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Cry Wolf [NOOK Book]


The year is 1935, shortly before World War II. The "Wolf of Rome", Italy's army under Mussolini, is poised to invade Ethiopia, whose army is not only ill-equipped, but also severely outnumbered. Desperate to save his troubled land, Emperor Haile Selassie enlists American Jake Barton and Englishman Gareth Swales, two risk-takers who both share a taste for danger and the thrill of adventure. The mission seems simple: Deliver four ancient refurbished armored cars and Vicky Camberwell, an American journalist, in ...
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Cry Wolf

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The year is 1935, shortly before World War II. The "Wolf of Rome", Italy's army under Mussolini, is poised to invade Ethiopia, whose army is not only ill-equipped, but also severely outnumbered. Desperate to save his troubled land, Emperor Haile Selassie enlists American Jake Barton and Englishman Gareth Swales, two risk-takers who both share a taste for danger and the thrill of adventure. The mission seems simple: Deliver four ancient refurbished armored cars and Vicky Camberwell, an American journalist, in exchange for a hefty weight of gold. But soon Jake and Gareth realize that this is just the beginning of a long, harrowing journey that will take them from the sea to the scorching deserts of Africa to the peaks of its treacherous mountains, where a dramatic struggle to stay alive awaits them...

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wilbur Smith is a master."—Washington Post Book World

"Smith is a captivating storyteller."—Orlando Sentinel

"All the ingredients of the first-class action-adventure story." – Sunday Telegraph

Praise for Wilbur Smith

“Smith is a master.” —Publishers Weekly

“One of the world’s most popular adventure writers.” —The Washington Post Book World

“A rare author who wields a razor-sharp sword of craftsmanship.” —Tulsa World

“Wilbur Smith is one of those benchmarks against whom others are compared.” —The Times (UK)      

"Best Historical Novelist—I say Wilbur Smith, with his swashbuckling novels of Africa.  The bodices of rip and the blood flows.  You can get lost in Wilbur Smith and misplace all of August."—Stephen King

"Action is Wilur Smith's game, and he is a master."—The Washington Post Book World

“The world’s leading adventure writer.” —Daily Express (UK)

"Wilbur Smith rarely misses a trick."—Sunday Times

“Smith is a captivating storyteller.” —The Orlando Sentinel

“No one does adventure quite like Smith.” —Daily Mirror (UK)

"A thundering good’ read is virtually the only way of describing Wilbur Smith’s books.” —The Irish Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429957540
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/9/2001
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 171,103
  • File size: 480 KB

Meet the Author

Wilbur Smith is the bestselling author of many novels, each meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His bestselling Courtney series includes Assegai, The Sound of Thunder, Birds of Prey, Monsoon, and Blue Horizon. His other books include Those in Peril, River God, Warlock, The Seventh Scroll, and The Sunbird. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages and have sold over 120 million copies. Smith was born to a British family in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, in Central Africa, and attended Rhodes University in South Africa. He has homes in Cape Town, London, Switzerland and Malta.
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Read an Excerpt

To Jake Barton, machinery was always feminine – with all the female’s fascination, wiles and bitchery. So when he first saw them standing in a row beneath the spreading dark green foliage of the mango trees, they became for him the iron ladies.There were five of them, standing aloof from the other heaps of worn-out and redundant equipment that His Majesty’s Government was offering for sale. Although it was June and the cooler season between the monsoons, yet the heat on this cloudless morning in Dar es Salaam was mounting like a force-fed furnace and Jake went thankfully into the shade of the mangoes to stand closer to the ladies and begin his examination.He glanced around the enclosed yard, and noticed that he seemed to be the only one interested in the five vehicles. The motley crowd of potential buyers was picking over the heaps of broken shovels and picks, the rows of battered wheelbarrows and the other mounds of unidentifiable rubbish.He turned his attention back to the ladies, as he slipped off the light tropical moleskin jacket he wore and hung it on the branch of a mango tree.The ladies were aristocrats fallen on hard times, their hard but rakish lines were dulled by the faded and scratched paintwork and the cancerous blotches of rust that showed through. The foxy-faced fruit bats that hung inverted in the mango branches above them had splattered them with their dung, and oil and grease had oozed from their elderly joints and caked with dust in unsightly black streaks and blobs.Jake knew their lineage and their history and as he laid aside the small carpet bag that held his tools, he reviewed it swiftly. Five fine pieces of craftsmanship lying rotting away on the fever coast of Tanganyika. The bodies and chassis had been built by Schreiner – the stately high cupola in which the open mounting for the Maxim machine gun now glared like an empty eye-socket, the square sloping platform of the engine housing, with its heavy armour plate and the neat rows of rivets and the steel shutters that could be closed to protect the radiator against incoming enemy fire. They stood tall on the metal-bossed wheels with their solid rubber tyres, and Jake felt a sneaking regret that he would be the one to tear their engines out of them and toss aside the worn-out but gallant old bodies.They did not deserve such cavalier treatment, these fighting iron ladies who in their youth had chased the wily German commander von Lettow-Vorbeck across the wide plains and over the fierce hills of East Africa. The thorns of the wilderness had deeply scarred the paintwork of the five armoured cars and there were places where rifle fire had glanced off their armour, leaving the distinctive dimple in the steel.Those were their grandest days, streaming into battle with their cavalry pennants flying, dust billowing behind them, bounding and crashing through the dongas and ant-bear holes, their machine guns blazing and the terrified German askaris scattering before them.After that, the original engines had been replaced by the beautiful new 6½-litre Bentleys, and they had begun the long decline of police patrol work on the border, chasing the occasional cattle raider and slowly being pounded by a succession of brutal drivers into the condition which had at last brought them here to the Government sale yards in this fiery May of the year of our Lord 1935. But Jake knew that even the savage abuse to which they had been subjected could not have destroyed the engines completely and that was what interested him.He rolled up his sleeves like a surgeon about to begin his examination.‘Ready or not, girls,’ he muttered, ‘here comes old Jake.’He was a tall man with a big bony frame that was cramped in the confined area of the armoured car’s body, but he worked with a quiet concentration so close to rapture that the discomfort went unnoticed. Jake’s wide friendly mouth was pursed in a whistle that went on endlessly, the opening bars of ‘Tiger Rag’ repeated over and over again, and his eyes were screwed up against the gloom of the interior.He worked swiftly, checking the throttle and ignition settings of the controls, tracing out the fuel lines from the rear-mounted fuel tank, finding the cocks under the driver’s seat and grunting with satisfaction. He scrambled out of the turret and dropped down the high side of the vehicle, pausing to wipe away with his forearm the thin trickle of sweat that broke from his thick curly black hair and ran down his cheek, then he hurried forward and knocked the clamps open on the side flaps of the armoured engine-cover.‘Oh sweet, sweet!’ he whispered, as he saw the fine outlines of the old Bentley engine block beneath the layer of thick dust and greasy filth.His hands with the big square palms and thick spatulate fingers went out to touch it with what was almost a caress.‘The bastards have beaten you up, darling,’ he whispered. ‘But we will have you singing again as lovely as ever, that’s a promise.’He pulled the dipstick from the engine sump and took a drop of oil between his fingers.‘Shit!’ he grunted with disgust, as he felt the grittiness, and he thrust the stick back into its slot. He pulled the plugs and, with the promise of a shilling, had a loitering African swing the crank for him while he felt the compression against the palm of his hand.Swiftly he moved along the line of armoured cars, checking, probing and testing, and when he reached the last of them he knew he could have three of them running again for certain and four maybe.One was shot beyond hope. There was a crack in the engine block through which he could have ridden a horse, and the pistons had seized so solid in their pots that not even the combined muscle upon the crank handle of Jake and his helper could move them.Two of them had the entire carburettor assemblies missing, but he could cannibalize from the wreck. That left him short of one carburettor – and he felt only gloom at his chances of finding another in Dar es Salaam.Three, then, he could reckon on with certainty. At one hundred and ten pounds apiece, that was £330. Less an estimated outlay of one hundred, it gave him a clear profit of two hundred and thirty pounds – for surely he would not have to bid more than twenty pounds each for these wrecks. Jake felt a warm spreading glow of satisfaction as he tossed his African helper the promised shilling. Two hundred and thirty pounds was a great deal of money in these lean and hungry times.A quick glance at the fob-watch he hauled from his back pocket showed him there was still over two hours before the advertised time of the commencement of the sale. He was impatient to begin work on those Bentleys – not only for the money. For Jake it would be a labour of love.The one in the centre of the line seemed the best bet for quick results. He placed his carpet bag on the armoured wing of the mudguard and selected a th-inch spanner. Immediately he was totally absorbed.After half an hour he pulled his head out of the engine, wiped his hands on a handful of cotton waste and hurried around to the front of the car.The big muscles in his right arm bunched and rippled as he swung the crank handle, spinning the heavy engine easily with a steady whirring rhythm. After a minute of this, he released the handle and wiped off his sweat with the cotton waste that left grease marks down his cheeks. He was breathing quickly but lightly.‘I knew you for a temperamental bitch the moment I laid eyes on you,’ he muttered. ‘But you are going to do it my way, darling. You really are.’Once more his head and shoulders disappeared under the engine cowling and there was the clink of the spanner against metal and the monotonous repetition of ‘Tiger Rag’ in a low off-key whistle for another ten minutes, then again Jake went to the crank handle.‘You are going to do it my way, baby – and what’s more you’re going to like it.’He spun the handle and the engine kicked viciously, back-fired like a rifle shot, and the crank handle snapped out of Jake’s hand with enough force to have taken his thumb off if he had been holding it with an opposed grip.‘Jesus,’ whispered Jake, ‘a real little hell cat!’ He scrambled up into the turret and reached down to the controls and reset the ignition.At the next swing of the crank handle she bucked and fired, caught and surged, then fell back into a steady beat, quivering slightly on her rigid suspension, but come alive.Jake stepped back, sweating, flushed, but with his dark green eyes shining with delight.‘Oh you beauty,’ he said. ‘You bloody little beauty.’‘Bravo,’ said a voice behind him, and Jake started and turned quickly. He had forgotten that he was not the only person left on earth, in his complete absorption with the machine, and now he felt embarrassed, as though he had been observed in some intimate and private bodily function. He glowered at the figure that was leaning elegantly against the bole of the mango tree.‘Jolly good show,’ said the stranger, and the voice was sufficient to stir the hair upon the nape of Jake’s neck. It was one of those pricey Limey accents.The man was dressed in a cream suit of expensive tropical linen and two-tone shoes of white and brown. On his head he wore a white straw hat with a wide brim that cast a shadow over his face. But Jake could see the man had a friendly smile and an easy engaging manner. He was handsome in a conventional manner, with noble and regular features, a face that had flustered many a female’s emotions and that fitted well with the voice. He would be a ranking government official probably, or an officer in one of the regular regiments stationed in Dar es Salaam. Upper class establishment, even to the necktie with its narrow diagonal stripes by which the British advertised at which seat of learning they had obtained their education and their place in the social order.‘It didn’t take you long to get her going.’ The man lolled gracefully against the mango, his ankles crossed and one hand thrust into his coat pocket. He smiled again, and this time Jake saw the mockery and challenge in the eyes more clearly. He had judged him wrongly. This was not one of those cardboard men. They were pirate eyes, mocking and wolfish, dangerous as the glint of a knife in the shadows.‘I have no doubt the others are in as good a state of repair.’ It was an enquiry, not a statement.‘Well, you’re wrong, friend.’ Jake felt a pang of dismay. It was absurd that this fancy lad could have a real interest in the five vehicles – but if he did, then Jake had just given him a generous demonstration of their value. ‘This is the only one that will run, and even her guts are blown. Listen to her knock. Sounds like a mad carpenter.’He reached under the cowling and earthed the magneto. In the sudden silence as the engine died, he said loudly, ‘Junk!’ and spat on the ground near the front wheel – but not on it. He couldn’t bring himself to do that. Then he gathered his tools, flung his jacket over his shoulder, hefted the carpet bag and, without another glance at the Englishman, ambled off towards the gates of the works yard.‘You not bidding then, old chap?’ The stranger had left his post at the mango and fallen into step beside him.‘God, no.’ Jake tried to fill his voice with disdain. ‘Are you?’‘Now what would I do with five broken-down armoured cars?’ The man laughed silently, and then went on, ‘Yankee, are you? Texas, what?’‘You’ve been reading my mail.’‘Engineer?’‘I try, I try.’‘Buy you a drink?’‘Give me the money instead. I’ve got a train to catch.’The elegant stranger laughed again, a light friendly laugh.‘God speed, then, old chap,’ he said, and Jake hurried out through the gates into the dusty heat-dazed streets of noonday Dar es Salaam and walked away without a backward glance, trying to convey with his determined stride and the set of his shoulders that his departure was final.Copyright © 1976 by Wilbur Smith.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 15, 2011

    WWII in Ethiopia

    Didn't know that Italy committed war crimes in Ethiopia by using mustard gas! All Wilbur Smith's books check out with actual events. His ability to make his books exciting reading no matter what part of Africa he writes about makes him a great writer of historical novels.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2002

    Great Book

    An excellent book about some of the events leading to WWII. Good insight into North east African culture

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2014


    Worst book in the world wish i had never read it!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

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    Posted January 5, 2012

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    Posted September 9, 2010

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    Posted December 27, 2012

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