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Hungry as the Sea

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,485 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Through shipwreck and hurricane, in the ice of the Antarctic and the thundering surf of the African coast, Nick Berg is a man in his element, fighting back against the ruthless ambition of the arch-rival who stole his wife and son and robbed him of an empire.

The "Golden Prince" is deposed; once the flamboyant chairman of a huge shipping consortium, now the captain of a sal
Hardcover, 504 pages
Published October 20th 2000 by Pan Books (first published 1978)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,485 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
This is a good book; maybe not Smith's best, but certainly above average for the genre. The combination of solid plotting and engaging technical detail (who knew there could be such a thing?) makes for an eventful and thought-provoking read.

The then-contemporary storyline covers salvage workers on the world's oceans. It doesn't sound like the most entertaining of subjects, but in Smith's hands it's both suspenseful and exciting. The initial extended set-piece involving the attempted salvage of a
Mar 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: horny old men


Let me explain

5 descriptions of weather -rivaled only by those in David Brin's Earth?
4 descriptions of the movement of the sea.
-1 descriptions of love interests' POV/gaze. yuck.
AVG 2.6
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nautical-fiction
I'll read anything that has storms and ocean-going salvage tugs. This book has both, in addition to a vendetta, corporate and individual malfeasance, and romantic rivalry. The parts of the book dealing with those latter elements are the weakest. But Smith writes really well about ships during storms; the salvaging of the ocean liner in the beginning is riveting. One reviewer on Amazon complained that Smiths gets too technical and detailed during the storm scenes. Hell, man. That's the best part! ...more
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wilbur Smith is one of my favorite authors. He is also one of the most frustrating because I either tend to love his books (most of them) or just hate them (Sunbird? oh please!) I'm happy to say that this falls in the former category. The edition I just read is from 1978 and basically fortold the BP Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. This book is full of adventure, intrigue, revenge and romance. One of the best adventure books I've ever read.
Barbara ★
Another great book from Wilbur Smith. This time about a man, Nicholas Berg, who owns a salvage company and rescues disabled ships at sea. The first rescue in Antarctica is unbelievable as is the last one in the Caribbean during a hurricane. His rival in all things, Duncan Alexander, is a real ass and you will rout for his downfall from the first minute he enters the pages. What a greedy jerk!

I thoroughly enjoyed this around the world roller coaster ride of adventure and romance.
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Wilbur Smith - Hungry as the Sea - Unabridged

Read By: Robert Gladwell (he sounds the worse for drink, rly!)
Duration: 19:43
Description: Nick Berg sets out to salvage a cruise ship stranded with 600 people in the frozen wastes of the Antarctic.

winter 2012
seven seas
tbr busting 2012
filthy lucre

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire
Bebe Burnside
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book totally surprised me. It starts off very technical, but interesting. If you ever told me I would like reading about the details of search and rescue and recovery of damaged oil tankers I would have said no way. It brings you along and without realizing you have gone from an interesting how to manual to a story and then you have to keep going. It was informative, thrilling and captivating. A must read for anyone who likes sea stories and a should read for land lovers.
Oscar E.
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good adventure-thriller book by Wilbur Smith. The protagonist is a well-rounded hero who manages to fight against both natural elements and a fierce human enemy at the same time. The story also shows how a stormy ocean can challenge the structure of huge oil tankers.
Mar 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
My first Wilbur Smith book. Never looked back! A great storyteller.
Edward Creter
Hungry as the Sea has all the action, suspense and romance a 400-pager can hold. It is Dirk Pitt on 500 acid trips! When Nick Berg accepts the challenge to save his own supertanker from turning the oceans from a big oily mess, he gets more than he bargains for. He'll have to fend off the competitive wiles of Duncan Alexander, a rich tycoon who cares little for the environment and plenty about making money. He'll also have to fight off hurricane winds, oil slicks and a beautiful ex-wife who plans ...more
Jeff Johnston
Apr 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
Certainly confirmed my observation of the ocean. As beautiful as it is watching those waves roll into shore, never turn your back.

You have to admire those who work on it. Their lives at risk everytime they step aboard a boat, no matter what size or destination.

Solid read. Smith always delivers plenty of adventure with a strong male/female lead with a touch of romance and his obligstory ex scene.
Bev Taylor
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
nick was thought of as the golden prince. the chairman of a shipping company, married to the daughter of the owner with a young son. both an experienced seaman and company executive and wealthy

all that changes when his wife leaves him for duncan who after marriage takes over the company and leaves nick with a subsidary that deals with towings and salvage. he is close to losing the company thru lack of finances but then an opportunity arrives for salvage in antartica - one of duncan's ships

Stuart Aken
Oct 29, 2010 rated it liked it
• HUNGRY AS THE SEA by Wilbur Smith, William Heinemann
430 pps. 170,000 words, no chapters, broken by asterisks.
A damn good yarn with romantic interest. Set at sea and portraying the trials of a salvage tug boat captain and shipping magnate fallen from grace and left by his wife. The hero meets his romantic partner when he dives into icy seas to rescue her after she tries to save the lives of the passengers of the cruise ship he is trying to salvage. The fight between him and the man who stole hi
Dan Newman
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
While I'll admit to not being really crazy about Mr. Smith's more recent works, I have to say his early stuff is what got me reading. This book in particular sticks with me. This man knows how to tell a yarn.
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite Wilbur Smith book ... despite the fact that I get violently sea sick in real life, I love the story of adventure and romance on the high seas ... Nick is a modern day piratical figure and his heroic deeds deserve a movie ...
Ahmed Amir
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. It does start out slow but picks up the speed after the first 100 pages. It gives us the perfect mixture of romance and action. I strongly recommend this book as it is easily one of my favorite books.
May 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I was surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did considering that I have no interest in shipping salvage operations! It was well written, although the plot was a little predictable.
Jacob Smith
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first book of Smith's I ever read. I loved it so much, I am slowly working thru his whole collection!
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nls-audio
This is one of the most captivating adventure stories I’ve read probably in years. The author’s writing style is so vivid that I found myself exclaiming out loud in numerous spots; I could feel the frozen cold of a merciless ocean, and because of the stark memorability of the descriptions, I learned more about the high-stakes world of salvaging than I ever thought anyone could teach me.

Nicholas Berg is at a crisis point as this book begins. His marriage has brutally ended, and the Midas touch th
Feb 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Where to begin... this book is bad on every level. The hero who is superman and always saves the day even though he makes stupid decision after stupid decision. The endless grandiose descriptions. The shallow, one-dimensional characters. The implausible cliff-hangers. Oh and don’t get me started on “the girl”. Female characters are not the patriarcal and misogynistic author’s strong suit. Neither is romance. This book feels like it’s been written by a ghostwriter to fulfill a contract, throwing ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This started off so well with an epic storm and battle for survival against the harshest seas and strongest winds. But then things quickly calmed and become much more familar and slightly predictable as greed takes over and the inevitable cutting of corners begins as Nicholas' design is paired down and economised. But it doesn't stop there, this of course leads to Nicholas' own family being put in danger and he has to race to save them. As ever, Smith's writing flows well and embraces the story ...more
Tausif Hossain
Not the best book by the writer. This book can be clearly divided into two parts. The first part is really good and deals with how salvage business works and how the protagonist is built up as a character. The 2nd part is almost an anti climax on how the lead character changes. He eventually becomes a one man army with buckets of luck - the story becomes improbable. It would have been better if the story ended with the first part of his adventure. Too many side plots as well, making the end very ...more
Toby Bond
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed two other Wilbur Smith books but this one was a disappointment. The book was written as his American debut. I could tell. It was as though he was trying to satisfy an audience, push the right buttons; it felt forced. His heart wasn't in it - he wasn't writing for himself. Very disappointing. Just about managed to force myself to finish it.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wilbur Smith continues to amaze me with his versatility. Especially his excellent descriptions. I have read, to date, sixteen WS novels and have yet to find one which failed to keep me riveted to every word. I am determined to read many more. What a great voyage!!
Dorothy Clark
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Smith is a good writer, but this type of book is very predictable. We have the resolute man among men who battles Mother Nature along with human enemies and never ever gives up. We know from page one that he will triumph in the end.
Annette Witham
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Close enough to a four to give it one. I enjoy learning while reading and learned about tow ships and competing for money in the high seas and the danger involved. Sometimes too much information but many sub plots that kept this book interesting.
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A fantastic page turner! Would have given it four stars, but the characters were mostly only two dimensional and I found some of the leading lady’s dialogue jarring. However, a really immersive and a fun read that provided for great daydreaming in between chapters.
Marcia D. Smith
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No one writing today is any better!

I've been reading fiction for 75 years and I've read most of the great ones; and I tell you for research and descriptive detail Wilbur Smith is awesome !!
Pam Strachan
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was one of my husband's book that I read online. Thought it was a compilation of short stories. Turns out it was a compilation of 3 epics and this was the first.
Utterly compelling. A good page turner. Hard to believe it was written in 1978.
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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

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