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Uccelli da preda

(Courtney #9)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  9,563 ratings  ·  255 reviews
E' il 1667. Il conflitto navale tra l'Impero britannico e Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso d'Olanda è al suo culmine e la guerra di corsa infuria a ogni latitudine. Sir Francis Courteney, al comando di una piccola flotta, incrocia al largo del Capo di Buona Speranza, ingaggiato dal re d'Inghilterra per intercettare i galeoni olandesi che tornano dalle Indie carichi di spezie, ...more
Hardcover, 684 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Longanesi & C.
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,563 ratings  ·  255 reviews

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Alas, I did not learn something essential or scholarly in any way by reading Birds of Prey. I might not have helped me understand history or comprehend anything fundamental to my life, but I would say that reading Birds of Prey was fun and allowed me hours of enjoyable and dashing adventure within Wilbur Smith’s well written story.

All in all, it is a great pirate story set on east coast of Africa in the 1600's. The author appears to know his sailing (of which I am totally ignorant, but there is
Richard Derus
Rating: 3* of five

Wilbur, Wilbur...yours isn't the stuff of literary legend, but usually you buckle a *mean* swash and cause images of Erroll Flynn to dash around your reader's head (thanks for that, BTW).

In this book, Wilbur, you lost your way. I don't expect autheticity of language, and don't even WANT it, in books set in the 17th century. But sometimes I felt I was watching a mini-series dumbed down for a TV audience as I read this installment of the generational saga of the Courteneys. Plent
Jim A
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The true beginning of the Courtney saga, even though it was written well after the other Courtney books.

Swashbuckling adventure on the highs seas, moving to the African continent and escape from Dutch prison. A chase across South Africa and retribution against those who betrayed the family.

I thought this was an excellent story.
Mark Hennion
Please don't let the 3 stars fool you: I enjoyed this book. More specifically, I enjoyed the story. Wilbur Smith excels in performing perhaps the two most important elements of fiction─ creating likable characters and detestable villains. The trouble I had was with execution.

Birds of Prey has an uneven feel; the first third of the novel unfolds at breakneck pace with great care given to explaining to the reader elements of nautical life and ship terminology. All of this is done quite necessarily
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great pirate story set on east coast of Africa in the 16oo's. WS knows his sailing, his history, and as always is a world-class storyteller. What a crazy time that must have been, the age of colonial conquest. I may go back and re-read some of the others I have sitting around the house.
It’s a book about pirates/privateers double-crossing each other, duking it out with each other on land and sea, and doing other fun stuff with healthy doses of kinky boning and horrid violence. What’s not to like?! Seriously though, I was very impressed with my first book of Mr. Smith’s. All of the good stuff that historical fiction lovers like is here; lots of period detail, sightseeing, larger-than-life characters, historical context, and so on and so forth. I guess when it comes to publishing ...more
Thom Swennes
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the small country of The Netherlands spread its sails, to become a major world trade player. With the establishment of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, Holland was soon equal with England as king of the seas. This and other internal, external, and political differences lead to a total of six Anglo-Dutch Wars, spanning intermittently between 1652 and 1810. The Second Anglo-Dutch War, from 1665 to 1667 saw an expansion of hostilities far from Eur ...more
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, by far one the best reads I've had in awhile.

Its amazing how this novel can cover so many genre's and still be cohesive.

There is Piracy, War battles, Swordsmanship, A Historical aspect, Adventure on the seas and the continent, Romance, and even an Arthurian legend thrown in. Even a Happy ending.

It was Good from the first word to the last word.

They say don't judge a book by its cover or its title, and maybe that is why i have overlooked it for this long.

So check this one out, you won
Mina Villalobos
Err, I don't even know what to say about this book. For starters, I didn't know this wasn't the first book of the saga, so clearly I kind of just jumped in the Courtney's party and was a bit confused. Second, I did not foresee the amount of smut this book runs with. Not bad smut, really, just, woah, caught me by surprise the first few super raunchy scenes. There was one swash buckling battle followed by some raunch for the first hundred pages or so.

The characters were pretty shallow as far as c
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I never was big on pirate sagas. Until I read this book. None of that phony 'Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Rum' Errol Flynn nonsense here! Smith is no genteel Victorian novel writer, although he's close enough to that genre to not forget to entertain his readers. Smith's feel for Africa and solid knowledge of the time this book is set in arent from research but from love of his subject. You can feel it all through the book. With Evil Characters like Katinka, the kinky Dutch wife of the Governor of Ca ...more
Mar 24, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Stephen King says: "BEST HISTORICAL NOVELIST. I say Wilbur Smith, with his swashbuckling novels of Africa. The bodices rip and the blood flows. You can get lost in Wilbur Smith and misplace all of August."
Alyssia Cooke
Whilst I certainly enjoyed this novel, it has a definite tendancy to veer into the two dimensional at times and I found the descriptions of our young leads virile manhood tiring by the end. For a virgin, he certainly goes through his share of women. Maybe it's the sign of a 18 year old who grew up in male company, but it could certainly stand to be reduced.

The pacing though is well done, and whilst nautical terms are frequently used, Smith successfully avoids becoming didactic in his approach. H
Jeff Johnston
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Never a dull moment.
Jul 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Smith begins the final collection of Courtney novels with an interesting historical journey. Transporting readers back to 1667, the Anglo-Dutch naval war is at its zenith as Sir Francis Courtney and his son, Henry (Hal), sail off the coast of southern Africa. They await the Dutch ships, full of riches, headed back from faraway lands. As they hold letters of permission from Charles II, both Courtney men seek to act as privateers at a time when playing pirates on the high seas was completely permi ...more
Lizzy B
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A gripping read of the high calibre i have come to expect from Smith. He effectively manages to create a plot out of his regular themes (such as romance, tragedy, family ties, war & battles, good vs. evil and adventure), using a touch of history while keeping a level of freshness, unexpected plot twists.

(Quite how unexpected they are i will leave you to decide for yourself, since i am not blessed with the same ability to pre-empt plot lines as a few individuals i know - possibly because i g
May 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good for the genre, exciting and absorbing. The characters are thin and stereotyped.

The main character starts out as a young teenager, horny and eager for adventure. He see horrible events and grows up to be a leader among men, etc. but the more he matures the less likeable he is. Some questions for the author: Hal has no problem marrying a Muslim Balinese woman--indeed, he doesn't even seem to realize that she is not Christian. But later in the book he seems motivated by pure Christian ze
Kathleen (itpdx)
A swashbuckling adventure tale. An exotic setting--the east coast of 17th century Africa, a young, handsome, brave, bright hero under the tutelage of his strict but loving father with a loyal, strong, brave, wise indigenous side-kick, naval battles, sword fights, lions, crocodiles, hidden treasure, a secret society, an evil, implacable but honorable foe, a couple of slimy bad guys, a beautiful, high-born nymphomaniac to relieve our hero of his virginity—what could go wrong? All of the characters ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me back to amy teenage years of reading when characters did not need to be fleshed out and adventures just keep happening on the seas. All I wanted was excitement then and apparently needed a dose of now. Back and forth across the seas around Africa, fighting both those on the Queen's side and those that are Dutch, loving and marrying twice, hiding booty and grabbing it up again, repairing ships, sailing them... It's all there. I didn't ask for more, not consistency, not plausibility, just ...more
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a bit … curious. Very much a slightly grown-up “Boys own adventure” book, it certainly wasn’t as good as some of the later books in the Courtney series. It does suffer a bit from falling into cliché, especially when it comes to the bad guys.

Towards the end there was a very left-of-field twist that appeared, which I don’t feel worked very well (But I shan’t go into details in case of spoilering.)

Overall I probably wouldn’t bother unless you really like this type of swashbuckling.
Yet another great Wilbur Smith book that kept me turning pages. Smith's books generally follow the same formula, but his mixture of history, setting, and action really works. This entry is set during the 17th century and does a great job of using English, Dutch, and Islamic history to move the story. As always, the reader gets the tough as nails heroes, the lusty and attractive women, the bad guys who are always bad, and the all knowing African mentor. But like I said earlier, this really works ...more
Mitch C.
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first Wilbur Smith book,

Absolutely loved it, the adventure the epic scope as well as the sincere emotion in which the reader is dragged through from overwhelming and desolate sadness to gloriously profound victory which is beset upon a wicked and harsh set of odds. I love the sea and anything involving pirates however this is the first book that's really captivated me as a reader into fully believing this story from back to front, I cannot wait until I get into the next one.
Brian Durfee
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#37 BIRDS OF PREY by Wilbur Smith. Durfee's top 50 novels countdown. I've read all 40 of Wilbur Smith's African Adventure novels. *Warning* If you like animals DO NOT read a Wilbur Smith novel. Much bloody slaughter of African beasts in a Wilbur Smith. I also highly recommend RIVERGOD, MONSOON, and A FALCON FLIES.
Natasa Tovornik
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Wilbur Smith is a great novel writter, does great reasearch and you cannot let go of the book once started to read. Birds of Prey is one ov the Courtney saga, but can be read as a stand-a-lone. One of my favourites.
Spencer Hawke
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelee Bush
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ahhhh, Wilbur Smith...high seas junk food for the senses...loved it, page turner, awesome
Dave Schulte
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A smokin' good tale of swashbuckling!
This is not my type of book even though I've seen all instalments of the Pirates of the Caribbean... Pirates, ahoy, arrrrhhhh. Or rather British and Dutch noblesse fighting beyond (across/below?) the Line. Loads of things happen in these 700 pages, so if you're into it, please be ready for the hell of a ride. We have here a bit of cliché characters: a wise father and a wise exotic (meaning, ex-slave) mentor, a young pup who learns everything the hard way but is of an angelic beauty, a worthy ene ...more
Vinoth G
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written with extraordinary magnificence. Birds of Prey wheels fast through time and space covering adventures encountered by Francis Courtney and his light and pride, his son Hal Courtney. Filling each page with fast moving events Wilbur Smith has delivered a well researched experience to the eyes and hearts of readers. You could smell the gun powder and hear the deafening blasts of cannons. You could taste the rusty smell of blood in the air and feel the tight silky skin of the young women as t ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’ll preface my review by saying I do like a bit of Wilbur Smith. I’ve read a fair few of his books now thanks to my Dad (who is a big fan of the older and non ghost written books) and include the Taita series as one of my favourites...along with Sunbird etc etc

This however for some reason wasn’t for me.

I don’t mind the concept of ‘pirates’ or treasure seekers or whatever but the detail in the book relating to all the boat related things was just too much. It seemed almost too technical for me (
Brogyn Winifred
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Easy to read and vividly descriptive. The since of history and detail is up to task while maintaining a soaring narrative. A long book that moves quickly. The time period feels very genuine. This book does justice to the reputable seaman's trade. The nautical terms and jargon are all encompassing! haha. All of the characters are memorable and multidimensional. I even cried. Lots of adventure and action! Now I'm hooked on this series.
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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 18 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 (Courtney #7)
  • Golden Fox (Courtney #8)
  • Monsoon (Courtney #10)
  • Blue Horizon  (Courtney, #11)