Monday, May 18, 2009

Trin's turn (Wilbur, brace yourself)

And here, hot on the heels of SA Les is our home-grown Aussie reviewer; the tough, the fearless, the forthright.... Trin.

Assegai opens in the early 1900's, just before the outbreak of WW1, with Leon Courtney, a very young 19 year old in His Majesty the King’s African Rifles hunting Nandi rebels and being seduced by an older woman – willingly I might add, but not simultaneously – both to the detriment of his military career.

Leon turns African hunter, although retaining interest in the military, courtesy of his high ranking uncle. With his trusted Masai warriors at his side and as the apprentice of an ageing white hunter of note, he very quickly is transformed into a great white hunter himself, with a maturity I have yet to come across in a 19 year old. Leon becomes part of a spy network, with the help of his Masai friends and a German customer’s beautiful mistress, with whom he falls in love.

We are given an insight into the sheer extravagance of the likes of Teddy Roosevelt whilst on expedition, as well as the European aristocracy (or just plain rich) of the times, complete with their extravagance, arrogance and, in some cases, downright cruelty to anything living.

Imagery was easy, but I found the rapid progress of a couple of the relationships to be slightly forced – perhaps due to editing. Not riveting reading, but a good read none the less.


Les said...

Wow Trin well done I knew you could do a better job than me.

Crookedpaw said...

Trin, in relation to your post on Les's review, the word is spelt caj├Ánes, pronounced ka-HO-knees.You wrote a good review.

Mr. Smith blends South African history well with his fiction, but while his tales are generally sweeping and action packed, I too have found his characters to be somewhat over the top. Going by your review, I can safely assume Assegai is no different, and thereby I wouldn't be missing anything by not reading it.

Well done!

Trin said...

Thanks CP and Les. I dont know that I did a better job - some of us humans tend to be a little critical of ourselves. Wasn't easy to keep under 200 words - 300 would have suited better once I got going. Tx CP for spelling nuts for me - is it a Spanish word?

Crookedpaw said...

Oops, spelling is wrong. Try cojones.

Cajones is Spanish for drawers, which is, I guess, where one might expect to find cojones, if you take the slang aspect.

But then again, Les might have had the drawers necessary to write the first review. After all, he does need somewhere to store his pen and paper.

I should go now, shouldn't I?

ali g said...

I expect when 'Ivory' comes out Mr Smith will undoubtedly feature it on his website?
I mean fair's fair..
Have the feeling that he has become a little 'lazy' in his dotage [if I may use that word.. er lazy & dotage] He wouldn't need to do any research for his Egyptian fantasy series methinks and his latest Courtney saga seems a bit of a rehash of his previous ones just with new characters and slightly different scenarios.
Perhaps he has a computer programme that he feeds an old one into that presto spits out another variation on the same old theme?
Maybe a bit biased here but I feel he wouldn't be able to write an African novel based on Africa as it is now, both politically, sociologically amd geographically.
I mean he's no Tony Park!
Anyway still a good read if you're into nostalgia..
Just found an African movie on E-bay 'To walk with Lions' with yr mother's old boyfriend Richard Harris starring. Loved it, great scenery, lots of pussy cats, elephants and a top story based on the latter years of George Adamson [of 'Born Free']
Vale George Adamson & Richard Harris ...
Have bought another copy [for $4.99 don't you just love the old Ebay?] and sent it to you today.
Just a big spender am I..
Big weekend here. Group of 12 lovely lady artists having a 4 day session with their art teacher.
3 originally from SA . They between them have bought 20 of your books. Hooah.

dozycow said...

That's a great review Trin - well done to you too.