Historical novelist Wilbur Smith has taken a departure from his Egyptian series and added another chapter featuring the Courtney family, an English family that
have planted their roots in Kenya.
His latest novel, “War Cry” (William Morrow, 496 pages), spans that pivotal era in world history encompassing both the First and Second World Wars.
During the Great War, Leon Courtney rescued the beautiful Eva, who had posed as the German Count Meerburg’s mistress, but was, in fact, a British spy.
The drama of the First War united Leon and Eva, who married and soon were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Saffron, who was every bit as intelligent and courageous as her indomitable mother.
Much like her mother, she is recruited to serve her King and the British Empire as a spy.
But like all too many families, the Great War had left its tragic mark on the Courtney family. One brother, Francis, had been exposed to toxic gas which left him physically and emotionally scarred.
Like a festering wound, the emotional scars left him with an all consuming hatred of the British empire — a condition easily exploited by elements sympathetic to Nazi Germany.
As the world pivots towards the catastrophe of the Second World War, Saffron Courtney meets and falls in love with Gerhard, the second son of the late Count Meerburg. In a world divided in mortal conflict, theirs is a tragic love story of two lovers divided by war.
Wilbur Smith writes beautifully of his native Kenya, and for those who enjoy a riveting ride through the tumultuous period of the first half of the twentieth century, “War Cry” is a novel which will grab the reader’s attention from the first to the last page.