Warlock Paperback – Apr 6 2007
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Wilbur Smith (a name synonymous with the massive blockbuster thriller) has recaptured the verve and impact of his earlier work in Warlock. This Egyptian epic thriller follows on from the equally accomplished and and re-establishes Smith at the top echelons of thriller writing. The customary continent-spanning canvas is here, with a key new element in an adroitly handled supernatural aspect that gives the sequence the feel of fantasy whilst still retaining the plausibility that was always Smith's strongest asset.
The reader is plunged into a vividly realised evocation of life in ancient Egypt but one presented with insights into the various characters that infuse a very contemporary feel. In the secluded deserts of North Africa, Taita has spent the years since the death of his adored Queen Lostris studying to become a Warlock, steeped in the arcane arts of the ancient Gods and a master practitioner of magic. Responding to an occult summons, Taita abandons the desert and returns to civilisation, only to find himself at the centre of a massive conflagration in which dark and sinister forces are undermining the throne of Egypt and attempting to destroy the young prince Nefer. Soon, his hard-won skills are tested to the limit.
As in the previous books in the sequence, Smith knows that a strong and passionate agenda on the part of his protagonists will allow the reader to identify with them, despite the gap of centuries. Here, it is family ties: Taita is defending the young prince who is the grandson of his lost Queen, and we are quickly engaged in a narrative that rarely flags over its considerable length. The action set pieces are as impressive as one would expect:
The instant he was within range the Cobra struck again, but Nefer caught the blow on the thick leather folds of the bag. The beast's fangs snagged in the leather and held fast. As Nefer swung back the snake was dragged with him. It was hauled cleanly out of the nest, a writhing, seething ball of coils and polished scales. It thrashed against Nefer's legs, the heavy tail lashing him, hissing fearsomely, clouds of venom spraying from its gaping jaws and dribbling down the leather bag. So great was its weight that Nefer's whole body was shaken violently.--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Lengthy but seamlessly composed, this epic historical drama by veteran author Smith (The Eye of the Tiger, etc.) tracks a power struggle in ancient Egypt between false pharaohs and a true royal heir, evoking the cruel glories and terrible torments of the era. The kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt have been at war for 60 years. Upper Egypt is ruled by Tamose, Lower Egypt by Apepi, king of the Hyksos. Treachery and assassination eliminate both rulers, allowing two false pharaohs to unite in an orgy of tyranny and oppression. Tamose's son, Prince Nefer, is his father's rightful heir, but the false pharaoh, Lord Naja, denies Nefer's birthright and plots to kill the young prince. Aided by the royal sorcerer, a warlock named Taita, Nefer escapes Naja's plots. Nefer and Taita outwit assassins, evil magicians, pursuing armies and even the treachery of Nefer's own sister, as they raise their own army in the lost desert city of Gallala. Taita's magic spells and occult powers protect, teach and guide Nefer on his tortuous path to regain the throne and save the woman he loves, Princess Mintaka, daughter of slain King Apepi. However, as Nefer's strength grows, so does that of his enemies, and it will take all of Nefer's courage and Taita's mystical powers to prevail when the chariot armies of evil sweep across the desert wasteland to the gates of Gallala. This is a very bloody and violent yarn, set in an age when merciless combat, torture, rape and sacrifice were common. Though timorous readers may wish to steer clear, those willing to brave the blood and gore will be carried away by the sweep and pace of Smith's tale. National advertising.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is exciting from the very beginning, opening with a scene of the Pharaohï¿½s fighting chariots racing towards battle. The plot keeps up its breakneck pace from there to the very end, filled with battles, tests of courage and endurance, as well as some magic and mystery. Wilbur Smith does a great job of adding extra twists to the story, which makes it all the more interesting. Smithï¿½s vivid language also draws the reader in, though in some scenes the action described is nauseatingly gruesome. Though this book is thick, the pages fly by in no time at all. Those who enjoyed RIVER GOD and SEVENTH SCROLL will love Warlock.
Having said all this, I must admit that some of the historical accuracy, or rather lack of it, was somewhat jarring. If the story is set at about 1600 BC, (time of the expulsion of the Hyksos)there would not have been any falluca's, dhows, centurions, galeys and matrasses around. Nor would a Thebes based Pharaoh have called his son Seti (based on the Hyksos god Seth), even Pharaoh Seti I, who lived a lot later, changed his name towards the end of his life.
It is somewhat bizarre to read about a Dhow (a ship of AD times) rigged with a lateen sail (Invented after AD, and not used on Dhows anyway) sailing down the Mediteranean (Dhows sailed the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean)
Having said all that I still maintain that this book presented for me the most enjoyeble reading adventure this year (so far). There may not be a lot in the way of character development, but there is action, suspension, and adventure galore, and there is never a dull moment.
The tale is interesting but predictable. One thing that felt odd and irritating was the uneven flow of events. The author builds up foundations for potential future happenings that are interrupted and forgotten, whereas many events don't fit in the context. Also, the intense focus on extreme violence and sex only seemed exaggerated and weird, it felt as if Mr Smith tries to break his boundaries and let all his fantasies out. Another thing that adds to the cheap quality of the book is the lack of knowledge on Egypt that the author is clearly showing.Read more ›
From the first page Warlock brings you back into the world that Smith brilliantly created in "River God". Taita is back and he is a free man this time. He is taking care of Prince Nefer who will grow to become a powerful warrior and ruler. Wilbur Smith describes the battles of Egypt very well, and not a detail is missed.
There was only on issue with this book that disappointed me, and it was Taita. Smith took a man that had a talent for reading the mazes, and made him into an all powerful warlock who could conjure storms from thin air, and stop anyone in his path with almost a look. This seemed way to far fetched and took at bit away from this book.
All in all, I enjoyed "Warlock" as much as I enjoyed "River God" and hope there will be another in this series.
Most recent customer reviews
Any book by Wilbur Smith, I buy without needing to check reviews.Published 13 months ago by Ahmed F. Hosny
I found it a little involved at times and hard to follow but on the whole I enjoyed the read.Published 16 months ago by joan
This story gripped me from the very first page and I could not put it down.Published 18 months ago by Jadyra
In an age of technology, it doesn't hurt to allow yourself the opportunity to dream of magical happenings, of great gains and equally great loss. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2013 by Randy Milanovic
A friend lent me the first book in this series (River God) and I was doubtful because I'm not a fan of historical-type adventure novels. BUT, this series is fantastic! Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2009 by L. Jeffreys
Mr. Smith has done a beautiful work of transcending us into the magical world of Egypt. With an easiness for writing that is characteristic he transformed historical places and... Read morePublished on April 13 2003 by Yellowstar
he likes to write long books, but this one is too much. The magic is too much, the boring conversation is too much & the constant references to an aging eunuch are especially... Read morePublished on June 8 2002
I was so incredibly disappointed with this novel. The beauty of it's prequel River God was that it was a touching, human story (with just a touch of mysticism. Read morePublished on May 28 2002 by S. L. Rayhon
One of the best authors teamed with one of the best narrators.
I preferred this book to both River God and the Seventh Scroll.