Monsoon by Wilbur Smith

Monsoon (The Courtneys)

Monsoon is the sequel to Birds of Prey. Hal Courtney returned home to Devon with his Ethiopian wife and, after her death, married twice more. He now has four sons: William, Thomas, Guy and Dorian. The story begins when he is tasked with travelling to Africa on behalf of the East India Company to stamp out piracy along the East African coast. He takes his younger sons with him, leaving his recently married heir, William, to take care of the estate in his absence. Hal traces the pirate, but one of his sons is captured during a battle with the pirate’s ships. Hal vows to find and rescue his son, no matter the cost.

As with all Wilbur Smith’s books,, Monsoon clearly shows his love of Africa, its people and its wildlife. The pirates in this book are Muslim, but there is never a sense of ‘Muslims bad, Christians good’. There are good and bad people of both faiths in Monsoon and Smith manages to avoid two-dimensional stereotypes.

Monsoon is as exciting as Birds of Prey was. There are battles on land and at sea. There are love interests and sex, but never gratuitous or over-explicit. There is betrayal and revenge, and passages that made me cry a little, as well as passages that made me want to cheer. Monsoon is an excellent book to follow Birds of Prey.

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