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Retired guerrilla fighter Sean Courtney is over forty years old and facing the possibility of losing his professional hunting license. His long time friend and client Riccardo Monterro is approaching sixty and is hunting with Sean on his last safari accompanied by his beautiful twenty-six year old daughter Claudia. Hunting Tukutela, a grand old bull tusker who may carry the heaviest set of ivory in all of Africa the three of them along with an entourage of black trackers and gun bearers tenaciously follow the old bull across the border into war torn Mozambique.

Caught up in the revolution Sean encounters one of his most bitter enemies from his guerrilla days and finds himself and his friends in a desperate struggle for survival. Amidst the horrors of war he falls in love with young Claudia and she likewise falls in love with him, but the trick is to get out of Mozambique alive so that they can enjoy their new found love.

This is a tale loaded with Africana, from exotic wildlife, swarming insects, swamps, and vast wilderness to the political climate it is a story that can only be told by one who knows Africa as Wilbur Smith does. There is action, danger and romance along with such potentially volatile subjects as the African viewpoint of racism and wildlife management.

If there's one criticism that I have it's that chapter seven seems to come into the story awkwardly. That is not to say that it is not well written by any means. The only problem that I have with it is that at least for me it seems to interrupt the flow of the story. This chapter covers the life of Tuketela from the time of his birth until he is being tracked by the Courtney hunting party in his old age. With a bit of tweaking this chapter would make an interesting short story in itself, but if it were entirely ommitted from this novel the story would not miss a beat. This is a small criticism and should not deter readers in any way.

Last year I was introduced to Wilbur Smith when read The Diamond Hunters
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  • Seller location: Christchurch City, Canterbury, NZ

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