I see that novelist Wilbur Smith has died aged 88, and I have to mourn one of the world’s great storytellers.
Longtime Readers will recall that when anyone asks me to recommend books about South Africa, I recommend Wilbur Smith’s Courtney trilogy (When The Lion Feeds, The Sound Of Thunder and A Sparrow Falls ) as the best of the bunch (along with Stuart Cloete’s Rags Of Glory, for the Boer War).
Having read almost all Smith’s Africa novels, I have to say that after a while the stories become somewhat formulaic — but that does not take away from their wonderful pacing, excellent settings and gripping conclusions. In fact, it says quite a lot that I, knowing all that, still have read and continue to read his books as soon as they appear on the (digital) shelves. In other words, even though I pretty much know what’s going to happen within the first few chapters, I still continue to read because at all times, I learn stuff about the location(s) of the stories and their characters.
Sooon there’ll be no more Wilbur Smith novels, and I have to say, a little joy has gone out of my reading world.