'Africa!' The sound of that mysterious name on his own lips raised goose pimples along his arms and made the thick dark hair prickle on the back of his neck.
A simple mission. A battle for their lives.
It is 1667 and the war between the Dutch and the English continues apace. Sir Francis Courtney, his son Hal and their crew are carried around the southern tip of the African colonies by the good ship Lady Edwina, licensed to attack and seize the treasure-laden ships of the Dutch East India company. When they capture a Dutch trader and hold the passengers to ransom, Sir Francis hopes only for a good price and a small sense of satisfaction.
But this is unlawful territory they sail in. An unexpected betrayal will mean the men on board will face greater peril than they have ever faced before - and many good men may never see home again . . .
A Courtney Series adventure - Book 1 in the Birds of Prey trilogy
Swashbuckling adventures at sea and on land highlight Smith's latest (after The Seventh Scroll), a number-one bestseller in England that's likely to climb the charts here. Set along the African coast during the mid-1600s, this fierce and bloody yarn features Hal Courteney, a classic seafaring hero in the making. The young sailor has been raised under the stern tutelage of his father, Sir Francis Courteney, and the somewhat gentler guidance of his African-born mentor, Aboli. Word of a truce between England and Holland doesn't reach Sir Francis in time to prevent him from capturing a treasure-laden Dutch galleon. Falsely accused of piracy, the Corteneys soon have more enemies than they can handle, including the insatiable libertine Katinka van de Velde, who sets her sights on the Courteney charge. Hal's coming-of-age is predictably spiced with romance, sea battles, imprisonments, daring escapes and an exotic voyage from Southern Africa to the Red Sea; even buried treasure and the Holy Grail figure into the plot, as befits a tale of uncompromising good guys and their irredeemably evil enemies. Smith's depiction of the African coast, and of life aboard ship, is vivid and believable. He handles the action sequences well, opting for short, trenchant paragraphs to sustain momentum. After 27 novels, Smith knows what his readers want, and once again he delivers the goods. Major ad/promo.