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A Sparrow Falls

(Courtney #3)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  7,183 ratings  ·  144 reviews
A Sparrow Falls, another gripping installment in Wilbur Smith's Courtney Family Adventure series

Mark Anders grew up on eight thousand acres of African land that bore his family name. Then he fought in Europe's Great War and, upon returning to his ancestral home, he saw savagery unlike any other….

In Africa, Mark's family estate has been despoiled. His grandfather has died u
Mass Market Paperback, 640 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1977)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  7,183 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Debbie Zapata
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dar
About ten years after writing The Sound Of Thunder, Smith returns to the Courtney family saga with this book, published in 1977.

We begin again with Sean Courtney four years after the end of The Sound Of Thunder. Now we are in France, in the trenches of World War I. Sean is a general and is on a surprise inspection tour. He meets a young South African sniper named Mark Anders. Sean is interested in seeing how Anders does his job, and stays until our sniper faces off with 'their' sniper.

After thi
Maybe it was a mistake to read three novels by Wilbur Smith in a short period, which is what I have just done. By doing so, I began to recognise the tricks that the author employs to achieve his incredibly exciting style of story-telling.

This story, which begins in the trenches in France during the First World War, continues in South Africa during the period of labour troubles in the goldmines of the Witwatersrand in 1922 before moving on to the story of a game reserve in the Zulu lands of Natal
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
My 200th posted review for 2015!

In this, the concluding novel in the Sean Courtney collection, Smith moves the powerful man aside and offers the reader a new focus in the young Mark Anders. Serving under Courtney in the Great War, Anders survives in the trenches and returns to his family homestead, which has been confiscated and his grandfather murdered. Learning of the gang behind the acts, Anders discovers that his former General's own son, Dirk Courtney, is the mastermind. Using this as a pre
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The 5 star rating is for the entertainment value. The style of writing is somewhat dated, but nevertheless manages to keep a firm grip on the reader. The characters are vibrant and you either hate or love them.The plot is on fire sucking the reader into a series of exciting events that are constantly surprising. The reader finds him/herself trying to predict outcomes with partial success, only to be surprised by unexpected twists. Try to read the Wilbur Smith Novels in order, not essential but m ...more
Jason Link
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Smith shows a vast knowledge of South African and World War I through his description and naming of props and settings. Therefore the world he creates is very believable and intriguing. For that I would give him four stars. His weakness is in characters and how unbelievable they are. The hero, Mark Anders, is presented as all good. Yes, he gives into lust and infidelity, but Smith writes with such a tone as to justify these actions. And he's perfect at everything; perfect soldier, perfect driver ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, africa, ww1
This is the outstanding final chapter of Wilbur Smith's initial Courtney trilogy that began with WHEN THE LION FEEDS. With the story of Sean and Garry virtually tied up at the end of A SOUND OF THUNDER, the previous instalment, the plot in this one introduces a new central protagonist who brings freshness to the saga.

Despite being a great deal longer than the first two books, A SPARROW FALLS is never less than unputdownable. Starting off in the trenches of WW1 and gradually moving to the African
Tammi Morgan
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. A Sparrow Falls follows on from The Sound of Thunder and because I did not relate to the later, i found myself hesitant to read A Sparrow Falls. For this reason, I struggled to get into the book. It was a terribly tragic ending, but was not predictable which is sometimes the case with Wilbur Smith books. I was also pleased that the hero of the book, Mark Anders, did not succomb to the same fate as Sean Courtney in life and in love. I was drawn to the character and pre ...more
Suzana Vuksanovic
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves intrigue and adventure
Recommended to Suzana by: me
I love ALL of Wilbur Smith's books, but of-course I like some better than others.
This book wasn't in the top echelon of his writing, in my opinion.
The plot is as Wilbur Smithesque as you could want: the grown up estranged son of the powerful and wealthy Sean Courtney returns mysteriously rich and ready to play politics - dirty politics, as dirty as necessary. Being smart, Dirk Courtney gets his minions to get their hands dirty instead of his. Add to the mix Mark Anders, who Sean met in the trenc
Wilbur Smith never disappoints. In this 3rd book of the Courtney Series, two Courtney men go to war in France, but only one returns. The trip home aboard ship turns into a life and death struggle for the newest Courtney and we see parts of Africa I've never even heard of. All the characters are memorable and I've already started The Burning Shore. ***Note: If you've never read a Courtney book and want to read them chronologically, books #9,10,and11 are prequels to the others, just written later. ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
After reading the first two books in this series, I had high hopes for this one! But it was fairly disappointing. It continues the saga of the Courtney family, but the story line this time was quite predictable and a bit boring. I couldn't connect with any of the characters and only kept reading because I hoped it would get better. I did enjoy the wildlife and nature descriptions of Chaka's Gate and fantasizing about how the country's wildlife preserves may have come to pass. Note: graphic sexua ...more
Lavada Dee
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great book and it would have to be because it's over 600 pages. It holds you captive from the first page to the last and has it all. Action, wonderful descriptive, love, a hero to absolutely love. ...more
Donna Dieckmann
Nov 08, 2016 added it
Shelves: 2016
Thanks again for new characters
Sadly, saying goodbye to others
Christian D.  Orr
My Dad (God rest his soul) and several of my South African friends & colleagues were very fond of this novel, and now I can see why. Packed with action, sex, political intrigue, and historical insights into South African culture (uppercrust white society, working class whites, and Zulu alike) during the first several post-WWI years.
--p. 5: "A sky the colour of old bruises hung low over the battlefields of France, and rolled with ponderous dignity towards the German lines." Catchy opening sentenc
Mr Roy Davidson
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I was very confused for about the first third of this book as there was only the very briefest mention of Sean Courtney and everything else was about Mark Anders. I was also disappointed about the characters that all but disappeared in this book. Gary Courtney was mentioned in about half a dozen lines - but he was a major character in books 1 and 2. I was expecting book 3 to be all about the expansion of the relationship between Michael and Sean Courtney, but Michael was "killed off" without har ...more
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was by far my favorite of the Courtney Cycle, and perhaps the most refreshing too. Much of that has to do with our new protagonist. A young man, a non-Courtney importantly, that finds himself thrust into the drama of this turbulent family outlives and outlasts his challengers. He finds love, loses it, and finds it again. He re-learns the beauty and majesty of the natural world after years in the trenches of the Western Front, but must first overcome those who seek to destroy the idyllic fro ...more
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wilbur Smith introduces a new character into his Courtney series: Mark Anders, a sharpshooter who helps the British in the Great War by risking his life to save others. He is the lowly soldier and Sean Courtney is the Brigadier General but they become friends.

The story is full of action with Dirk Courtney playing a major villain role despite his wealth, power and influence. Mark is one of the nicest guys anyone could meet, and he has morals and conscience to match. The scene is set and the read
Mark Adkins
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed with this book and did not enjoy it as much as the first two books in the series.

I think one of the reasons is when this book takes place. It starts off near the end of the First World War, quite a time jump from the ending of the second book. I would have like to see what happened between the books and the intro to the war and more of the First World War. Later on in the story, we do get some background of what happened when a character is doing research in old newspapers, b
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Following on from Sound of Thunder we follow the Courtney family as they fight their way through the First World War but this time we focus on Mark Anders, the son that Sean Courtney never had but always wanted. As the fighting comes to end, Mark returns home to find that other members of the Courtney family have destroyed everything he loves, triggering his quest for revenge that leads to his falling in love with the (rather spoilt) Storm Courtney and places himself in the middle of the South A ...more
Mary Pimbblet
Nov 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Yet again Wilbur Smith tries to pack far too much into one novel. I loved the start, Mark Anders story was genuinely interesting, but it all seemed to go a bit wrong once the Courtney's became involved. Mark becomes a flat character, brilliant at everything, good looking, and not mercenary at all. His only role is to make the evil characters look as bad as possible, but as they're depicted in such a way that they are completely unredeemably sadistic, it isn't really needed.
Wilbur Smith is great
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's something both romantic and tragic about stories set in Africa, and Wilbur really got me in with this one, largely through his passionate Mark Anders character. It’s a reminder that life isn’t black and white, and that it’s easily lost, be it human, animal or environmental. “And now he felt a real concern that Pungushe was dead. For such a splendid animal, death was a shabby bargain.” “Pungushe saw the thing break in him at last. The cold stillness of hatred and guilt and horror broke, a ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled on to 'When The Lion Feeds' and I was hooked! The storytelling here is outstanding.
Continued onward with 'The Sound of Thunder' where I struggled a bit with some parts. All in all a very good book again and I read the 'A Sparrow Falls' with renewed and restored appetite for Mr Smiths story about The Courtney family.

Not disappointed at all! :) There are parts in this book that had me rooting for developments that, I can imagine, would made a shrink want to see me on a regular basis!
I g
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's been many years since I Last read a Wilbur Smith Novel
This is still only my second! I Can't remember what the first
one was, But I do remember not enjoying it. So it was with a lot
of doubt I approached this one. Maybe the 30 odd years that have passed
helped me understand the vivid Picture Wilbur Smith paints a lot better
But I'd like to think it's the way the story flowed! Fast paced & always so
well written, If you're a Wilbur Smith Fan, you'll Know, If like me you might
need a bit of promptin
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
After loving the first and reading the second within a week I decided to end the first set of Courtney Trilogy with A Sparrow Falls.
Ranked lower than my previous two Smith books but still thoroughly enjoyable.
It took a different tone in my opinion compared to the other two, the adventure and style was certain still there however in my opinion it grew and changed from the previous two. Maybe I was still nostalgic of reading the other two from Sean Courtney's perspective but this book is fantastic
Newreader Nancy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheri Robinson
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wilbur Smith does it again. I love this story. Wilbur Smith makes an amazing tale full of setting descriptions that I could I see in my mind. Beautiful, wonderful, intense and wild settings and characters. The characters came to life and were easy to love and hate. Some characters instantly become heroes. There is a life lesson that if you are patient and don't take revenge, you maybe just come out ahead. I immediately went out and purchased the next few books in the series. ...more
Inderpreet Singh
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Inderpreet by: Ravi Bhasin
After 100 pages, when author tells the age of protagonist, then this novel is really some heavy stuff to be read. His descriptions of Storm and Mark cannot be written any better. Reading out lion and lioness making out and sharing their quarry, fails any telecast by Discovery channel. If Dirk had been a real life character then he would have won Oscar for best Villain every year. It's like I am at loss after finishing the novel. Long live Africa!! ...more
Ernest Godfrey
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A big book for a big story

This is my third read by this guy and I have loved everyone. His attention to detail is amazing and a little confusing. He used words that are so genuine and that only somebody who has lived the book can know so how do you research those words you sort of have to know the answer before you can ask the question. The descriptions actually put you in the scene, fantastic well done sir
Pedro Palhano
Finally it's over. After 50% progress, I skipped countless pages of boredom. What a waste of time! This was the sixth book in Courtney's series I read. Completely different from the previous ones. I think there is no line of action. There are too many unnecessary chapters. The ending was absurd: after being responsible for hundreds of murders, the main characters intend to bring the villain to trial rather than doing justice with their own hands, as they did throughout the book. ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved the imagery and the details of historical events as they happed to the characters. I was torn between rating the book a 3 or 4. A more accurate score from my perspective is 3.75. I have enjoyed a few books in the Courtney saga, and feel confident that each time the author weaves a story it gets better.
Kevin Read
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Epic continuation of the Courtney family serving South Africa.. great suspense and storytelling of the best..everything in here from captures south Africa's beauty and wildlife ..felt like I was there. ...more
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Mildly Inaccurate 4 22 May 19, 2016 01:53PM  

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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 19 books)
  • When the Lion Feeds (Courtney, #1)
  • Sound of Thunder (Courtney, #2)
  • 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)
  • Blue Horizon (Courtney, #11)

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