• Assegai

  • Courtney - Assegai, Book 1
  • By: Wilbur Smith
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 17 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (133 ratings)

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Assegai  By  cover art

Assegai

By: Wilbur Smith
Narrated by: Sean Barrett
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Publisher's Summary

From directly overhead he heard the loud flapping of heavy wings, and another vulture rose from beyond the screen of banana plants. Leon felt the chill of dread. If the brutes are settling that means there's meat lying out there, dead meat.

King and country. No matter the cost. 

With the backing of his uncle, General Penrod Ballantyne, young Leon Courtney joins the King's Rifles of Nairobi. When he becomes discouraged by the dishonesty of army life, his uncle recruits him for a special mission - spying on the Germans in East Africa, whom the General suspects are preparing for the Kaiser's war. Posing as a professional game hunter, Leon is tasked with gathering information on one of his clients, wealthy industrialist Otto Von Meerbach.  

Leon finds himself falling for Von Meerbach's beautiful mistress but never forgets that his real mission is to destroy the enemy. But how easy will he find his task when his true enemy is closer to home than Leon ever expected?

A Courtney adventure - book 1 in the Assegai sequence.

©2009 Wilbur Smith (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Assegai

Average Customer Ratings
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Excellent! Kept me up too late several nights

The story was excellent, listening to it late into the night and then over into the early hours of the morning caused me to be very tired the next day. Something I should not do, however, knowing something about Africa, the Rift Valley, and having a brother who has been on Safari four times makes me ready to follow along next year when he goes again. Understanding how life is here in America and hearing other’s experiences on Safari in the dark continent has me at least ready for the author’s next installment of adventures in Africa!

1 person found this helpful

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Classic Wilbur Smith.

Sean Barrett is my favorite performer of the Smith books. Formulaic but well done. Entertaining and very enjoyable. I’ve read most of the other Smith books and wanted to revisit Africa.

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Headline (NOT optional it seems)...

A bit slower than the others in this series, but still an exciting epic adventure, with a wonderful performance.

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Great writer, poor book

Wilbur Smith is a great writer with superb powers of description and an unmatched ability to bring a story to life.

I have read many of his books and really liked all of them. Unfortunately, this is the first one that I have not liked. There is no real plot to it until quite near the end, and it comprises a series of accounts of hunting expeditions involving characters that play no part in the development of the real plot interspersed with some rather syrupy Mills and Boon bodice ripper like passages.

It also fails badly in the area of realism containing some utterly implausible action as well as at least one significant and obvious anachronism.

When the plot finally does develop in the last couple of hours of the book, the action is so obviously contrived that it left me looking forward to the end of the book and, for the very first time reading one of Wilbur Smith books, contemplating giving up on it.

All that said, the way that the story is told has all of Wilbur Smith‘s usual qualities and, obviously, it hasn’t stopped other people reviewing here enjoying it. It also won’t put me off reading other books by this excellent author.

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ONE OF HIS BEST

I tried binge listening to Wilbur's various series but gave up after three because the soap operish quality of the storylines discouraged me. However of the three - and also in recollection of having read the same books years earlier - I think this is one of his best novels. It moves fast, contains real characters, doesn't limp along from one inevitable personal disaster to the next, and doesn't endlessly repeat the same formula.

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Awesome!

fantastic read! Wilbur Smith is a phenomenal writer! I love the historical context of the book! I would recommend it to anyone !

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A good WS Tale

It is a treat to get more of our history, albeit a tad "embellished".Great story.

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wow what an awesome story

Seems as though Wilbur Smith's books not only get better chronologically, but they also become more meaningful to me.

Assegai offers special twists, moving from the traditional war and battle stories to hunting with a bang. Boy does Smith deliver. This is honestly one of the best hunting and African novels I have read. Painting vivid pictures of hunting's particular excitement, but the description if Africa and safari are clear, memorable and accurate.

Everything written brings back my memories. THANK YOU

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  • Ken
  • 09-04-18

Very enjoyable

Very enjoyable, have always avoided his books apart from Hector Cross. But found this to bo engrossing and couldn't put it down.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Straight talker.
  • 09-10-18

Assegai

A riveting tale from start to finish. Beautifully read Wilbur Smith at his very best.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Street
  • 09-26-18

A shame

I have read many Wilbur Smith books and have always found them to be well written and enjoyable so I was looking forward to listening to this one, unfortunately the narration was sub standard and almost intelligible in places so after about 90 minutes I gave up and returned the book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anne Taylor
  • 09-15-18

Only one problem

Voiceover was too bass and quiet in some parts so difficult to hear at times

3 people found this helpful

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  • gfplux
  • 12-11-19

A slow burn

This is no edge of the seat story but a slow burn. It is important to remember although written in 2009 the style is of a few decades earlier.

2 people found this helpful

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  • john lockwood
  • 09-07-18

more of this great series about the Courtney famil

yet again Wibour Smith has proven his genius. A must read novel in the Courtney series.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lareine
  • 09-07-18

Wilbur Smith at his best

Really enjoyed listening to this story. So well narrated by Sean Barrett who made the story come to life. I’ve read many Wilbur Smith books, but this is my first audio of his. Would definitely recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • seabreeze
  • 09-10-19

loved it.

loved it, Wilbur Smith is great writer especially when the Courtney family is involved. great

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jinty
  • 05-18-19

Africa Oh Africa. ..

This was most enjoyable and easy to listen to. I will look out for next book in series. .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Khonsu
  • 08-10-22

It's just pure Wilbur Smith

If you like your Wilbur Smith books, in particular the hunting/action/romance/drama - you're going to love Assegai.

The story isn't just about the stabbing blade, its title flows symbolically throughout the story line from people to machines.

Set just before the start of World War 1 and the aftermath of the Boer War still looming large. Pro-British and Anti-British feelings are still there. Interesting slant on Germany's attempt to bring South Africa into the war on their side.

As always, it's like Sean Barrett was born to read Wilbur Smith - or Wilbur Smith wrote so Sean Barrett can narrate them.

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  • Janique
  • 05-02-22

My least favourite but still good

Smith is having a great time retelling some of his great adventures hunting big game in this story. No matter the pros of hunting I found the vivid descriptions of lions, leopard, elephant and rhino being shot simply for the thrill of the kill difficult to endure. And when Smith falls in love the women are so dazzling and beautiful, Hollywood’s beauties pale into insignificance! Barret is outstanding as always, his ability to give all Smith’s characters a voice with all their varying accents and languages is simply brilliant.

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  • Andrew Tully
  • 01-02-22

Aaagh awesome!

As always, the narration is great and the story compelling... looking forward to listening to Book 2 = The Burning Shore

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-16-21

Suspenseful

Another excellent Wilbur Smith novel. Everything about it had one on the edge. I didn't want to put it down. Excellent narration - always clear & dramatic when required. Highly recommended.

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  • MasterDownUnder
  • 10-05-20

outstanding Sean, as always 👌

Another awesome listening experience from Sean Barrett! as if I'd need another narrator!
I first read this travelling to the UK on a long haul flight, and loved it. Now this audible version is so much more vivid and alive!
bring on the next one... 😉👍😎🤠

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  • HR
  • 06-28-20

Thank you BOTH for a well written, well read book. 👍

If only you could have had Sean read all of your wonderful novels Wilbur, he really is a master story teller! 👌🏼

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-19

A Great Book!

A totally intriguing book, hard to put down. The story & the narrative was exceptional.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-29-19

Assegai

Great book loved it was very entertaining excitement from start to finish. thoroughly recommend it.