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Publisher's Summary

’François, how many men up at the face?' 'Cave-in.' François's voice was now hysterically shrill. 'Cave-in.' He broke Sean's grip and raced away towards the lift station, the mud flying from his gumboots. His terror infected Sean and he ran a dozen paces after François before he stopped himself. For precious seconds he wavered with fear slithering round like a reptile in his stomach; go back to call the others and perhaps die with them or follow François and live.

Into the wilds of Natal in the 1870s are born Sean and Garrick Courtney, the twin brothers who could not be more different. Fate, war and the jealous schemes of a woman are to drive them even further apart. But as history unfolds a continent is awakening. And on its horizon is the promise of fortune, adventure, destiny and love.

©1964 Wilbur Smith (P)2013 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Critic Reviews

“Wilbur Smith is one of those benchmarks against whom others are compared” (The Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Story

A definite classic

When the Lion Feeds is a definite classic. Wilbur Smith's first published novel and still one of his best. It tells the story of Sean Courtenay from late childhood with his twin brother Garry, to his making it rich on the Witwatersrand and then losing it all, to his hunting elephants for ivory and getting rich again, to his marriage and birth of his son Dirk and his return to Witwatersrand and the tragic conclusion to a great novel. John Lee delivers a brilliant performance which enhances the already brilliant story. A great read and listen for Wilbur Smith fans. I hope more of Wilbur Smith's novels become available on Audible in the near future.

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  • N. Harrison
  • 03-10-15

Absolutely brilliant

If you could sum up When the Lion Feeds in three words, what would they be?

Amazing, Gripping, emotional

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sean: You see him develop from a mischievious boy into a noble man. You get pulled into his hardship and really drawn into his character.

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

I thought his accents were great. He really portraid the characters Sean and Duff

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had a very emotional attachment to the book an characters. Growing up in South Africa and visiting my Grandad's farm, this book really hit home. <br/><br/>Sean and Duff make a great pair and was good to listen about their solid friendship. The banter between them made me laugh on a few occasions. However, Sean's life is not an easy one and the book gets extremely sad at times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Donaldson
  • 11-07-13

Brilliant!

Where does When the Lion Feeds rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top third

Any additional comments?

I started with 'Those in Peril' by Wilbur Smith and enjoyed it so much I searched for other Wilbur Smith unabridged titles to try. When Lions Feed and Sound of Thunder are a joined story about Sean Courtney. These were every bit as good - akin to the detailed and eventful stories of Ken Follet. It does help if you have visited or lived in South Africa, but I was very impressed!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cinders
  • 09-08-17

brilliant

just as expected. Great writing and very good narration. Enjoyed it so much that I couldn't 'put it down!

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  • daisyrock
  • 09-05-17

Unbearable narrator - had to give up

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

It's simply the narrator. All the rolling 'R's and over-pronunciation... it's like a snooty version of the X-Factor announcer. I tried and tried to get used to him, but after persevering for several hours, just can't do it any more.

What was one of the most memorable moments of When the Lion Feeds?

There are plenty. The story is interesting and so are the characters. I would listen to this book if it had a different narrator.

Would you be willing to try another one of John Lee’s performances?

No.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes, the story is good - as far as I could stand to listen. I would buy this book again if it had a different narrator and finish it this time.

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  • Khonsu
  • 07-07-17

When Wilbur Smith ruled...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The depth of the main characters and the flow of story telling in this Courtney book shows why Wilber Smith is the finest writer in the genre. Anyway who has suffered the latest books, such as Pharoah, will notice the vast difference between Wilbur Smith's writing and those that so obviously have a shadow writer assisting as he's grown older.<br/><br/>For those with the bad Pharoah experience - please read the early Wilbur Smith novel and understand why he was the greatest.

What did you like best about this story?

Tells the changing times for the gold and diamond rushes in Africa in an in-depth but not over the top way.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

So many ups and downs between family members and loved ones.

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  • nia
  • 06-29-17

Absolutely excellent and absorbing.

I first read this book nearly 40 years ago and decided to revisit it in audio format. What a good decision! The story is totally absorbing and Wilbur Smith's writing style sublime. The narration is the icing on the cake making all the characters entirely credible - how does he do it...Can't wait to listen to the rest of the series.

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  • David
  • 03-26-17

Accent and pronunciation!!

well read but the worse SA accent. research the language. most irritating. Sean is English speaking being from Natal

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  • jordan
  • 11-26-16

Well told story....fizzles out in second half

This is an enjoyable story of a mans life that gives some insight into life growing up in South Africa in the mid 1800s

The plot seems to change multiple times and never really threads back together making it feel a bit like several short stories.....this lack of Overall continuity left me disappointed with the second half of this book.

The strength of the first half was enough that I would still recommend this book and I will read Wilbur smith again soon.

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  • Ashley
  • 08-18-16

Excellent

Read the book many times great to listen to the characters I know so well come to life. On to the next one "The Sound of Thunder"

Wilbur smith is one of my favourite authors a pity more of his books on audible are unabridged.

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  • Justin
  • 08-10-16

Brilliant

usual wilbur / Courtney brilliance. great story telling right up to the very end. x

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  • Hugh
  • 05-08-16

Still as good as it was in the beginning

I was first introduced to Wilbur Smith as an author in the early 1970's. I read When the Lion Feeds almost 50 years ago. I loved it then and nothing has changed. The narrator John Lee has added character to the story by using his ability with the South African accent. It was fantastic to re-acquainted with this first wonderful effort by my favourite author. Highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • alyssa
  • 06-14-17

Gold

A very entertaining book written by a consummate story teller. Smith transports to a different world.

John Lee is the gold standard for narration. He is a master.

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  • David
  • 03-30-17

amazing book.

One of the best I have ever read.
Gives a grest feel fr the land and its people.