Assegai (Courtney Family Adventures)
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Wilbur Smith has won acclaim worldwide as the master of the historical novel. Now, in Assegai he takes readers on an unforgettable African adventure set against the gathering clouds of war.
It is 1913 and Leon Courtney, an ex-soldier turned professional hunter in British East Africa, guides the rich and powerful from America and Europe on big-game safaris. Leon had never sought fame, but an expedition alongside U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt has made him one of the most sought-after hunters on the continent. Soon, he finds that with celebrity comes not just wealth―but also danger.
Leon is recruited by his uncle Penrod Ballantyne, commander of the British forces in East Africa, to gather information on one of his clients: Count Otto von Meerbach, a German industrialist whose company builds aircraft and vehicles for the Kaiser's burgeoning army. While spying, Leon falls desperately in love with von Meerbach's beautiful and enigmatic mistress, Eva von Wellberg.
On the eve of the World War, Leon stumbles on a plot by Count von Meerbach that could wipe out the British forces in Africa. He finds himself left alone to frustrate von Meerbach's plan, and in grave peril as he learns more about the enigmatic Eva.
Set amidst the tensions that will spark a war across continents, Assegai delivers the fast-paced action and vivid history that has made Wilbur Smith an internationally bestselling author.
Graf Otto knew that her only languages were German and French. Leon refuelled the Butterfly from one of the fifty-gallon drums that had been brought from Nairobi by Gustav in the big Meerbach truck. While he was doing this he sent Manyoro and Loikot to the top of the hill above the camp to join in with the Masai grapevine and gather any news that might be of interest. Once or twice he looked up from refuelling to listen to the shrill distant voices, calling to each other from hilltop to
or French. ‘It is green-pigeon casserole, Memsahib.’ ‘Ishmael’s celestial version thereof,’ Leon added. ‘It should only be eaten with bared head on bended knee.’ ‘I’m so starving that I’m prepared to go down on both knees. It must be the swimming, or something else, that is so good for the appetite,’ she said. He laughed. ‘Viva! That little something else.’ Immediately they had eaten, they were overwhelmed by a wonderful weariness. Manyoro and Loikot had built a small thatched shelter for
order paper. Then Eddy Roberts allowed him out of the hut and the askari lifted him on to his horse. His ankles were so swollen and raw where the manacles had galled him that he could barely walk. Nevertheless Eddy ordered his men to rope his ankles together under the horse’s belly. It was an unpleasant journey up the Rift Valley to the railway. Eddy made it more so by riding behind Leon’s mount and prodding it into a trot over the rough ground. With his ankles bound, Leon was unable to pace
door. The women shrieked and covered their mouths. Then there was a rush for the observation windows and they stared down in horror at Graf Otto’s body, dwindling rapidly in size as it fell towards the earth. Then, abruptly, a long white pennant streamed from the bulky rucksack strapped to his back, snapped open and assumed the shape of a monstrous mushroom. Graf Otto’s death plunge came to an abrupt halt and, miraculously, he was suspended in mid-air, in defiance of the laws of nature. The
head waiter, who hovered nearby in his flowing white ankle-length kanza, scarlet sash and tasselled fez. ‘Malonzi! Please bring us a bottle of the 1879 Château Margaux from my private bin.’ Malonzi returned bearing the lightly dusted claret bottle in whitegloved hands with the reverence it deserved. Penrod watched him go through the solemn ritual of drawing the cork, sniffing it, then decanting the glowing red wine. He poured the first few drops into a crystal glass. Penrod swirled it around and