Born in Zambia, Wilbur Smith spent his early years playing with friends on his father's ranch and in the African bush, armed with slingshots, building fires and tracking small animals. It are these experiences which have inspired the dozens of novels he has written. It was at boarding school in South Africa where Wilbur received his first literary accolade – Best English Essay. His passion for writing continued to grow throughout his studies until, at the age of 24, he decided to become a journalist. Wilbur's father, however, didn't agree and he subsequently became a chartered accountant - but his love of fiction never went away.
He persevered with his writing and sold his first story for £70. A few years later his debut novel, When the Lion Feeds, was published and it was his publisher, Charles Pick, who advised him to write about the "things you know well". Since then, Wilbur has written only about Africa. When Wilbur met Danielle Thomas he was already twice divorced and wondering if he'd ever find true love. They wed in 1971 and were happily married for 28 years before her untimely death. Today, Wilbur is married to Mokhiniso Rakhimova and has written more than 30 novels and sold around 100 million copies.
Worldwide bestselling author Wilbur Smith will take you on an incredible journey on the thrashing seas off the coast of Africa in this glorious return to the series that made him who he is: The Courtney series. East African Coast, 1670. In a time of brave and brutal adventure, one man will journey across land and sea to pursue his greatest enemy ...The Golden Bough, captained by Henry 'Hal' Courtney, is running south from Ethiopia to Zanzibar. Below deck, both his crew and his lover, the fearless warrior Judith Nazet, sleep. As the moon glints through clouds, Hal sights a ship passing close by. Although there is an uneasy truce between the warring English and Dutch, Hal scents danger. When the Bough is boarded, the crew must go hand to hand to defend their ship and their lives. But soon Hal will face even graver danger, as he discovers his mortal enemy still lives and is hell-bent on revenge. he must pursue his nemesis across desert savannah, through the seedy underbelly of Zanzibar's slave markets and shark-infested waters, imperilling his own life at every turn. But it will take more than a slave's shackles to hold Hal Courtney...A thrilling blend of extraordinary drama and epic storytelling, Golden Lion sees Wilbur Smith return in triumphant form to the adventures of his beloved and bestselling Courtney family.
Interview with Wilbur Smith
Speaking with Giles Foden, Wilbur Smith talks about how his childhood has shaped his literary career. His father's hatred of books meant he would hide in the out-house to read - it also meant Wilbur's first job was working for the income tax department. In retrospect, he sees that journalism and creative writing require very different techniques, so by preventing him from becoming a journalist, his father was actually doing him a favour. It was during his time in the income tax office that Wilbur wrote his first book. Wilbur Smith also discusses the often harsh reality of life at boarding school and how his passion for writing has never ceased.