Book Review – Those in Peril

Book: Those in Peril
Written By: Wilbur Smith
Genre: Action – Contemporary – Adventure

Although this is the first novel by Smith that I read, I was stunned with the fandom he seems to have created with his other novels. The web is full of rave reviews and recommendations for many of his works, including the Egyptian series.

“Those in Peril” is an Africa-based novel, and delves into the depths of a topic of burning contentions across the world – Piracy in Somalian waters. Given the absolute relevance of the subject Smith has chosen to handle, you would expect the author to go easy on sensitive and possibly controversy-provoking issues. But Smith does none of that. He takes the theme head on and makes his stance booming loud and crystal clear. Smith deserves kudos for that very reason.

The plot revolves around these protagonists – Hazel Bannock, a tennis-star turned heir to a business tycoon, who stumps the world with her keen sense of investment and her acumen in making profits; Hazel’s 19-year old daughter Cayla, pampered, and used to getting things done her way; Hector Cross, who has a heart of iron and nerves of steel, and utterly devoid of emotions, and who heads the firm providing security to Bannock Oil Corporation. When Cayla gets kidnapped and is taken hostage, and there’s little help coming in from the White House, a bewildered Hazel is left with no choice but to cross legal boundaries with the help of Hector and win her daughter back. The plot gets thickened with each passing page, sprayed with sentiments of revenge and righteousness.

The narrative is gripping, no doubt. But there are times when the reader might wish for a solace from the formidably graphical descriptions. The atrocities are all describes in gruesome detail and the author seems to have forgotten that there’s something called a subtle story-telling. Nevertheless, the book still makes for a pacy and fast page-turner. Smith does the twist and turn scene building with effortless ease and takes the reader along on a journey that blends fiction with the horrifying reality of piracy that’s rampant even today in the Indian Ocean.

If you are looking for the likes of a classic literary masterpiece, then this book may not fit your bill, but if what you are looking for is a fast read for a train journey, then this book will definitely catch your attention – hook, line, and sinker!

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