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Jim sprang back on to the truck of the violently rocking wagon, and stared across at Manatasee. She saw him and pointed her assegai at his face. Then he saw the length of slow-match had been exposed across the last yard of trampled earth below the mound on which the queen stood. The swift flame shot along it, leaving the fuse blackened and twisted as it burned. Jim clenched his jaws and waited for the explosion.
A powerful enemy. A land of second chances.
Jim Courtney is protected by all the wealth and influence that his family's successful business, the Courtney Brothers Trading Company, can provide in the Dutch-owned colonies of South Africa.
Louisa Leuven is an orphaned young woman who escaped the plague only to be unjustly imprisoned and transported to the Cape. When a storm destroys her prison ship, Jim is her only hope of escape.
But Louisa and Jim have greater adventures in the African wilds ahead of them: they must flee from Dutch forces who seek not only to recapture their prisoner, but also to hunt down and hang Jim Courtney - and punish the other member of the Courtney family, however they can...
A Courtney Series adventure - Book 3 in the Birds of Prey trilogy
Fans of Smith's previous chronicles involving the swashbuckling Courtneys (The Sunbird, etc.) will embrace this event-packed addition, which finds the British clan plying the shipping trade in 18th-century South Africa. Set 25 years after Smith's Monsoon (1999), it concentrates on the family's "new" generation headstrong young Jim Courtney and his proud cousin Mansur. The feverish action begins when Jim falls under the spell of a stunningly beautiful prisoner aboard a Dutch convict ship. Naturally, she is guiltless. Naturally, he helps her escape into the dark continent's wilderness, placing them both in peril and the family business in jeopardy. What follows is a relentless succession of harrowing chases, narrow escapes, battles on land and sea, assassinations and assignations. Pigott-Smith's British accent, at times clipped enough to draw blood, softens to an almost roguish intimacy during the novel's romantic interludes, when women writhe "voluptuously" or make gifts of "the flower of maidenhood." For the scheming non-British villains, he opts for a sinister whine that resembles the voice of the late Peter Lorre on speed. In short, he is the ideal audio interpreter for this highly melodramatic, ripping yarn. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's/Dunne hardcover (Forecasts, Apr. 28).