The Triumph of the Sun

The Triumph of the Sun

by Wilbur Smith

They've come from out of the shifting sands and down from ancient mountains. Mounted on horse and camel, carrying gleaming swords and plundered rifles, the sons of Allah are led by a holy warrior imbued with jihad, driving his army of thousands to

  • Series: Courtney
  • Language: English
  • Category: Historical
  • Rating: 4.00
  • Pages: 635
  • Publish Date: April 4th 2006 by St. Martin's Press
  • Isbn10: 0312939183
  • Isbn13: 9780312939182

Read the Book "The Triumph of the Sun" Online

For two, Triumph of the Sun is part of a long series of books written by Smith, detailing the lives of the Ballantyne and Courtney families and the continent of Africa. And to be clear, Triumph of the Sun is not the first book in the series. I decided to read a book by a guy Id never heard of about characters who have been around since 1964. I wanted to read about Chinese Gordon, Khartoum, whirling dervishes and the battle of Omdurman. But there was this novel, Triumph of the Sun. Of course, I hesitated. Then I read a scathing reader review by a guy who gave this book one star for, among other things, having too much gratuitous sex and violence. When it comes to historical novels, you can never have too much gratuitous sex and violence. They sent an English officer General Charles Chinese Gordon to the Sudan to organize a withdrawal. Triumph of the Sun opens with the Siege of Khartoum already well under way. We are quickly introduced to the Benbrooks, an English family caught in Khartoum. The two English stalwarts are the ridiculously-named Penrod Ballantyne and the ridiculously-named Ryder Courtney (who sounds like he could be in One Direction). It is clear from this book that Smith has done a prodigious amount of research on the lives and customs of the desert tribes. The chief dervish character is Osman Atalan, a fictional lieutenant of the Mahdi (who is also a major figure in the novel). Osman is an arch enemy of Penrod Ballantyne, which makes for several enjoyably silly moments when the two of them are able to find each other in the midst of a huge, swirling, dust-choked battle to clash with swords. When I think of a great sex scene, one thing comes to mind: the poorer the taste the better. When I read fictional sex, I want it to be over-the-top. If it sounds a bit like Im mocking this book, well, its because Im mocking parts of it. He takes his two-dimensional characters (who say things like I cannot live another moment without you inside me) and puts them through their paces. It is a book that will satisfy Wilbur Smith fans.

How is it that I never before read Wilbur Smith? I am particularly impressed with the way Smith brings in detailed historical information without in any way slowing the flow of the story.

Reading a Wibur Smith novel is like reading a romance novel packaged as well-researched historical fiction or vice-versa.

Avventura allo stato puro e grande Storia si completano splendidamente in questo avvincente romanzo ambientato durante l'assedio della città sudanese di Khartoum nel 1884. Teso e incalzante sino alla capitolazione di Khartoum e alla rocambolesca liberazione di Saffron e Amber Benbrook, il libro rallenta il ritmo e si trascina stancamente sino alla riconquista della città sudanese avvenuta nel 1896, favorita anche dalla grande superiorità tecnologica britannica che con la ferrovia che portò rapidamente le truppe riposate al fronte, con nuove e più sicure cannoniere che solcarono il Nilo e soprattutto con le micidiali mitragliatrici Maxim riuscì a dare un supporto tecnico indispensabile alla vittoria sui dervisci.

Nelle quasi 600 pagine di questo romanzo di Wilbur Smith (datato 2005), ci troviamo davvero di tutto: avventura, amore, guerra, fanatismo religioso, tradimenti e speranza. Viceversa, e in maniera quasi paradossale, il punto di forza di "Il trionfo del sole" (e di tanti altri libri di Wilbur Smith) è proprio la magnifica e divina descrizione dei paesaggi africani: mentre stiamo leggendo un capitolo (ma anche un semplice paragrafo) con la scena che si svolge o nella savana o in pieno deserto, Smith riesce a catapultarti nel libro stesso e a darti l'impressione di sentire sul serio tutta l'afa (e la polvere del deserto) del continente africano.

Set against the backdrop of the Siege of Khartoum in Africa in 1884-85, this novel follows two main characters, both with rich family histories already chronicled in Wilbur Smiths other works. This is the first time the Courtney and Ballantyne families have met in any of the myriads of Wilbur Smiths novels.

Checking in Wikipedia I found that he was quite a colorful character.

As the Courtney series trudges along, Smith moves the story ahead to the latter decades of the 19th century, leaving the previous three novels and their context up to the reader's imagination. Ryder Courtney, a British subject and trader in the region (not to mention the kid brother of Waite, whose sons play a key role in the first series of Courtney novels), finds himself trapped in the capital city of Khartoum, alongside the British Consul-General, David Benbrook, the Consul-General's three daughters, and Captain Penrod Ballantyne. While plotting an escape from the region, both Courtney and Ballantyne find themselves romantically drawn to and involved with the eldest Benbrook daughter, Rebecca, though neither can completely claim her heart. Smith offers an interesting end to the novel, which solidifies that it is the Benbrook women, and not either a Courtney or Ballantyne, who play a central role in the overall plot. In the case of Rebecca's children, Smith offers a narrative that seems to encompass their entire lives in a few paragraphs, leaving the reader to wonder if the final two Courtney novels will veer off into another direction.

The whole thing - or at least as far as I got - just reads like a horrible James Clavell spoof.

Smith seems to have written this in the old-fashioned omniscient point of view which tends to keep characters at arm's length from the reader. The historical background made the story interesting and he does a wonderful job of transporting you to that time and place.

His other books include Those in Peril, River God, Warlock, The Seventh Scroll, and The Sunbird.