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Those in Peril (Hector Cross Series #1)
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Those in Peril (Hector Cross Series #1)

3.4 63
by Wilbur Smith

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In Those in Peril, a nail-biting tale of adventure, bestselling author Wilbur Smith brings his matchless storytelling to bear on the violent, ruthless world of twenty-first-century piracy.

While cruising on the family yacht in the Indian Ocean, nineteen-year-old Cayla Bannock is attacked and taken hostage by Somalian pirates. Her kidnappers demand a


In Those in Peril, a nail-biting tale of adventure, bestselling author Wilbur Smith brings his matchless storytelling to bear on the violent, ruthless world of twenty-first-century piracy.

While cruising on the family yacht in the Indian Ocean, nineteen-year-old Cayla Bannock is attacked and taken hostage by Somalian pirates. Her kidnappers demand a staggering ransom: twenty billion dollars. And Cayla's not just anyone--she's the daughter of Hazel Bannock, heiress to the Bannock Oil Corporation, one of the world's foremost oil producers.

The sensitive global political climate means not even the most powerful groups in the world can intervene. Left to handle the problem on her own, Hazel calls on Hector Cross, head of the security agency that protects Bannock Oil. As threats increase and evidence arises of horrific torture, the need to take action becomes more urgent than ever--and soon Hazel and Hector will have no choice but to take the law into their own hands...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hot sex, ultra violence, rich beautiful women, brave handsome men—Smith (The Quest) delivers it all in this over-the-top thriller set largely on the high seas. Hector Cross, security chief for Hazel Bannock, owner and CEO of Bannock Oil, battles Somali pirates led by Adam Tipoo Tip and his grandfather, Sheik Mohammed Khan Tipoo Tip, who have kidnapped Cayla Bannock, Hazel's adored 19-year-old daughter. The Tipoo Tips also plan to capture Hazel and ransom her for several billion dollars as well as torture and murder Cross, with whom they have a longstanding blood feud. Cross isn't going to allow the bad guys to carry out their depredations on the Bannock women, especially after he and Hazel become lovers. The author's vast legions of fans should embrace the lurid action, the larger-than-life characters, and the heated prose with their usual enthusiasm. (May)
Library Journal
When Cayla, the spoiled and promiscuous daughter of oil tycoon Hazel Bannock, is kidnapped from her yacht by Islamic fundamentalist pirates off the African coast, Hazel is frustrated by the reluctance of the world's powers to intervene. As her daughter's torture becomes public, Hazel turns to Hector Cross, owner of a private security firm that also protects Hazel's oil fields, to rescue the girl and destroy the pirates. VERDICT Smith's (Assegai; Warlock) many fans will enjoy a tale that includes nonstop action, multiple treacheries, vengeance, extreme violence, and explicit sex. The novel, however, is marred by an implausible plot and sometimes ridiculous dialog. The issue of modern piracy is a tale that needs to be told, and someone like a Tom Clancy or a Frederick Forsyth could have done a much better job. [Library marketing.]—Robert Conroy, Warren, MI
Kirkus Reviews

Smith tackles modern-day pirates in this adventure novel set in Africa.

Hector Cross has a problem. As the head of Cross Bow Security, he is tasked with protecting the assets of Bannock Oil in Abu Zara. When Somalian pirates kidnap heiress Cayla Bannock, her mother, Hazel, insists on accompanying Hector on the rescue mission. Complicating matters is Adam Tippoo Tip, sheikh of Puntland, a ragtag fiefdom of pirates, who has sworn vengeance against Hector for killing both his father and grandfather. Although Hector and Hazel start off loathing one another, their animosity inevitably gives way to passion. There's quite a bit of sex in the book, and it's typically gratuitous or grisly, including a horrifying gang-rape scene. Smith's action sequences are first-rate, but he's not a reflective writer and the story is marked by flat prose and wooden dialogue. (Cayla, for instance, doesn't come remotely close to sounding like a young American girl from Houston.) Vengeance plays a major role here; it's the chief motivating force for both sides. Curiously, those who have been wronged by the pirate king's schemes embrace their tormenter's notion of what constitutes just punishment: a life for a life. The characters mete out revenge with ruthless savagery, engage in torture and carry out executions, making them no better than the enemy. Hector and Hazel ultimately win the day, but at a price so steep only a cynic would call it a victory.

An uneven, ripped-from-the-headlines swashbuckler whose heroes dodge their enemies' bullets and the implications of their own actions, with mixed results.

From the Publisher

Those in Peril is the thriller of the year.” —Daily Express (UK)

“Gun-blazing action.” —Daily Telegraph (UK)

“Another outstanding adventure from this popular author.” —The French Paper (UK)

“As with most of Smith's books, this one is a cracker of a read.” —The Citizen (New Zealand)

“One thrilling package that will be eagerly devoured by fans.” —Publishers Weekly on Assegai

“There is a reason Smith is a hugely popular writer of historical novels: his remarkable talent for re-creating historical periods and crafting characters we care about is virtually unmatched in the genre. Smith [has] been entertaining readers for nearly five decades, and if this novel is any indication, he is showing no signs of slowing down.” —Booklist on Assegai

“Everything [Smith's] fans have come to expect: masterful storytelling and breathtaking adventure…chalk up another winner.” —Times Record News (Wichita Falls, TX) on The Triumph of the Sun

“Espionage, disguise, stabbings in the dark…a story that is--like the Nile itself--swift and powerful.” —Booklist on The Triumph of the Sun

“Wildly entertaining, compulsively readable.” —Sunday Telegraph (UK) on The Triumph of the Sun

“Everything Smith's fans have come to expect from his epic adventure novels. His consummate skill at crafting vast battle scenes, passionate and wildly romantic characters, cruel and bloodthirsty villains, and larger-than-life heroes make Blue Horizon irresistible.” —Journal (Flint, MI)

“When it comes to historical fiction, Smith is without rival. He is a warlock of writers.” —Tulsa World

“Each time I read a new Wilbur Smith I say it is the best book I have ever read--until the next one. It's the same with Warlock. Brilliant…irresistible and impossible to put down.” —Times Record News (Wichita Falls, TX)

“You can almost feel the heat and taste the dust as the narrative builds to a cracking pace...[Warlock] is a ripping yarn and a classic adventure story.” —Irish News

“A page-turner...few novelists can write action scenes that all but leap off the page the way Smith can...his detailed portrait of ancient Egypt is fascinating.” —Anniston Star (TX)

“[River God] gallops swiftly through the action and flying blood his fans have come to relish...Brightly colored, sweeping escapism.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Unforgettable...swashbuckling and sensuous, Birds of Prey transcends the average action-adventure yarn.” —The Orlando Sentinel

Sunday Times

Wilbur Smith rarely misses a trick.
Sunday Express

Those in Peril has much to recommend it...if you like your action plain, graphic and simple yet never entirely predictable, Smith will satisfy.
The Irish Times

A thundering good' read is virtually the only way of describing Wilbur Smith's books.
Daily Express

Pirates and passion in rip-roaring page-turner...Those in Peril is the thriller of the year. I defy anyone who has picked it up even in scorn to put it down...Those in Peril consists for the most part of one scalp-cooling set piece after another...If Smith handles action better than any writer since Ian Fleming the same goes doubly for the more steamy part of the book...few novelists have taught so much to so many as Smith.
Stephen King

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.
The Washington Post Book World

Action is Wilur Smith's game, and he is a master.
The Times (UK)

Wilbur Smith is one of those benchmarks against whom others are compared.
Daily Mirror (UK)

No one does adventure quite like Smith.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Hector Cross Series , #1
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Cayla was not certain what had awakened her. She thought she must have heard something. She sat up sleepily on the rumpled bed and listened with her head on one side. The sound was not repeated but something else had changed. Sleep slowed her mind so it took another few seconds for her to realize that the ship’s engines had stopped, and she was rolling ponderously to the surge of the sea.

‘That’s strange.’ She was unconcerned. ‘We cannot possibly have reached port yet.’ Then she realized that her bladder was uncomfortably full. She threw her legs over the side of the bed and stood up. She braced herself to the unusual motion of the yacht and then staggered to the bathroom. She perched on the toilet and sighed with relief as she emptied her bladder. She stood up and started back towards the bed. Moonlight was pouring in through the porthole that looked out over the owner’s private deck and swimming pool.

She was awake now and she paused at the porthole to look out at the starry sky and the dark sea. There was no wake pouring back behind the stern and she realized that her first impression was correct. The Dolphin had stopped. She thought that she would telephone the bridge and find out from the officer of the watch what was happening, but at that moment a shadow passed the porthole, and she realized that there was somebody out there on the private deck.

Immediately she was angry. That area was strictly out of bounds to the crew. She and her mother used it for nude sunbathing and swimming. Now she would certainly call the bridge and have the trespasser castigated. But before she turned away another figure came into her line of sight. He was dressed in dark clothing and had a black Arab shawl wound around his head to cover his face, leaving only his eyes showing. They glinted as he turned towards her. He paused in front of the porthole and peered in. She shrank back in alarm. The man put his face against the glass and raised one hand to shade his eyes, and she realized that the moonlight was insufficient to enable him to see into the darkened cabin. His demeanour was furtive but at the same time menacing. She held her breath and stood frozen with terror. He seemed to be staring into her eyes, but after a few seconds he stepped back from the porthole. With another pang of fear she saw that he had an automatic rifle slung over his shoulder. He vanished from her view but immediately three more dark figures filed swiftly and silently past the porthole. All of them carried automatic weapons.

Now she realized that it must have been the sound of rifle fire that had woken her. She had to get help. She was terrified and shaking. She ran back into her cabin and snatched the satellite telephone from the bedside table. Frantically she dialled the bridge. There was no reply but she let it ring while she tried to think what to do next. There was only one other person she could appeal to. She dialled her mother’s private line. Hazel’s recorded voice instructed her to leave a message. She rang off and immediately dialled again with the same result.

‘Oh, Mummy! Mummy! Please help me.’ She whimpered and began to compose a text message on her mobile phone, her thumbs flying over the keys as she typed.

Terrible things happening. Strange men with guns . . .

She stopped in mid-sentence. There was somebody at the door of her cabin. Somebody was opening the lock with a pass key. She punched the send button on her mobile phone and threw the device into the drawer of her beside table and slammed it shut. In almost the same movement she sprang from the bed. She rushed to the door and threw her weight against it as it began to open.

From Those in Peril by Wilbur Smith. Copyright © 2011 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.


Meet the Author

Wilbur Smith was born in Central Africa. He became a full-time writer in 1964 after the successful publication of When the Lion Feeds, and has since written more than thirty novels, all meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages and have sold more than 100 million copies.

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Those in Peril 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
tottman More than 1 year ago
I received this book through an early reviewer program. Those in Peril deals with a very topical subject, modern-day piracy. The private yacht of a rich oil baroness, Hazel Bannock, is hijacked by pirates and her daughter held for ransom. When legal means of recovering her daughter prove fruitless, she turns to the ex-military head of her private security; a man she doesn't trust or respect, but who will take actions that governments can't or won't. The action sequences in this book are very well written and enjoyable. Those sequences and the leadup to them cover about two-thirds of the book. The other third of the book, dealing with character development and "romance" was simply not credible. The graphicness of the sex scenes didn't bother me, though they may some, but the unbelievability of them did. They seemed straight out a teenage boy's dreams, or a late-night Cinemax movie. Worse though, was the character development. I found myself rooting for one of the "good" characters to get roughed up because she was so thoroughly unlikeable. The two main characters, Hector and Hazel, while likeable enough, had lapses in judgement that were painful to read. The author also felt the need to explain what the characters had done in "thinking to themselves" passages rather than let the action and the dialogue speak for itself. Most of the characters, both "good guys" and "bad guys", made awful and inexplicable decisions seemingly because the plot had nowhere to go if they had just been a little smarter. The pace of the book was generally good, except for a puzzling lull in the middle, and the setting and action of the story was very entertaining. Don't expect to see this book on any list of award nominees, but if you like action and can overlook the lack of believable characters, this book is worth the read.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Adam Tipoo Tip and his grandfather Sheik Mohammed Khan Tipoo Tip set in motion a diabolical scheme to obtain blood money. Off of Africa, they send Somali pirates to kidnap nineteen year old Cayla Bannock who is leisurely sailing on her yacht. When her mother Bannock Oil CEO Hazel learns of her daughter's abduction, though powerful she fails to motivate world leaders to intervene. The Tipoo Tip pair torture Cayla so that the world can see even as they demand ransom for her release. Hazel sends her private security chief Hector Cross to rescue her daughter. The Tipoo Tips expected this move as part two of their plan is to abduct Hazel and demand billions and will torture her to get at Cross as they owe him in a long running family blood feud. This is an exhilarating fast-paced thriller that is over the top of Mt. Shimbiris with the insane decisions made by the Tipoo Tip duo, the Bannock pair and Cross as logic is a nasty L word. Still the action is non-stop and the locale ideal for a confrontation as fans expect High Noon in Africa. Harriet Klausner
constantreaderGT More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite authors.Read all his books.A little slow in the middle but you know the Somalies aren't finished with Hector.Not as good as his earlier novels but anything by Mr.Smith is highly recommended.
Patty-P More than 1 year ago
I have been a Wilbur Smith fan for years and looked forward to this book. The beginning of the book was good until about 150 pages into the middle then either Mr. Smiths' feminine voice came into play or he had a ditzy female writing the thoughts of the two main characters. I was about to give up when the male Smith started writing and the book got exciting again..though not really cretible...not one of the best books he has written..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Compared to his early books of the pioneer days in Africa, this was horrible. He has replaced colorful narrative and prose with a pornographic attempt to get a made-for-tv contract. Was a waste of money unless you want some graphic sexual content and blood/guts. Too bad - I have great memories of his books from years back.
Jamal Fakhoury More than 1 year ago
This is certainly the worst novel Mr Smith has dreamed up. Not worth your time or finances
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Roger_Knight More than 1 year ago
When this novel was published in 2011, Wilbur Smith had written thirty three novels. I have read several of his novels and found them well written and entertaining. But not this book. “Those in Peril” suffers from cartoon characters, improbable coincidences and unrealistic action sequences. I don’t know how long it takes to write a 386 page novel when you just phone it in, but Wilbur Smith does.
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I have read most of Wilbur Smith's books as they first came out and have been re-reading the m every 10 yrs. or so. Well conceived and deeply immersed in African, especially southern part history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book...Highly Recommended
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I have read all of Mr. Smith s books, some many times. His stand alone stories are complete by thier selves and this is no exception. As always he leaves you wanting more. I hope Mr. Smith is in good and will be around for along time. We have lot to many great arthors and he is one of a kind. All his tales are loaded with facts and history that I would not know, he makes knowledge easy. Thank you Mr. Smith for the hours of enjoyment. AEM horswhip
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