• When the Lion Feeds

  • The Courtneys, Book 1
  • By: Wilbur Smith
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 17 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (477 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It is the 1870s, and twin brothers Sean and Garrick Courtney are born into the wilds of Natal. They could not be more different, and fate, war and the jealous schemes of a woman are to drive them even further apart. But as history unfolds, a continent is awakening. And on the horizon is the promise of fortune, adventure, destiny and love.... 

When the Lion Feeds is the best-selling novel that launched Wilbur Smith's stellar career and the first in the riveting saga of the Courtney brothers.

©1964 Wilbur Smith (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about When the Lion Feeds

Average Customer Ratings
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What did you do with John Lee?

I bought this book and Book 2 narrated by John Lee. Later I went back to relisten and the books were removed. A message came up and said, "Ah Shucks, this book is no longer available narrated by John Lee".I complained and they gave me 2 credits so I could rebuy the books but they are narrated by Sean Barrett who is ok but he's not John Lee. I am upset because John Lee and Wilbur Smith are my favorite narrators and authors. I'm sooooo disappointed!!!! I have a huge library so as a good customer but any customer should get what they buy! I want John Lee as the narrator and wish all Wilbur Smith books were narrated by John Lee!!!! He is perfect for his books.
I wonder what other books I've bought have been removed from my library without my knowledge!

31 people found this helpful

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A book for men

This is a very accurate depiction of the dangers, triumphs, perils and scars that frontier life leaves you with.

6 people found this helpful

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Appalling narration

I couldn’t finish the book as the narration was so appalling. Why did they not get a person who knows the accents of Afrikaaners and Zulu speaking South Africans? It was embarrassing and did this good story no justice. Further, his imitation of female voices was just plain shocking. Was really looking forward to listening to the series but will definitely not purchase any more Wilbur Smith Courtney sagas.

11 people found this helpful

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This is a difficult book to rate.

It’s hard to score this book. On one hand it is masterfully written and read with perfection. On the other hand it is a miserable story about a miserable family. I intended to give up on this book several times as the story descended farther and farther into misery, but it was so well done that I stuck with it to the end.

I listen to books for entertainment, or sometimes for an education, but I’m not interested in stories about how bad someone’s life is or about the bad decisions that person makes along the way. Not only did this book seem to move from one tragedy to the next, but it ended on a really pessimistic note. I say it ended, but actually the story just stopped; it didn’t really have an ending. I have no desire to listen to the next two books in this series which I intend to return, let alone the other 15 beyond those.

2 people found this helpful

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WONDERFUL

If you haven’t read Wilbur Smith YOU NEED TO! I am so sad because I have now finished all of his series along with all but one of his novels. I’m saving that for an up coming road trip with my husband.
Mr. Smiths writing style is so very extraordinary, vivid, alive, I feel like I am a character in one of his stories his novels are so easy to melt into. I feel as though I can, smell the air, taste the salt of the sea, feel the stinging heat of the desert, touch the minerals and rocks, hike through the jungles, go on Safari, feel the splashing rain, smell the mineral iron smell of blood, ride a horse....I JUST DO NOT KNOW HOW TO EXPRESS HOW FABULOUS THESE NOVELS & SERIES ARE!
***THANK YOU Wilber Smith for sharing your stories with the world, I for one am richer for it.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent

I am so glad I finally listened to Wilbur Smith. I don't give 5 stars very often. This listen is such a good story and it held my attention throughout. Thank God the story continues with a sequel and I wasted no time in getting it. I have never followed up on a sequel so fast. Within 10 minutes of the book being finished I purchased the next book in the series. Fabulous story.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story

If you like historical fiction and your interested in South Africa history you will like this. Great story and great characters you’ll care about. Very similar to the Sharp stories by Bernard Cornwell. Highly recommend.

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Remarkable this was Smith’s First Novel

He is one of my favorite “escapist” novelists and Where the Lion Feeds does not disappoint. I’ve tried to read the Courtney series in chronological order rather than date written and if I Had a (mild) complaint, this first effort seems more like a segment in the series rather than a stand alone effort. Perhaps Mr. Smith was prescient enough to know there would be demand for a complete Courtney history. Anyway, the evident love of his native country, as usual, shines through. The writing is crisp, eloquent and engaging. The characters are rendered even more splendid by the excellent narration of Sean Barrett.

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Another great book by Wilbur Smith!

Wilbur Smith is one of the best writers in the world and Sean Barrett is one of the best narrators.

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Wonderful

I enjoyed this very much and can’t wait to move on to his next book.

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  • Ian P.
  • 01-29-19

Just as good as I remembered!

I first read this book over thirty years ago, and was really excited to see an unabridged audiobook available. I was initially concerned that it might be dated, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also never been disappointed by Sean Barrett’s narration. What’s not to like! Roll on “The Sound of Thunder”!!!!

24 people found this helpful

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  • Timedout
  • 01-29-19

Didn't finish as it was too depressing

Review needs to be considered in the context of me not having gone any further than chapter 12. I found the content and narration too depressing. It is well-written and, even in the few chapters I listened to, I felt a connection to the characters and landscape. A fair amount happens and it moves along at a good pace without any padding out. For me it was just too dark and was heading for further misery as war approached. The performance is probably right for the storyline but quite monotone.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Team Nezzy
  • 01-31-19

Sit back and enjoy

A first class novel really well narrated from start to finish, hard to put down 5*

13 people found this helpful

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  • Dalton
  • 05-27-19

captivating

loved it. explained so vividly. perfectly narrated. kept me intrigued to the very end. amazing story lines

5 people found this helpful

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  • Gavin
  • 04-27-19

Read the book when I was a teenager and forgot.

The narration is excellent, perfect in fact. Gripping, listened every moment I could, on to the next, I can't wait, the ending came as a surprise I was hoping for the next cliff hanger

5 people found this helpful

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  • p d king
  • 12-19-18

always fantastic books

always fantastic books and always leaving you wanting more a bit of a twist but good

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremy Cook
  • 12-02-18

Awesome

I have read the book years ago and this was just as enjoyable as the paper version. Well narrated and I have already downloaded the second in the Courtney series “The Sound of Thunder”

3 people found this helpful

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  • C21H30O5
  • 08-30-21

Mediocre; corny; dated.

My second Wilbur Smith title, bought due to the length. I thought it would have something to do with lions, but no. Only metaphorical ones. Probably exciting in its day, but now very corny and at times, excruciatingly awful. For example, something along the lines of "That which was within her blouse proved that she was no longer a child." It's the sort of novel my equally awful ex-husband probably still reads and thinks is a reflection of modern times and how women want to be treated.
If you have a long journey or a house to paint, you might buy it for continuity, but otherwise, believe me, there are far better audiobooks out there to spend your money on, that will educate you, broaden your horizons, and/or make you a more rounded person. I think Wilbur Smith has had his day. Times have just changed too much since he was in his heyday. Quite well read by Sean Barrett, apart from his rather sickening child and female attempts, but on the whole his voice is so deep that my Alexa can't cope with it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 07-23-20

Best Book Ever

Wilbur Smith is my favourite author. This book started me on my Courtney Yeats adventure and it is one i visit over and over.

2 people found this helpful

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  • jonboy_
  • 07-22-20

Top Notch Wilbur Smith

Really good Wilbur Smith novel. First part I found a little slow, but after that a fast paced and overall great story, really keeping the attention. Just wished I'd picked up the next couple in the series when they were in the Audible sale.

2 people found this helpful

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  • HR
  • 05-13-19

Women will like this story also

I was a bit worried this would be the type of book series which only men would like but I really enjoyed it. A great author, a perfect narrator and a very addictive tale. You won't go wrong with this book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • steve budarick
  • 02-09-19

loved it

great narrator makes such a difference to listening to a book Sean Barrett was born to narrate this series.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 09-28-19

Adventure to South Africa

With my first trip to South Africa, I took along this audio book. I had not read or listened to Wilbur Smith before and it captured me as I witnessed the country on Safari. An amazing tale and narration was first class to my taste.
I now have finished another audio book and ready to listen to the next of the series.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Val
  • 06-08-20

Absorbing

Best book I have read in a long while. Filled with Raw realism that has you moving side by side with the characters. Real life at it's most basic without the need for over-dramatisation to keep you riveted. Thank you Wilbur Smith for this amazing narrative.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Janique
  • 04-22-21

Bloody brilliant!!

What a thrill! This is an intense journey into the lives of the Courtney brothers. The narrator is superb! The South African accent is difficult to imitate, at the beginning it sounded more Indian to me, but Sean Barrett perfects it as the story unfolds. The story is an epic, taking the reader right to the centre of the booming of a new world city, from it’s beginnings in hard labour, risk and loss to the heights of fame and fortune and back again to the dependence on the land for survival to finding love, parenthood, loss and sorrow, again and again! My only regret is that it has taken me this long to read a Wilbur Smith, I’m addicted!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-23-22

I enjoyed it.

This was my first experience of this author.

Did not disapoint, I will consider another by him for sure!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-23-22

Wonderful

Like a lot of reviewers, I read this about 40 years ago and it was so wonderful to revisit through audio. Classic storytelling that so many others have tried to emulate.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-18-22

Great read from start to finish

loved the story , great narration looking forward to the next one! legendary story teller!

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  • Steven R.
  • 12-22-21

One of my favourite s

I first read this book when I was 13 in 1997. It's hard to believe it's almost 60 years old now! This series really struck a chord in me as a kid and really helped get me excited about exploring and the outdoors. This audible version is just perfect. 10/10

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  • Hanna
  • 10-27-21

A moving adventure

At first I didn't want to continue when the story felt unbelievable, and then too horrific in the hunting scenes. But I'm glad I persevered. It is quite a drama. Just somewhat unfulling ending.