Wilbur Smith

Those In Peril

"..a barnstorming addition to the portfolio of the grandmaster of the grand adventure."


The owner of Bannock Oil Corporation, Hazel Bannock has her private yacht stolen by pirates whilst in the Indian Ocean. Her teenage daughter Kayla is aboard and is kidnapped by the pirates.

Ex SAS Major, Hector Cross runs a security firm contracted to protect Bannock Oil. His loyalty to the Bannock family is unquestioned, until now.

The ransom demands for Kayla's safe release are cripplingly unrealistic and even someone as rich and politically connected as Hazel Bannock cannot raise the funds or call in favours to ensure her release.

As evidence of Kayla's mistreatment at the hands of her captors is sent to Hazel, she has to call on Cross to help rescue her daughter. Between them they embark on a hazardous mission to rescue Kayla even if it means taking the law into their own hands.

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If someone had asked me who would be the best author to write a story with the bad guys being Somali pirates then my unhesitating answer would have been Wilbur Smith. His knowledge, love for and complete understanding of all things African have long been a trademark of his books. Those in Peril follows these themes and traits and no other author can describe such a vast and varied land with his authority and emotive details. The story is beset with all you would expect from Smith; strong hard men, tough beautiful women, love stories, brutal violence and heart-stopping, adrenaline sapping set pieces. The plot is cleverly scripted although straightforward in the extreme. Wilbur Smith doesn't often do mystery; instead he tells you who is who and lets you watch the ensuing action. Although having said this, there are double agents and surprises to be enjoyed. Some parts of the overall feel didn't quite ring true but there were few enough instances for this to be a major problem. The characters were all as good as you would expect from a master penman who has produced strong lead characters for 45 years. Hector Cross and Hazel Bannock are no exception. Other main characters such as Tariq, Paddy, Adam Kayla and Uthmann all receive the same care and attention to detail but for me the best creations among the supporting ensemble were Nastiya and Nella. In the hands of Smith prose is a revered object, whether setting the scene, describing intimate moments, portraying savagery or commentating on events. Each word does its job to perfection. He also has the master's knack of knowing when to use detail and when to imply. Love scenes are almost pornographic in their detail and sexual assault is dealt with impersonally and through scarce suggestion, not vivid description. Those of a weaker disposition should beware though as some of the violent acts perpetrated are horrific in the savage brutality. All in all 'Those in Peril' is a barnstorming addition to the portfolio of the grandmaster of the grand adventure. If you haven't read Wilbur Smith before, read this and you'll be hooked.

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