by Wilbur Smith

4.17 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings
(6 customer reviews)

4.17 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings
(6 customer reviews)


Monsoon is the sweeping epic that continues the saga begun in Wilbur Smith’s bestselling Birds of Prey. Once a voracious adventurer, it has been many years since Hal Courtney has dared the high seas. Now he must return with three of his sons – Tom, Dorian, and Guy – to protect the East India Trading Company from looting pirates, in exchange for half of the fortune he recovers. It will be a death or glory mission in the name of the crown. But Hal must also think about the fates of his sons. Like their father before them, Tom, Dorian, and Guy are drawn inexorably to Africa. When fate decrees that they must all leave England forever, they set said for the dark, unexplored continent, seduced by the allure and mystery of this new, magnificent, but savage land. All will have a crucial part to play in shaping the Courtneys’ destiny, as the family vies for a prize beyond any of their dreams. In a story of anger and passion, peace and war, Wilbur Smith evinces himself at the height of his storytelling powers. Set at the dawn of eighteenth-century England, with the Courtneys riding wind-tossed seas toward Arabia and Africa, Monsoon is an exhilarating adventure pitting brother against brother, man against sea, and good against evil.

Genre, Thrill Mystery Adventure, Indian Writing

About The Author

Wilbur Addison Smith (born 9 January 1933) is a South African novelist specialising in historical fiction about the international involvement in Southern Africa across three centuries, seen from the viewpoints of both black and white families.

An accountant by training, he gained a film contract with his first published novel When the Lion Feeds. This encouraged him to become a full-time writer, and he developed three long chronicles of the South African experience which all became best-sellers. He still acknowledges his publisher Charles Pick’s advice to “write about what you know best”, and his work takes in much authentic detail of the local hunting and mining way of life, along with the romance and conflict that goes with it. As of 2014 his 35 published novels had sold more than 120 million copies, 24 million of them in Italy.

Average Reader Rating

4.17 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings

Reader Reviews

6 reviews for Monsoon

  1. 4 out of 5

    “Amazing Reading”

  2. 4 out of 5

    For anyone familiar with Robert D Kaplan’s previous writings on the Indian Ocean in Foreign Affairs, or the changing nature of geopolitics, one would at first assume that this was merely an expansion of the aforementioned subjects. However, Kaplan’s Monsoon is much more than such an impersonal academic treatise, it is both a journey through the history and the present of the Indian Ocean countries.The central premise of Monsoon is that the Indian Ocean, rather than the Pacific and Atlantic, will be the new theatre of power rivalry in the 21st century as a result of the rise of China and India, and the ever growing importance of commerce along this sea route. At its heart is the continuing importance of Persian Gulf commerce, coupled with the growth of the Hydrocarbon market in Central Asia, and the desire of all powers to reach the sea. Particular flash points Kaplan outlines are Burma, where India and China are competing for influence with the regime for access to gas reserves and expanded trade routes, and the strait of Malacca, essentially the gateway between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In the 21st century world military power still counts, and this is indispensable when faced with piracy off the horn of Africa, and stability of commerce routes, but so does economic power and economic interconnectedness.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lot of good reviews of the book here. My (short) 2c. The actions by the Obama administration in the years since the book was written seems to be have been clearly influenced by folks with sentiments similar to the author. That is a good thing. One question goes begging – the author makes a great case for how the history of the Indian Ocean is one of trade and its consequences. But rarely is the potential role of the American corporations mentioned in this mix. Clearly globalization is not purely a state-driven phenomenon. The state plays the role of protecting the interests of its citizens. The multi-national corporations are descendants of the East India companies of yore. A book about the region which touches only lightly on these massive corporate actors seems deficient in some way. History would seem to suggest that while the US projects military power, the US corporations will have to in some ways align better with US’ national interests in the region.

  4. 5 out of 5

    “Believing themselves a chosen people destined to be the sword of the faith, the Portuguese show us a religious nationalism as doughty and often extreme as any in history. Portugal’s spectacular and sweeping conquest of the Indian Ocean littoral falls into a category similar to that of the Arab conquest of North Africa nine centuries earlier.””Empires arise and fall. Only their ideas can remain, adapted to the needs of the people they once ruled. The Portuguese brought few ideas save for their Catholic religion, which sank little root among Hindus and Muslims, so these ruins are merely sad, and, after a manner, beautiful. By contrast, the British brought tangible development, ports and railways, that created the basis for a modern state. More importantly, they brought the framework for parliamentary democracy that Indians, who already possessed indigenous traditions of heterodoxy and pluralism, were able to fit successfully to their own needs.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Most of the political economy books are very boring. 300 pages to prove a point that can be explained in 5 pages are the standard. I remember F.Zakaria’s ‘The Post-American World’ was so boring I had to put it away after 50 pages. Hence, I took a gamble by picking up Monsoon, and it proved to be the black swan: 300 pages of entertaining and informative study of the geo-political situation in countries surrouding the Indian ocean.This book is a study that takes the reader on a journey through a thriving region, alive with desire for the future. We see Oman, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Birma, Indonesia and Zanzibar through the eyes of RK (who has visited all countries, something not all political commentators do), and understand their role in the Big Game for world power in which US and China are creeping ever closer. Complemented by historical background (those Portuguese were ruthless..) this book writes a full picture, which is not two dimensional, but at least 100 dimensional with local, historical, geopolitical and economic factors to take into consideration. Even though this book is not travel literature, RK perfectly shows what intellectual baggage a traveler in the Indian ocean requires in order to understand his surroundings. I love it. Every chapter increased my desire to book a ticket to one of those countries and go and explore myself.I was afraid for a disturbing American focus, but this is absolutely not the case. US and China are active in this region to secure their oil and gas supply. All countries are thus measured by their allegiance to China or US. This is understandable, because this Game for world power is what keeps geopolitical analysts busy – and it is the reason they pick up this book. The only thing I don’t understand is that in other languages the subtitle is changed from ‘..the future of American power’ to ‘..the future of World power’. 

  6. 3 out of 5

    Another thorough and thought-provoking book from Kaplan. Monsoon had a very personal feel for me. Although it is only very peripherally about the UAE, it is also somehow ALL about the UAE. The nations of the Indian Ocean (Oman, Pakistan, Iran, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, and to a lesser extent, Burma) are all heavily present in the population of the UAE. They run this place. Ever since we moved here, I’ve thought that the UAE represented a kind of future where national boundaries don’t matter that much, and language and ethnicities who might be political enemies back home mix together happily for the sake of trade and business. It turns out that this is not (only) the future, it’s how it’s been in this area in the past, too. Fascinating.

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