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. Today, Wilbur has written more than 30 novels and sold around 100 million copies.
Wilbur returns to Ancient Egypt in his captivating new novel Pharaoh where the country is under attack. From the glittering temples of Luxor to the Citadel of Sparta, the new title is an intense and powerful novel magnificently transporting you to a time of threat, blood and glory. Pharaoh Tamose lies mortally wounded. The ancient city of Luxor is surrounded and all seems lost. Taita prepares for the enemy's final fatal push. The ex-slave, now general of Tamose's armies, is never more ingenious than when all hope is dashed. And this is Egypt's most desperate hour. With the timely arrival of an old ally, the tide is turned and the Egyptian army feasts upon its retreating foe. But upon his victorious return to Luxor, Taita is seized and branded a traitor. Tamose is dead and a poisonous new era has begun. The new Pharaoh has risen. Pharaoh Utteric is young, weak and cruel, and threatened by Taita's influence within the palace - especially his friendship with Utteric's younger and worthier brother, Ramases. With Taita's imprisonment, Ramases is forced to make a choice: help Taita escape and forsake his brother, or remain silent and condone Utteric's tyranny. To a good man like Ramases, there is no choice. Taita must be set free, Utteric must be stopped and Egypt must be reclaimed.
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.