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Publisher's Summary

Wilbur Smith has won acclaim worldwide as the master of the historical novel. Now, in Assegai, he takes readers on an unforgettable African adventure set against the gathering clouds of war.

It is 1913, and Leon Courtney, an ex-soldier turned professional hunter in British East Africa, guides the rich and powerful from America and Europe on big-game safaris. Leon had never sought fame, but an expedition alongside U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt has made him one of the most sought-after hunters on the continent. Soon, he finds that with celebrity comes not just wealth - but also danger.

Leon is recruited by his uncle Penrod Ballantyne, commander of the British forces in East Africa, to gather information on one of his clients: Count Otto von Meerbach, a German industrialist whose company builds aircraft and vehicles for the Kaiser's burgeoning army. While spying, Leon falls desperately in love with von Meerbach's beautiful and enigmatic mistress, Eva von Wellberg.

On the eve of the World War, Leon stumbles on a plot by Count von Meerbach that could wipe out the British forces in Africa. He finds himself left alone to frustrate von Meerbach's plan, and in grave peril as he learns more about the enigmatic Eva.

Set amidst the tensions that will spark a war across continents, Assegai delivers the fast-paced action and vivid history that has made Wilbur Smith an internationally best-selling author.

©2009 Wilbur Smith; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Jim
  • Boston, MA, United States
  • 06-09-09

Entertaining but I'm not much for sport hunting

Don't read this book if you don't like killing animals for sport. Narrator is great and a good story otherwise. I grew up hunting but only for food. This book deals with early 20th century big game hunting for about 90 percent of the time. Then a little love and WWI brewing.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

well written spell binder

This book is fantastic. The writing is first rate, the plot moves without pause, plenty of moments where you will just sit in your car listening - as another review coined the term - driveway moments. A good piece of fiction will be able to take to you to a place and time, make you see what is happening, become familiar with the people, care for the sympathetic curse the villians. This book does all of that in great style. I listen to a lot of books, this is in my top five.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • William
  • DALLAS, TX, United States
  • 04-04-12

Found the Beginning of the Courtney Family

What did you love best about Assegai?

What I appreciated the most was they the story way laid out. There was a sequence, and a cadence that ran true throughout.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mamma. I have a soft spot in my heart for those who are gifted with Mystic abilities.<br/> I became attached to Percy. He found what he had always sough in Leon's strenghts and weaknesses,t and he gave Leon what Leon had always sought.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, Those In Peril. Excellent with his language skills. Voice has a timbre that holds one's attention.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The best is yet to come.

Any additional comments?

Fun stuff.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bonnie
  • Bellmore, NY, United States
  • 05-23-11

Wonderfully written and narrated

I love historical novels, and Wilbur Smith, does a fine job with them. Simon Vance one of my favorite narrators made this book even better. If you are a person who can not stomach, that fact that there is horrible inhumanity, vulgarity, and lust and passion in the world, then read something else. I found the combat sequences, the description of safari in Africa just amazing. Wilbur Smith made every moment of this story seem alive. Yes, there is cruelty, and gruesome acts by wild beasts in Africa, but the human beasts are worse. If you enjoy historical novels, and are not put off by the honesty of brutality, that humanity can inflict upon each other knowing good people do suffer most. Then you will enjoy this story. One of my favorites by WS.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gregory
  • Parkland, FL, United States
  • 07-06-09

Good story, Great Narator

Simon Vance has done a fantastic job giving voice to the characters of a typically compelling Wilbur Smith novel. I will be looking into other books read by Mr. Vance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gary
  • Santa Fe, NM, United States
  • 06-30-09


Historical novel, great read. reader was excellent. Used many voices. Loved the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I loved the descriptive involvement of the book. The characters are people one comes to care about. The reality of life in Africa in the just before WWI is really interesting. The book was a page turner for me. I highly recommend it for an enjoyable read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • W.Denis
  • Savannah, GA, United States
  • 05-19-09

Don't miss it

Great story, well read need say no more

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gary
  • Durham, CA, USA
  • 06-14-09


Wilbur Smith is very descriptive and colorfull in his descriptions of people and the countryside. I like the personality traits of the different characters

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • D.
  • 05-28-09

Great read!

Wilbur Smith writes adventures on a grand scale and this is one of his best. The landscape of Africa and the background of events leading to WWI make this a non stop adventure ride. I look forward to every Wilbur Smith book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful