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wilbur Smith

The Triumph Of The Sun

Wilbur Smith The Triumph Of The Sun
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Series:

Courtney Family Adventures

Biographical note:

Wilbur Smith was born in Central Africa. He has written thirty novels, all meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages and have sold over eighty million copies.

Excerpt from book:

Chapter One

Rebecca leant her elbows on the sill of the wide, unglazed window, and the heat of the desert blew into her face like the exhalation of a blast furnace. Even the river below her seemed to steam like a cauldron. Here it was almost a mile wide, for this was the season of High Nile. The flow was so strong that it created whirlpools and glossy eddies across the surface. The White Nile was green and fetid with the taint of the swamps through which it had so recently flowed, swamps that extended over an area the size of Belgium. The Arabs called this vast slough the Bahr el Ghazal, and the British named it the Sud.

In the cool months of the previous year Rebecca had voyaged upstream with her father to where the flow of the river emerged from the swamps. Beyond that point the channels and lagoons of the Sud were tractless and uncharted, carpeted densely with floating weed that was perpetually shifting, obscuring them from the eyes of all but the most skilled and experienced navigator. This watery, fever-ridden world was the haunt of crocodile and hippopotamus; of myriad strange birds, some beautiful and others grotesque; and of sitatunga, the weird amphibious antelope with corkscrew horns, shaggy coats and elongated hoofs, adapted for life in the water.

Rebecca turned her head and a thick blonde tress of hair fell across one eye. She brushed it aside and looked downstream to where the two great rivers met. It was a sight that always intrigued her, though she had looked upon it every day for two long years. A huge raft of water weed was sailing down the centre of the channel. It had broken free of the swamps and would be carried on by the current until it dispersed far to the north in the turbulence of the cataracts, those rapids that, from time to time, broke the smooth flow of the Nile. She followed its ponderous progress until it reached the confluence of the two Niles.

The other Nile came down from the east. It was fresh and sweet as the mountain stream that was its source. At this season of High Nile its waters were tinted a pale blue grey by the silt it had scoured from the mountainous ranges of Abyssinia. It was named for this colour. The Blue Nile was slightly narrower than its twin, but was still a massive serpent of water. The rivers came together at the apex of the triangle of land on which the City of the Elephant’s Trunk stood. That was the meaning of its name, Khartoum. The two Niles did not mingle at once. As far downstream as Rebecca could see they ran side by side in the same bed, each maintaining its own distinct colour and character until they dashed together on to the rocks at the entrance to the Shabluka Gorge twenty miles on and were churned into a tumultuous union.

‘You are not listening to me, my darling,’ said her father sharply.

Rebecca smiled as she turned to face him. ‘Forgive me, Father, I was distracted.’

‘I know. I know. These are trying times,’ he agreed. ‘But you must face up to them. You are no longer a child, Becky.’

‘Indeed I am not,’ she agreed vehemently. She had not intended to whine—she never whined. ‘I was seventeen last week. Mother married you when she was the same age.’

‘And now you stand in her place as mistress of my household.’ His expression was forlorn as he remembered his beloved wife Set in colonial Egypt at the end of Victoria's reign, this sweeping romantic epic reprises Smith regulars--scions of the Courteneys and Ballantynes. (The two fictional British families have provided character fodder for least half of Smith's 30 novels.) Bloodthirsty legions of Arab dervish troops under the command of the Mahdi, or ruling successor to the Prophet Muhammad, have surrounded (but not taken) Khartoum, trapping comely 17-year-old Rebecca Benbrook; her consul general father, David; and her younger twin sisters, Saffron and Amber. The appearance of a cargo boat owned by the dashing, entrepreneurial Ryder Courteney, as well as the subsequent appearance of Capt. Penrod Ballantyne of Her Majesty's 10th Hussars, give hope. Na├»ve Rebecca falls in love with Ballantyne, who deflowers her before racing off to warn the rescue force commander that the commander is outnumbered 25 to one. The dervish, led by the fearsome Emir Osman Atalan, overrun Khartoum, and Rebecca's father is brutally

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