and continents--from the war-torn skies of Europe to present-day South Africa--The Burning Shore tells of a beautiful French woman's struggle to make a new life for herself in South Africa. From the author of The Leopard Hunts in Darkness. HC: Doubleday.
Published October 1st 1985 by Doubleday Books (first published 1985)
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,425 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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Debbie Zapata
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019sundaze
I have always liked Wilbur Smith's books. They can be brutal, horrifyingly bloody, and almost excessively dramatic. But boy howdy, they are also rip-snorters of adventures that keep me up late at night turning pages, lost in Smith's world.

I've only read four (now five) since joining GR, but I have many others in my library that I imagine I will re-read and review Someday.

Smith wrote 17 titles which revolved around the Courtney family in South Africa, but The Burning Shore (#4 in the series) is
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Returning to the Courtney series, Smith takes readers into the next generation of the family and their exploits. While fighting the Great War in Europe, Michael Courtney, illegitimate son of Sean Courtney, crosses paths with a young Frenchwoman, Centaine de Thiry. They soon fall in love and during a passionate night, conceive a child. They plan to marry and return to the African subcontinent after the war, much to Centaine's curiosity and delight. While running a routine air reconnaissance missi ...more
This is a marvelous series and just keeps getting better.
Oct 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, ww1
The beginning of a new Courtney saga, following on from the WHEN THE LION FEEDS trilogy. I found THE BURNING SHORE a bit of a slog to read, perhaps because Smith's previous novel, THE LEOPARD HUNTS IN DARKNESS, was an absolutely triumphant book and one of my favourite reads of all time; this one can't help but pale in comparison.

There's much to love here, but somehow the book lacks the spark of life present in earlier works, and there's a slight sense of Smith going through the motions. Still, i
The Frahorus
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Centayne De Thiry è giovanissima e molto bella; la sua maturità, ancora in embrione, sboccia con l'incontro di Micheal Courtney, rampollo di una famiglia di facoltosi imprenditori, eroi di guerra, influenti e affermati, che non si sottrae ai suoi doveri quando scoppia una delle più sanguinose guerre che coinvolgono l'Africa e che vede schierati in prima linea, per la prima volta, gli aerei da combattimento, che Micheal pilota come nessun altro. Michael fa nascere in lei, raccontandole della prop ...more
Inderpreet Singh
I don't have words to express the praise for this piece. Also I am not in the regretful phase of finishing up this novel at a great pace because there are three more novels to be read on Courtney series pertaining to this. My review can't suffice to explain panoply of wonderful things I learnt. In this awesome description of war, I learnt to fly plane - diving, rolling and firing. Umm, what not?? Then I got familiarized with the inside-out structure of submarine and firing torpedoes. True advent ...more
Roberta Zanella
Read it twenty-six years ago. The tv series was pretty nice.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As ever, Smith weaves a beautifully gripping tale embracing the events of the era and using them to drive the lives of his characters and the Courtney family. This one does jump backwards a bit from where we left off at the end of A Sparrow Falls, heading back into the First World War as we are introduced to Centaine de Thiry as she finds herself in the middle of the war and a love affair with a certain Michael Courtney. The rest of the story follows her journey from the desctruction of war and ...more
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book from the Courtney series. Wilbur Smith has made me fall in love with the African deserts. I have come to believe that he has described the African continent in a much better manner than the geography textbooks prescribed at school. The amount of research that has gone into this book regarding the lives of the bushmen has been outstanding. I simply could not put the book down after crossing the 200 page mark.
Erica Mukherjee
Aug 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action-mystery
Sometimes, a good novel doesn’t know when to stop. Gone With the Wind comes to mind, as Scarlett is crying for Rhett’s departure and the reader is gnashing her teeth wondering what will happen when Scarlett “thinks about it tomorrow.”

Though The Burning Shores, by Wilbur Smith, isn’t in the same category as Margaret Mitchell’s classic, the book ends abruptly, leaving enchanted readers eager for a sequel. Fortunately, Smith wrote almost a dozen novels on the African exploits of the same family th
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been slowly re-reading this series about 30 years after the first time I read them. This time I'm reading them in order, last time I don't think I did. It's been an interesting series to re-read. I remember the stories, but not really - more like I remember the broad outline of the story, but very few details. That being said, I'm sure I'm getting different things from them now because I'm reading them with different eyes - a different phase of life and more experiences under my belt. I'm f ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Burning Shore is the 4th book of Wilbur Smith’s ‘Courtney’ series. There are three phases to the series, the first three books are phase one and tell the story of Sean Courtney from 1860 to 1925. This is the first book of the second phase and continues the story of the Courtney’s. The second phase covers the period 1917 to 1987. Wilbur Smith then wrote a third phase which is a prequel and is set between 1660 and 1918.

The Burning Shore is an exhilarating story of a woman’s determination and s
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was a bit tedious; one huge disaster after another for the young heroine (I forget her name). Within the span of 25 pages she loses her fiance, father, horse, estate/home and forced to endure hardship after hardship (while pregnant). The transport ship she is on heading for Africa is torpedoed; countless others are lost. She is attacked by a huge great white and gets away by feeding it her life raft mate (all for the sake of her unborn child); it was a pretty brutal telling. If you enj ...more
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mentre il personaggio di Centaine iniziò come una stella gigantesca, luminosa e splendida, finì piccola piccola, mediocre, miserabile a tratti; quello di Lothar che peggio non poteva sembrare, quando era più piccolo, come il punto quasi invisibile e immobile che vide Centaine quando si allontanò con Garrick ed Anna, invece era più grande, più umano nonostante la crudeltà inutile di certe sue azioni. Alla fine risultò il più vero, il più coerente.

Teresa MacGinley
I hated this book, so much so that I can't even rate it. On my quest to read all the Courtney books this was by far the most disappointing. It was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the women characters being idiots. I also think that I had already put it down once before, picking it up again only because I needed to read it to get to the next book in the series. Worst novel by a favourite author.
Lynne Spreen
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book over 20 years ago, way before Goodreads. So I can't really review it, but I've recommended it to people often enough that I have to give it 5 stars, retroactively. It's the rare Wilbur Smith novel that features a smart, strong, proud, inspiring woman as a main character, and in his earlier years, he was a master of character development and setting. Highly recommend this.
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Wilbur Smith book I ever read and I completely fell in love with the Courtney family. I have since read every Wilbur Smith novel and enjoy each one. They are fast reads so if you are going on vacation take a few.
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the book, but I didn't like on big part of the story, I mean I wanted it to go in the opposite way. Is that even possible?
(view spoiler)
Smith è un maestro nel descrivere l'Africa.
Tom LA
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best Wilbur Smith book. Hidden behind a title that screams "Trash!"
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! An amazing adventure and such a great story. Looking forward to the rest of the books about the Courtneys'
Wimpie Niekerk
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Full of interesting twists.

Middle part almost became boring, but great book in general.

Kees van Duyn
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kapitein Michael Courtney is piloot en tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog in het noorden van Frankrijk gelegerd. Als hij een vlucht maakt, worden hij en zijn collega's dagelijks uitgezwaaid door een meisje op een paard. Michael maakt kennis met dit meisje, de 17-jarige Centaine de Thiry. Ze beginnen een relatie en maken plannen voor hun toekomst in Zuid-Afrika. Michael sterft en Centaine blijkt van hem in verwachting te zijn. Ze besluit, zoals ze Michael beloofd heeft, dat haar kind in Zuid-Afrika g ...more
Erik Larson
Well written, but too Afri-centric. If you don’t know the names of African plants and wildlife, you’ll be pretty lost in the descriptions.
I found the main character pathetic. I couldn’t tell if Smith wrote this trying to make women appear strong, or doe-eyed archetypes. The protagonist waffles from walking through a blazing desert while pregnant to flinging her legs in the air for any fertile male who crosses her path.
Facts were wrong, timelines messed up, and sex in an open-pot bi-wing just isn
MR Quinn
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Big fan of Wilbur Smith and this is my first book.of his this year and my return to the Courtney series. I enjoyed this epic quest of survival and the brutality it displayed. I did feel we could have spent more time with other characters such as Lothar but clearly this book follows Centaines journey. As far as my opinions of her go. I am still very mixed. Dhe does some clever and strong willed things throughout but other things she does are the cause of her problems and are stupid and selfish ac ...more
Terry Walker
I really give this book a 3.8 rating. Not a 4 but almost. This story about World War I and the aviators was interesting. I liked the way the author transitioned the story to Africa. Wilbur Smith did a very good job in his discriptions an kept the story going with a bit of romance. Once Centaine got to Africa I was unable to put it down and read all day to day to finish the tale.
Rita Chapman
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful book in the Courtney series by Wilbur Smith. He gradually draws you in, builds on his characters and their adventures and leaves you breathless! Infuriating ending but I'll be looking for the next book in the series!
Karen Massarella
Very enjoyable!

I enjoyed this book immensely. Couldn't wait to get back to reading it. Wilbur Smith wasn't an author I would normally choose. So pleased I did. Hope to read many more.
Sue Shipley
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Centene leads a charmed life until WWI intrudes. Her time with Michael, trip on a Red Cross ship and trials in interior Aftrica would kill most people. Her time with the San is informative, if primitive. Some transition info seems to be missing, but may be explained in the next book
Terry Morrison
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was so good. Part soap opera mini series but just enough history to make you feel like you’re learning something. This is the fourth of the Courtenay novels and the best so far, in my opinion.
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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

Other books in the series

Courtney (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • When the Lion Feeds (Courtney, #1)
  • Sound of Thunder (Courtney #2)
  • A Sparrow Falls (Courtney #3)
  • 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)
  • Blue Horizon  (Courtney, #11)
“I heard the footfalls, but it’s stopped now. It’s watching us, I can feel it.’ At that moment a small cloud passed over the moon and the world turned dark. ‘The moon will come out again soon.’ Centaine hugged the infant so hard that Shasa gave a little bleat of protest. ‘I’m sorry, baby.’ She relaxed her grip and then stumbled as she started forward. ‘I wish we hadn’t come – no, that’s not true. We had to come. We must be brave, Shasa. We can’t follow the spoor without the moon.’ She sank down to rest, looking up into the sky. The moon was a pale nimbus through the thin gunmetal cloud, and then it broke out into a hole in the cloud layer and for a moment flooded the glade with soft platinum light. ‘Shasa!’ Centaine’s voice rose into a high thin scream. There was something out there, a huge pale shape, as big as a horse, but with sinister, stealthy, unhorselike carriage. At her cry, it sank out of sight below the tops of the grass. Centaine leapt to her feet and raced towards the trees, but before she reached them the moon was snuffed out again, and in the darkness Centaine fell full length. Shasa wailed fretfully against her chest. ‘Please be quiet, baby.’ Centaine hugged him, but the child sensed her terror and screamed. ‘Don’t, Shasa. You’ll bring it after us.’ Centaine was trembling wildly. That big pale thing out there in the darkness was possessed of an unearthly menace, a palpable aura of evil, and she knew what it was. She had seen it before. She pressed herself flat to the earth, trying to cover Shasa with her own body. Then” 0 likes
“they chewed on the cud.” 0 likes
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