When the Lion Feeds

( 28 )

Overview

These audiobooks from Macmillan UK offer abridged readings of some of the world¹s most popular authors. Handsomely packaged, they feature readings by eminent actors of the stage and screen, including James Fox, Martin Shaw, Tim Pigott-Smith, and David Rintoul.
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When the Lion Feeds

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Overview

These audiobooks from Macmillan UK offer abridged readings of some of the world¹s most popular authors. Handsomely packaged, they feature readings by eminent actors of the stage and screen, including James Fox, Martin Shaw, Tim Pigott-Smith, and David Rintoul.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Plenty of incident and colour' – The Observer, 1966

'Pride of place goes to When the Lion Feeds because it is bigger, wider and more full of plot than all the others put together ...' – The Daily Telegraph, 1966

'Wilbur Smith has built up his wide-screen adventure story with energy and shrewdness.' – Sunday Times, 1966

'Mr. Smith is a natural story-teller who moves confidently and often splendidly in his period and sustains a flow of convincing incident without repeating his excitement.' – The Scotsman, 1966

'A very impressive book in its wide scope and its descriptive colour.' – Sphere

 

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: 9780312940669
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/3/2006
  • Series: Courtney Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 90,088
  • Product dimensions: 4.31 (w) x 6.66 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

WILBUR SMITH was born in Central Africa. He has written thirty novels, all meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages and have sold over 80 million copies.

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Read an Excerpt

When the Lion Feeds

I

Natal

1

A single wild pheasant flew up the side of the hill almost brushing the tips of the grass in its flight. It drooped its wings and hung its legs as it reached the crest and then dropped into cover. Two boys and a dog followed it up from the valley: the dog led, with his tongue flopping pink from the corner of his mouth, and the twins ran shoulder to shoulder behind him. Both of them were sweating in dark patches through their khaki shirts, for the African sun still had heat although it stood half-mast down the sky.

The dog hit the scent of the bird and it stopped him quivering; for a second he stood sucking it up through his nostrils, and then he started to quarter. He worked fast, back and forth, swinging at the end of each tack, his head down and only his back and his busy tail showing above the dry brown grass. The twins came up behind him. They were gasping for breath for it had been a hard pull up the curve of the hill.

'Keep out to the side, you'll get in my way,' Sean panted at his brother and Garrick moved to obey. Sean was his senior by four inches in height and twenty pounds in weight: this gave him the right to command. Sean transferred his attention back to the dog.

'Put him up, Tinker. Seek him up, boy.'

Tinker's tail acknowledged Sean's instructions, but he held his nose to the ground. The twins followed him, tensed for the bird to rise. They carried their throwing sticks readyand moved forward a stealthy pace at a time, fighting to control their breathing. Tinker found the bird crouched flat in the grass; he jumped forward giving tongue for the first time, and the bird rose. It came up fast on noisy wings, whirling out of the grass.

Sean threw; his kerrie whipped past it. The pheasant swung away from the stick, clawing at the air with frantic wings and Garrick threw. His kerrie cartwheeled up, hissing, until it smacked into the pheasant's fat brown body. The bird toppled, feathers flurried from it and it fell. They went after it. The pheasant scurried broken-winged through the grass ahead of them, and they shouted with excitement as they chased it. Sean got a hand to it. He broke its neck and stood laughing, holding the warm brown body in his hands, and waited for Garrick to reach him.

'Ring-a-ding-a-doody, Garry, you sure gave that one a beauty!'

Tinker jumped up to smell the bird and Sean stooped and held it so he could get his nose against it. Tinker snuffled it, then tried to take it in his mouth, but Sean pushed his head away and tossed the bird to Garrick. Garrick hung it with the others on his belt.

'How far do you reckon that was - fifty feet?' Garrick asked.

'Not as much as that,' Sean gave his opinion. 'More like thirty.'

'I reckon it was at least fifty, I reckon it was farther than any you've hit today.' Success had made Garrick bold. The smile faded from Sean's face.

'Yeah?' he asked.

'Yeah!' said Garrick. Sean pushed the hair off his forehead with the back of his hand, his hair was black and soft and it kept falling into his eyes,

'What about that one down by the river? That was twice as far.'

'Yeah?' asked Garrick.

'Yeah!' said Sean truculently.

'Well, if you're so good, how did you miss this one - hey? You threw first. How come you missed, hey?'

Sean's already flushed face darkened and Garrick realized suddenly that he had gone too far. He took a step backwards.

'You'd like to bet?' demanded Sean. It was not quite clear to Garrick on what Sean wished to bet, but from past experience he knew that whatever it was the issue would be settled by single combat. Garrick seldom won bets from Sean.

'It's too late. We'd better be getting home. Pa will clobber us if we're late for dinner.' Sean hesitated and Garrick turned, ran back to pick up his kerrie then set off in the direction of home. Sean trotted after him, caught up with him and passed him. Sean always led. Having proved conclusively his superior prowess with the throwing sticks Sean was prepared to be forgiving. Over his shoulder he asked, 'What colour do you reckon Gypsy's foal will be?'

Garrick accepted the peace-offering with relief and they fell into a friendly discussion of this and a dozen other equally important subjects. They kept running: except for an hour, when they had stopped in a shady place by the river to roast and eat a couple of their pheasants, they had run all day.

Up here on the plateau it was grassland that rose and fell beneath them as they climbed the low round hills and dropped into the valleys. The grass around them moved with the wind: waist-high grass, soft dry grass the colour of ripe wheat. Behind them and on each side the grassland rolled away to the full range of the eye, but suddenly in front of them was the escarpment. The land cascaded down into it, steeply at first then gradually levelling out to become the Tugela flats. The Tugela river was twenty miles awayacross the flats, but today there was a haze in the air so they could not see that far. Beyond the river, stretched far to the north and a hundred miles east to the sea, was Zululand. The river was the border. The steep side of the escarpment was cut by vertical gulleys and in the gulleys grew dense, olive-green bush.

Below them, two miles out on the flats, was the homestead of Theunis Kraal. The house was a big one, Dutch-gabled and smoothly thatched with combed grass. There were horses in the small paddock: many horses, for the twins' father was a wealthy man. Smoke from the cooking fires blued the air over the servants' quarters and the sound of someone chopping wood carried faintly up to them.

Sean stopped on the rim of the escarpment and sat down in the grass. He took hold of one of his grimy bare feet and twisted it up into his lap. There was hole in the ball of his heel from which he had pulled a thorn earlier in the day and now it was plugged with dirt. Garrick sat down next to him.

'Man, is that going to hurt when Ma puts iodine on it!' gloated Garrick. 'She'll have to use a needle to get the dirt out. I bet you yell - I bet you yell your head off!'

Sean ignored him. He picked a stalk of grass and started probing it into the wound. Garrick watched with interest. Twins could scarcely have been less alike. Sean was already taking on the shape of a man: his shoulders were thickening, and there was hard muscle forming in his puppy fat. His colouring was vivid: black hair, skin brown from the sun, lips and cheeks that glowed with the fresh young blood beneath their surface, and blue eyes, the dark indigo-blue of cloud shadow on mountain lake.

Garrick was slim, with the wrists and ankles of a girl. His hair was an undecided brown that grew wispy down the back of. his neck, his skin was freckled, his nose and the rims of his pale blue eyes were pink with persistent hayfever. He was fast losing interest in Sean's surgery. He reached across and fiddled with one of Tinker's pendulous ears, and this broke the rhythm of the dog's panting; he gulped twice and the saliva dripped from the end of his tongue. Garrick lifted his head and looked down the slope. A little below where they were sitting was the head of one of the bushy gullies. Garrick caught his breath.

'Sean, look there - next to the bush!' His whisper trembled with excitement.

'What's it?' Sean looked up startled. Then he saw it.

'Hold Tinker.' Garrick grabbed the dog's collar and pulled his head around to prevent him seeing and giving chase. 'He's the biggest old inkonka in the world,' breathed Garrick. Sean was too absorbed to answer.

The bushbuck was picking its way warily out of the thick cover. A big ram, black with age; the spots on his haunches were faded like old chalk marks. His ears pricked up and his spiral horns held high, big as a pony, but stepping daintily, he came out into the open. He stopped and swung his head from side to side, searching for danger, then he trotted diagonally down the hill and disappeared into another of the gullies. For a moment after he had gone the twins were still, then they burst out together.

'Did you see him, hey - did you see them horns?'

'So close to the house and we never knew he was there—'

They scrambled to their feet jabbering at each other, and Tinker was infected with their excitement. He barked around them in a circle. After the first few moments of confusion Sean took control simply by raising his voice above the opposition.

'I bet he hides up in the gulley every day. I bet he stays there all day and comes out only at night. Let's go and have a look.'

Sean led the way down the slope.

On the fringe of the bush, in a small cave of vegetation that was dark and cool and carpeted with dead leaves, they found the ram's hiding-place. The ground was trampled by his hooves and scattered with his droppings and there was the mark of his body where he had lain. A few loose hairs, tipped with grey, were left on the bed of leaves. Sean knelt down and picked one up.

'How are we going to get him?'

'We could dig a hole and put sharpened sticks in it,' suggested Garrick eagerly.

'Who's going to dig it - you?' Sean asked.

'You could help.'

'It would have to be a pretty big hole,' said Sean doubtfully. There was silence while both of them considered the amount of labour involved in digging a trap. Neither of them mentioned the idea again.

'We could get the other kids from town and have a drive with kerries,' said Sean.

'How many hunts have we been on with them? Must be hundreds by now, and we haven't even bagged one lousy duiker - let alone a bushbuck.' Garrick hesitated and then went on. 'Besides, remember what that inkonka did to Frank Van Essen, hey? When it finished sticking him they had to push all his guts back into the hole in his stomach!'

'Are you scared?' asked Sean.

'I am not, so!' said Garrick indignantly, then quickly, 'Gee, it's almost dark. We'd better run.'

They went down the valley.

Copyright © Wilbur Smith 1964.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(5)

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(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    When the Lion Feeds

    I just finished reading Wilbur Smith's WHEN THE LION FEEDS and I am hungry for more adventures of the Courtney family. Smith's story is engaging and filled with action, drama, love and loss. I must say that while I didn't totally identify with the characters, I did feel for them. I hope that some characters play a more vital role in future installments. A great read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2010

    Why the Gatling Guns?

    Wonderful book. I've been interested in South African history since college and the reading of "The Washing of the Spears". One quibble: Smith mentions Gatling guns at Roark's Drift. Uh-Uh, nada Gatlings at Roark's Drift. Also, one impi attacked not the the four impis at Iswandalwana which preceded the stand at the Drift.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2000

    One of the Best Books Ever!

    This is the first of the three 'Courtney' novels. They are all Excellent! I highly recommend them. They are just great stories about the life of a family. They take place in Africa and it was really neat how you learn about the African people. I just can't describe in words how good these books are. Though, I will say, I have read a lot of Wilbur Smith's books and some of them can be very graphic at times. But these were pretty good, less graphic than some (which I personally preferred). I just can not say enough about them. I suggest reading them in order though because you get a better picture of the relationships.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2011

    Engrossing Read!

    This book totally captured my attention and my imagination. It is my first Wilbur Smith. I am now a devotee. I am usually drawn to a more feminine read but Smith puts so much detail alongside the violence that you are swept into the life of Sean. You are dragged along in his misfortunes and soar in his successes. The cover of my Nookcolor says to choose an author as you would a friend. I think Mr. Smith and I are going to be very good friends...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    In my top 10 list of books

    This story gathers you in with an insight into Natale in the late 1800's and keeps you hooked all the way through to a small Portuguese coastal town. The characters are developed well, the action is detailed and interesting, and the hardships faced by the Sean Courtney and his friends are equally off set by up beat humor and tales of riches. I highly recommend this book to those who favor history related themes. This book has been placed in my top ten list of books read in my life time. The ending makes your heart ache for the Mr. Courtney, but you will have to read to find out why.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    LOVED IT!

    My first Wilbur Smith and after this I will read all the rest he has great story I loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    Wilbur Smith spins a thrilling story about Africa.

    When the Lion Feeds will keep you interested from the first page to the last. Carefully look for clues of things to happen; I won't spill the beans. Great story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2001

    Par Excellence!!!

    How did u like Harry Potter? Try Wilbur Smith.I would suggest you start with 'When the Lion Feeds'.I must say you will have to rethink deciding who is better.Wilbur Smith is just amazing!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    A 5 star book but editing horrible

    This is a five star book. Wilbur did it again. Excellent exciting read every page. The editing however was a real distraction. The main character in the book his name is spelled for different ways just an example. I highly recommend this book if you can stand the editing errors.

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    So So

    Was a little to long and predictable.

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  • Posted January 18, 2013

    higly recomended

    I read the Courtney clan history at the time of it's original publication and both my wife and I found the stories well told and captivating. I'm re-reading them now twenty years or so later with just as much enjoyement.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Qow Wow thaat T Wow what a book

    Awesome

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2011

    Disappointing

    Maybe I expected too much. I'm about 100 pages into the book, and so far it has read more like a summary of the plot points for a story--granted a potentially great story--than the real story itself. I'm going to put it aside for a few years and try a second time. For now, however, there isn't enough of my life remaining to waste time reading books I don't enjoy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted May 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted January 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted April 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2009

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews

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