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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on April 15, 2001
Reading this book was like reading Crichton or early Grisham except there was also something old-timey about it, too - like reading H. Rider Haggard, Conan Doyle, Dumas, Burroughs or Jules Verne for the first time when you were a kid. Sheer pleasure. It was a winner, a completely engaging book - and it went on my shelf of books worth re-reading. The kind of book you smile about, remembering how enjoyable it was to read.
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on January 11, 2002
Eye of the Tiger is a tribute to the masterful writing skills of Wilbur Smith. This was the first book I read by Smith that took place in contemporary times, so his immense skill in creating historical settings was not necessary. He spins a hard to put down account of a search for what we will learn to be buried undersea treasure from a shipwreck.
The protagonist is Harry Fletcher an ex-mercenary who is now a premier deep sea fisherman based out of the fictional island of St. Marys, an idyllic paradise off the coast of Africa. He gets lured into the search for an unknown item in the guise of a fishing charter. This turns into a web of intrigue as a bevy of unsavory characters try to get their fingers into the prize. Fletcher and his cohorts eventually decide to go after the treasure themselves. Along the way he falls for the sister of one of the players in this well thought out caper.
The ending has a nice twist to it which left me with a very satisfied feeling as I completed the book.
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on June 9, 2001
Wilbur Smith is a master at taking action to the level of frenzy. If Pauline thought she was overwhelmed with perils, she ought to read "The Eye of the Tiger." More than once when I was wondering how Harry Fletcher would survive an ordeal I discovered that his troubles were only beginning. In an underwater adventure he had to do in a giant moray eel, fought off sharks followed by bigger and meaner sharks, encountered poisonous coral. He ran out of breathing air, got the bends. He was beset with bad girls, battled waves of bad guys followed by badder guys, and meaner ones yet were on the way. Traitors lurked within his ranks.
I found the story immensely entertaining. It has been a long time since I've been gripped so by a tale. I pursued it far into the night and finally had to make myself put it down.
The circumstances surrounding the sailing ship Dawn Light, and how it was discovered what she carried and where she went down, were particularly well crafted. Captivating.
Wilbur Smith dances dangerously close to the incredible time and again as he keeps his narrative running wildly along. Yet somehow he avoids that perilous step over the line of credibility.
At least he did so until the very end. There he didn't step across the line but pole-vaulted over it. My delight was shattered by that one sledgehammer blow when he anchored a central theme of the story in quicksand. The premise underlying Sherry North's (or whoever she was) motivation was totally at odds with international maritime laws regarding salvage of treasure. England had no jurisdiction over a century-old shipwreck half a world away. No English government agency would have behaved as Smith described. We were not offered the flimsiest reason or justification for England's interest, much less involvement. It pummeled common sense. Smith obviously has the talent for imagining a plausible foundation for that critical aspect of the story. Why didn't he?
There were other irritations, minor ones that would have gone unmentioned but for the colossal one. For instance, on his arrival in England Harry obtained a Benz from the Hertz depot. It continued as a Benz until midway through the episode, when it became a Chrysler. In the final scene, Harry narrates, "I settled into the seat of the Swissair 727 and fastened my seat belt." Then two paragraphs later, "As the Caravelle took off..."
The description on the back of this paperback edition begins, "For a thousand years, an unimaginable treasure has rested on the bottom of the Indian Ocean." It had been on the ocean floor a hundred years, not a thousand.
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on October 11, 2001
If you're tired of the inflight magazine, pick this book up as I did on a recent trip back home from Chicago. I didn't realize I had read this before (I should have known, I've read all the other ones) but that did not stop me from getting caught up inthe story again.
Smith walks the fine line between action novel and romance novel, in fact it was my mom who introduced me to his writing years ago, but Eye of The Tiger's 'manly' cover design won't get you any strange looks on the plane...
He just draws you in. You feel like, "Sure, I know what's it's like to dive in the Indian Ocean, fight off sharks, ride out a cyclone, no problem." I defy you to read a Wilbur Smith book without getting totally drawn into the story.
Like I said - this one's great for a plane flight, just about the right length for coast-to-coast travel and perfect if you're longing for the sun.
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on October 8, 1998
Having read nearly all Wilbur Smith's books, and having spent my entire teenage years with a Wilbur Smith book close at hand, (and being a writer myself) I feel entitled to say a few words about "Eye of the Tiger" and Wilbur Smith in general. First of all, "Eye of the Tiger" is one heck of a great read -- I must've read it 15 times myself, and have given it to all my friends (and girl-friends!) to read at one time or another. Harry Fletcher (the main character) is like an old friend to me; I feel I know the guy. And what a great guy he is, too! And as for the story, well it just zings along so smartly you'll be in heaven. What I love so much about Wilbur Smith is that (at his best) his language and description borders on literature, though HE doesn't agree, I'm told. This is not the case with all his books, however, and in recent years I have been disappointed. But most of the first 20 books he wrote are marvels of story telling, and one day I look forward to picking them up and starting all over again. It'll be a pleasant reminder of those dreamy teenage years. And quite frankly, after having read Hemingway and Melville and other giants of the adventure genre, I'm never so happy as when I'm immersed in a Wilbur Smith novel. If you have never had the pleasure, I envy you; you have some richly rewarding discoveries ahead. Thank you, Wilbur Smith for countless hours of reading ecstasy. Andy Todes (Born in South Africa, 1971, raised in Australia, currently living in the United States).
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on October 1, 2002
I think Wibur Smith is the most gifted storyteller *ever* and I though I'd read all of his books. I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading this one and realised I hadn't read it yet. I've never been disappointed by any of his books, and this was no exception. In fact it's one of his best. Do yourself a favour, run don't walk to the bookstore for this one.
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on April 30, 2001
First off, don't let the 3 star rating make you think that this book is no good, it's just that 4 stars to me has to have me thinking about the book for days afterwards and 5 stars is a book I cannot get out of my mind at all. If you are in the mood for a quick paced adventure book that has lots of fast action and violence to spare then you'll enjoy this book. The premise of a sunken treasure in the belly of an 18th century sunken ship makes for plenty of adventure and then some. I found the characters compelling enough without forming any real attachments to them but nonetheless interested in the outcome. This is my first Wilbur Smith novel and I would probably pick up another of his novels if I chanced across one. This book was definately written for pure adventure's sake. For that reason, any who live for these kinds of books should be happy with it.
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on June 25, 2001
I picked this up on a whim and was pleasantly suprised. The character of Harry and the supporting cast of enemies and allies were extremely entertaining. Lots of action that is thrilling without being insulting to the intelligence.
I was reminded of Bond as Flemming wrote him. Not that there are similarities in terms of theme (this is not about secret agents) just in terms of the main character, the shady dealings and the wonderful action sequences. And of course Smith gives us what Flemming always gives us - world class villains.
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on January 9, 2003
Although Wilbur Smith is more known for his Courtney or Ballantyne series of novels, this first-person adventure is a wonderfully funny and action-packed novel that is, when finished, bemoaned to be too short. Harry Fletcher, ex-soldier, ex-thief, trying to go it straight in St Mary's, is sucked back into a life of crime, and this is all you need to know. There are guns, friends, betrayals, beautiful women and hissable enemies. Along with "Eagle in the Sky" and "The Sunbird", this is one of my favourite standalone Smith novels.
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on August 18, 2001
A great fun read even for the most jaded! With a tight plot and exotic locale, I was entrenched. From the opening pages to the very end of the book. You are at the edge of your seat! Our hero, a retired soldier of fortune laying low, Harry Fletcher is mercilessly dragged into a search for lost treasure. The players are as treacherous as the ocean and sharks that we meet in this excellent tale of adventure and greed. Put this one on your list of "gotta reads." Enjoy!
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