: Order of Wilbur Smith books, Courtney series, Egyptian series, Ballantyne series, standalone books
Wilbur Smith is one of the best authors who ever lived. He has written nearly 50 books, including three popular series. Below you can find order of his books in each of these series, and also the titles of his standalone books.
Wilbur Smith's book River GOD, in the Egyptian series, remains his best selling work till date. This book is based on an Egyptian slave named Taita, who inspite of being a slave, made his way to be a favorite of Egyptian Royalty. The book is full of romance, war, and adventure.
Below is the sequence of Courtney series books written by Sir Wilbur Smith. If you choose to go for audio books, then I suggest, the audio books read by John Cartwright are the best read books in Courtney series. If there is an audio reader who did justice to Wilbur Smith’s works, then it is John Cartwright.
01 When the Lion Feeds
Twin brothers are born in the wilds of Natal in the 1870s. Fate, war and the jealous schemes of a woman are to drive them apart, but a continent is awakening and on the horizon dawns the promise of fortune, adventure and love.
Note, This was the first book of Wilbur Smith which got published, and the book which made him popular.
02 The sound of Thunder
The game was war. The prize was a land. The penalty for defeat was death. A vibrant tale of war; of love and hatred between brothers, friends, father and son, and man and woman. The commanding figure of Sean Courtney, develops from the headstrong adventurer of "When the lion feeds", into a seasoned soldier and leader of men.
Note, This is the sequel of When the Lion Feeds. Life of the protagonist of the previous book continues in this novel.
03A Sparrow Falls
Sean Courtney, who made and lost 5 million pounds on the goldfields of the Witwatersrand and fought his way through the Anglo-Boer war, now makes his final appearance as soldier, statesman, and power in the land. War and bitter estrangement have lost him two sons. But when fortune brings him Mark Anders, Sean is drawn into a drama as turbulent as any in his life.
Note, Again a continuation of the previous two books.
04 The Burning Shore
All the old hands had their little idiosyncrasies: Andrew had the nerve in his cheek and the empty cigarette holder which he sucked like a baby; Michael ground his teeth so loudly that he woke himself up. All were afraid but no one admitted it - a story of love and mystery that moves from war-torn France to the heart of the African wilderness.
Note, Not a sequel of the previous books, although protagonist of the previous books made an appearance, but this is a story on its own, and a superb one, according to me. If there is a Wilbur Smith book which can make me cry, then it’s this one. Even today, I dare not read the last few chapters of this book, or I cannot control my tears.
05 Power of the Sword
Half-brothers, Manfred De La Ray and Shasa Courtney are blood enemies from boyhood and caught up in the tumult of their nation's history. They find themselves adversaries in a war of age-old savagery to seize the sword of power in their land - an adventure story that sweeps from teeming goldfields in Africa to the heart of Nazi Germany.
Note, End of previous book builds the plot for this one. I can’t say more, or else I will give away the end of the previous book.
The long and deadly enmity between Manfred De La Rey and Shasa Courtney explodes as South Africa is swept by the fires of racial conflict. The two half-brothers are now ministers in a government dedicated to a vision of a sub- continent in which people of all races would be free to develop separately. Both men, however, must confront the ugly reality of apartheid and the growing isolation of their country in a cynical and hostile world.
Note, A continuation of the previous book.
07 A time to Die
Sean Courtney, hunter and guerrilla fighter, is swept up in a new war. Caught between two rival armies, his love for the woman at his side and his instincts as a trained fighter, Courtney finds himself the captive of a brutal enemy from his past.
Note, A completely standalone book in the Courtney series, and one of my favorite ones. The book hooks the reader even from the very first page. I wouldn’t want to miss a single word in this book.
08 Golden Fox
London 1969, and the headstrong and beautiful Isabella Courtney dazzles all, yet the years that follow will test Isabella to the extremities of her endurance. They will be years of hardship and pain. Brother is pitted against brother, as they are drawn into the lair of the golden fox. The story irresistibly sweeps through London society, the grandeur of Europe and the searing heat of a divided Africa.
Note, A continuation of the book “Rage”, not really related to the previous book, except for the relationships between the characters. But like other books by the author, a fantastic read.
09 Birds of Prey
It is 1667 and the war between the Dutch and the English still rages. Sir Francis Courtney and his son Hal are on patrol off Southern Africa, lying in wait for a Dutch galleon laden with spices, timber and gold. Packed with vivid descriptions of the open seas, this is a tale of suspense and drama, which builds to a stunning climax.
Note, After publishing so many books in the series, one might assume what more can the author give. But, with this book, Wilbur Smith surprises everyone. A whole new set of adventure and romance pours out of the author’s pen, and onto paper. Adventure after adventure, it never stops with Wilbur Smith!
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the East India Company is suffering catastrophic losses from pirates on the high seas. As Master mariner Sir Henry Courtney prepares for his latest and most dangerous voyage, he must think about the fate of his four sons, all very different from each other, but each with a crucial part to play in shaping the Courtney's destiny. Separated by the winds of hazard, adventure will rule their future - just as passion will forge their lives.
Note, A new wave of adventures, some old characters, some new ones, and adventure beyond imagination. The protagonist created in this book is also the protagonist of the last Wilbur Smith novel in Courtney series.
This book is sole work of Wilbur Smith, while the last book in the series is a co-authored work. No need to mention, this book is way better. I only recently found out that the last one is a co-authored work, and when I read that one, I didn’t know. I still figured out that the last book is missing the touch of Wilbur Smith.
11 Blue Horizon
At the close of Wilbur Smith's Monsoon, Tom Courtney and his brother Dorian battled on the high seas and finally reached the Cape of Good Hope to start life afresh. In this novel, the next generation of Courtneys are out to stake their claim in southern Africa, travelling along the infamous 'Robber's Road'. It is a journey both exciting and hazardous, which takes them through the untouched wilderness of a beautiful land filled with warring tribes and wild animals.
Note, Again, the promise of loads of adventure continues.
12 The Triumph of the Sun
In the Sudan decades of brutal misgovernment by the ruling Egyptian Khedive in Cario precipitate a fierce and bloody rebellion and Holy War headed by a charismatic new religious leader. The British are forced to intervene to protect their national interests and to attempt to rescue British subjects stranded in the country. Along with hundreds of others, Ryder Courtney is trapped in the capital city of Khartoum. Here that he meets Captain Penrod Ballantyne of the 10th Hussars, as well as the British Consul, David Benbrook, and his three beautiful daughters. Against the vivid and bloody backdrop of the siege of Khatoum, in which British General Charles George Gordon is killed and the British retreat, these three powerful men fight to survive.
Note, In this book, the three main series created by Wilbur Smith come together as one book. There is a character from Courtney family, and there is one from Ballantyne family, and the land is Egypt. However, the book mainly revolves around the female characters in this story, their problems, their sacrifices, their achievements.
It is 1913 and ex-soldier turned professional big game hunter, Leon Courtney, is in British East Africa guiding rich and powerful men from America and Europe on safaris in the Masai tribe territories. One of his clients, German industrialist Count Otto Von Meerbach, has a company which builds aircraft and vehicles for the Kaiser's burgeoning army. But Leon had not bargained for falling passionately in love with Eva, the Count's beautiful and enigmatic mistress. Just prior to the outbreak of World War I, Leon is recruited by his uncle, Penrod Ballantyne, Commander of the British Forces in East Africa , to gather information from Von Meerbach. He stumbles on a plot against the British involving the disenchanted survivors of the Boer War, but it is only when Eva and Von Meerbach return to Africa that Leon finds out who and what is really behind the conspiracy.
Note, Let me tell you a secret. This was the first novel I read in the Courtney series. This was the book which pulled me into the Courtney series. And from this point, I read the entire series, but in the reverse order. Each book in Courtney series is the story of that particular generation of Courtney family tree. Each can be read as a standalone book. Each book promises a different type of adventure, and lots of romance and thrill.
14. Golden Lion
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, the Buzzard, still lives and is hell-bent
Note, A co-authored novel, trying to give rebirth to already gone characters.
15. War Cry
Her childhood is idyllic, until a family tragedy forces her to grow up much faster than necessary. As she grows into a spirited teenager, her thirst for
knowledge and adventure leads her to England, where she finds herself inevitably drawn into the heart of the gathering storm in the lead up to second World War.
Note, A co-authored novel again, and I don’t even know why it is in the Courtney series. Except for a short introductory scene in the beginning, there’s nothing Courtney about this story. It’s like the co-author wrote a novel, then added an introductory chapter to connect the book to Courtney family, then passed it onto the readers as a Courtney book, and sold it in the name of Wilbur Smith.
16. The Tiger’s Prey
Tom Courtney, one of four sons of master mariner Sir Hal Courtney, once again sets sail on a treacherous journey that will take him across the vast
reaches of the ocean and pit him against dangerous enemies in exotic destinations. But just as the winds propel his sails, passion drives his heart.
Note, Once again same thing, trying to put life in dead characters created by Wilbur Smith. The co-author wrote a novel, used the "Find and Replace" function and replaced the name of his main character with one from the Courtney family, and threw the book in the faces of Wilbur Smith fans.
It is for this reason; I am boycotting all the co-authored books sold in the name of Sir Wilbur Smith. They don’t have anything Wilbur Smith in them. They are just books written by others, which the publishing house and the agents are shamelessly trying to pass as works of Sir Wilbur Smith.
Sir Wilbur Smith passed away on 13th November 2021, and even then, his greedy publishers and agents are pushing books written by other authors as works by Sir Wilbur Smith.
I request these publishers and agents, for your greed, stop playing with the emotions of us fans. We loved this author, and we loved characters he had created during his lifetime. Please do not destroy the memories for us. You can make money by selling those co-authored books in the name of those actual authors. We might even like some, but please do not cheat us.
To these publishers and authors, let me show you how much we fans loved Sir Wilbur Smith and the characters created by him. This below is from the autobiography of Sir Wilbur Smith himself.
In his autobiography, Sir Wilbur Smith mentioned that one day, when he sat in his hotel room; he heard loud noises coming from outside the room. He opened his door and peeped outside. He saw a young man, arguing with the receptionist. This young man kept saying, “I want to meet the author Wilbur Smith”, but the receptionist kept refusing.Sir Wilbur Smith came out of the room and invited the young man to his room. The young man had only one leg. He lost his other leg in a train accident. He told Sir Wilbur Smith that after the accident, he had lost all hope of any kind of good life, but then he read a novel written by Sir Wilbur Smith, a novel where the author showed a person in a similar situation and the author showed how the person made a good life for himself. The story inspired the young man, and he picked up the pieces of his life. This young man wanted to thank Sir Wilbur Smith for the book. That is why he wanted to meet Sir Wilbur Smith.
Another fan of Sir Wilbur Smith lined his coffin with books written by Sir Wilbur Smith. That man is still buried with books written by Sir Wilbur Smith.
I myself have immense respect for this author, so much so I have added the title of “Sir” to his name. Today, probably I am the only one calling him “sir”, but I know in my heart, he truly deserved that honour! Sir Wilbur Smith had inspired me in more ways than I can count. I learned a lot from him, and his books changed my life in more ways than one.
I ask you publishers and agents, do you want to sell fake books in the name of Sir Wilbur Smith to such fans? Is that how you want to make money? By cheating us fans?
It’s not just Sir Wilbur Smith, but works of many other deceased authors is getting compromised in this same way.
The Egyptian Series
Below is a list of books written by Wilbur Smith in the Egyptian series.
1. River God
River God is a novel by author Wilbur Smith. It tells the story of the talented eunuch slave named Taita, his life in Egypt, the flight of Taita along with the Egyptian populace from the Hyksos invasion, and their eventual return.
First half of the book is a romantic love story, while second part is about Hyksos invasion, Egypt falling to them, and the characters of the book trying to win it back.
Note, this is one of the most wonderful books written by Wilbur Smith. If you have to pick only three books from Wilbur Smith, then this book should certainly be in that pile. Without this book, you will miss a whole new side of Wilbur Smith's creative works.
River GOD is also the best selling book by Wilbur Smith.
2. The Seventh Scroll
This book is set in the present and follows the adventurer Nicholas Quenton-Harper and his love interest, Dr. Royan Al Simma, as they uncover the tomb of Tanus. Duraid Al Simma and his wife Royan decipher the seventh scroll from the tomb of Lostris. They are attacked and their work is stolen.
Note, the story continues when the lady, Royan Al, decides to retrieves the stolen work, and in the process, she discovers a whole new bunch of secrets and hidden tombs.
First published in 2001, it is part of a series of novels by Smith set in Ancient Egypt and follows the fate of the Egyptian Kingdom through the eyes of Taita, a multi-talented and highly skilled eunuch slave.
In the wake of a sixty-year war over the reign of the kingdoms of Egypt, two young pharaohs have risen to claim power, but only one can succeed, deciding the fate of his empire forever...
The mission of Prince Nefer, rightful heir to the throne, is to rebuild a magnificent kingdom in the stark and tumbled ruins of the embattled city of Gallala. The desire of Lord Naja is to destroy his rival and rule the land with unholy supremacy. But Nefer has on his side the warlock Taita, a matchless ally and legendary priest of notorious powers...
To see their dream come true, Nefer and Taita must stay one step ahead of the depraved assassin, survive the tortuous shadow of her ever-pursuing armies, and outwit the shocking betrayals of is own flesh and blood. As Nefer's courage increases, and as Taita's magic grows more beguiling, so grows stronger the power of their tireless enemies..
Note, the favorite character from the first novel in this series, slave Taita, returns in this book and like he always does, he takes control of the circumstances and saves the day using his magical powers.
4. The Quest
Wilbur Smith returns with the eagerly awaited sequel to his thrilling Egyptian series. Following on from River God, The Seventh Scroll and Warlock. The Quest continues the story of the Warlock, Taita, wise in the lore of the ancient Gods and a master of magic and the supernatural.
Egypt is struck by a series of terrible plagues that cripple the Kingdom, and then the ultimate disaster follows. The Nile fails. The waters that nourish and sustain the land dry up. Something catastrophic is taking place in the distant and totally unexplored depths of Africa from where the mighty river springs. In desperation Pharoah sends for Taita, the only man who might be able to win through to the source of the Nile and discover the cause of all their woes. None of them can have any idea of what a terrible enemy lies in ambush for The Warlock in those mysterious lands at the end of their world.
Note, another adventure filled journey with magical Taita. A wonderful book, an interesting read, and non-stop entertainment.
5. Desert God
Game of Thrones meets Ancient Egypt in this magnificent, action-packed epic. On the gleaming banks of the Nile, the brilliant Taita, slave and advisor to the Pharaoh, finds himself at the center of a vortex of passion, intrigue, and danger. His quest to destroy the Hyksos army and form an alliance with Crete takes him on an epic journey up the Nile, through Arabia and the magical city of Babylon, and across the open seas. With the future of Egypt itself on his shoulders, Taita enters a world where the line between loyalty and betrayal shifts like the desert sands, evil enemies await in the shadows, and death lingers on the edges of darkness.
Note, another thrilling adventure with Taita, another wonderful book.
EGYPT IS UNDER ATTACK. Pharaoh Tamose lies mortally wounded. The ancient city of Luxor is surrounded, All seems lost. Taita, advisor to the Pharaoh, 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 — and he must be stopped…
There are other books in the same series, like New Kingdom, Titans of War, all co-authored, and not worth mentioning. Personally, I don't think Sir Wilbur Smith even wrote these books. At the time of release of the book Titans of War, Sir Wilbur Smith had already passed away, and the publishers and agents simply pasted his name on a book written by someone else, and tried to sell it as Sir Wilbur Smith's creative work.
I have read New Kingdom, didn't like it. At the time of reading, I didn't know that the book is co-authored.
The greed of publishers and agents who try to profit in the name of dead authors, must be stopped.
For this reason, I have boycotted the book Titans of War, but based on reviews I collected from other fans, I can say that they didn't liked this book. Except some paid reviews here and there, the actual fans of Sir Wilbur Smith didn't enjoy this work, and how would they, it's not a Wilbur Smith book.
The Ballantyne Series
1. A Falcon Flies
Dr Robyn Ballantyne, daughter of a famous missionary and explorer, returns on a joint expedition with her brother Zouga to southern Africa, the land of her birth, fired with the desire to bring the Africans medicine, Christianity and an end to the slave trade, still flourishing in 1860.
Note: The book is full of adventures like finding gold, finding African tribes. It's the first book in Ballantyne series, and also the book where Ballantyne boy scout group got formed. This scout group comes back again and again in the later books in this series.
2. Men of Men
Men of Men by Wilbur Smith is a story of greed, exploration, adventure and love. It is a gripping saga that follows the lives of the Ballantyne men and Zouga Ballantyne's unrelenting desire to make the wilds of northern Africa his home.
Note, the initial few pages of the book might not appeal to you like other Wilbur Smith novels do, but once past that, it's an interesting book, full of adventure.
3. The Angels Weep
"With "THE ANGELS WEEP, "bestselling author Wilbur Smith captures the agony, beauty, and hope of men and women who gave their lives to a land... On a continent of breathtaking beauty and bitter suffering, two vastly different cultures clashed, mingled, and recoiled.
Note, the book is divided in two parts. First part tells the story of ancient Africa, not so ancient as stone age, but from about 1860, and the second part tells the story of a grandson of a protagonist created in the first part. Both parts are full of adventure and war.
4. The Leopard Hunts in Darkness
In Manhattan, Craig Mellow is the toast of the literary world, a young writer whose bestselling novels and larger-than-life adventures are fueled by natural-born charisma. But Craig lost a limb and a legacy in Africa. And his heart still clings to the land.
Note, the book tells the story of Africa after Africa got its independence and the political struggle that follows. Once again, Wilbur Smith managed to capture the attention of the reader with thrilling adventures setup in the jungles and caves of Africa.
If I have to pick a favorite book in the entire Ballantyne series, then it has to be this one.
5. The Triumph of the Sun
The plot is set in 1884, Egypt-Sudan, beginning shortly before the fall of Khartoum at the hands of the Mahdi. British trader and businessman Ryder Courtney, the younger brother of Waite Courtney, arrives in Khartoum to sell his wares, only to have them commandeered by General Charles George Gordon.
Note, this is the book where all the series of Wilbur Smith come together in one book. There is a soldier from the Ballantyne scouts, and there is a Courtney, and the land is Egypt.
One might think that with a Courtney and a Ballantyne, this book will be filled with male heroism, but those people would be wrong. The book tells the story of three female characters, their problems, their sacrifices, their struggles, and their success.
6. King of Kings
On a beautiful September day, General Penrod Ballantyne and his fiancée, the successful travel writer, Amber Benbrook, stroll hand in hand through the busy streets of Cairo. The future is theirs for the taking.
But when Penrod's jealous former lover, Lady Agatha, plants doubt about his character, Amber leaves him and travels to the wilds of Abyssinia with her twin sister, Saffron, and her adventurer husband, Ryder Courtney. On a mission to establish a silver mine, they make the dangerous journey to the new capital of Addis Ababa, where they are welcomed by King Menelik II, the King of Kings. He knows of a plot to invade his beloved Abyssinia, and he needs the Courtneys to help him win.
Back in Cairo, a heartbroken Penrod seeks oblivion in Lady Agatha and the city's opium dens, descending into ruin. He is rescued from himself by an old friend, who is now in the Italian army, and offered the chance restore his honour and to join the military efforts. Italy has designs on Abyssinia, and there are rumours of a plan to invade . . .
Note, Once again, an attempt to bring Ballantynes and Courtneys together. It's a continuation of Triumph of the Sun. I didn't enjoy it much, not sure, but it might be a co-authored book, simply sold in the name of Wilbur Smith.
These are stand alone novels by Wilbur Smith. Out of these my personal favorites are "The Sunbird", and "Elephant Song".
The Dark of the Sun
Shout at the Devil
The Diamond Hunters
Eagle in the Sky
The Eye of the Tiger
Hungry as the Sea
I hope you too will enjoy this whole collection by Sir Wilbur Smith like I did.
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