In a triumphant return to his much-loved Courtney series, Wilbur Smith introduces us to the bravest new member of the famed family, Saffron Courtney.
Saffron grows up on a sprawling Kenyan country estate, under the watchful eye of her father, prominent businessman and distinguished war veteran Leon Courtney. Her life is idyllic and sheltered until a family tragedy forces her to grow up much faster than necessary – as she becomes a young woman her ambitions lead her to England for an education while her stubbornness and resilience draw her inevitably towards the complicated political machinations developing in the lead-up to WWII. Gerhard von Meerbach is the privileged and idealistic younger brother of Konrad von Meerbach, heir to the Meerbach Motor Works, and vocal supporter of Germany’s National Socialist Party and Hitler’s racial ideology. Gerhard struggles to stay true to his principles in an increasingly cruel world headed towards war. His friendship with a Jewish man puts him in a dangerous position, living as he does under the scrutinising gaze of the Gestapo.
As the Second World War looms over them all, Saffron and Gerhard’s worlds collide – but will there be more to unite them than tear them apart?
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Review This Product
Sun, 2 Jun 2019 | Review by: Breakaway R
Another exciting tale revolving around the Courtney family.
In Germany just a few months into the Great War, a family solicitor is reporting that Graf Otto Von Meerbach is dead to his now widow. She has two young sons and has to break the news to them that their father is dead. The older boy, 10-year-old Konrad, is the new Graf. This is a frightening prospect for his mother. The younger boy, 3-year-old Gerhard, is an altogether more pleasant child but is overshadowed and tormented by his older brother.
In Kenya, British East Africa, a skinny seven-year-old girl, is coaxing her horse in the 1926 gymkhana. The girl is Saffron Courtney and her father, Leon, is the head of the Courtney family and empire that stretches across Africa. Leon made his money in the Great War and his wife, Eva, was once the mistress of the late von Meerbach.
The book is centred around Saffron and follows her through school, the loss of her mother and into university and adulthood in the 1930s. It also, however, comes back to tell the tale of the Von Meerbachs because, at some point in their lives, Saffron and the Von Meerbach family will meet.
As you would expect with any novel set in the 1930s and involving Germany, the Nazis loom large and cast an ever-increasing shadow over events. There are "goodies and baddies" galore and some surprising twists and turns.
The tales of the fictional Courtney and Ballantyne families through the centuries have appeared in many of Smith’s books. War Cry is the second book in the Assegai trilogy. The first, Assegai, is set in pre-Great War British East Africa with a young Leon Courtney striving to stop German infiltration. The third book, Courtney’s War, is available and will be reviewed here soon.
Wilbur Smith has been writing novels for the past 50 plus years. He has lost none of his storytelling skills. A worthy 5-star book.
Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book for review.
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