Book Of The Month - October 2021

Updated: Jan 11

The Burning Shore By Wilbur Smith



We are kicking it off with a real classic this month by Wilbur Smith.

It has all the right ingredients, characters, sex and drive to keep the reader nailed to the page. If you have not read it, just do it!

The Burning Shore is part of the Courtney family saga that runs across several centuries, 20 books, every continent in the world and multiple generations.


Plot


In 1917 during World War I, South African fighter pilot Michael Courtney falls in love with Centaine, a French woman. On their wedding day – prior to their wedding – Courtney is killed in action, and, following the destruction of her home by a German bombardment,

The pregnant Centaine enrols as a nurse and embarks on a hospital ship for South Africa. The ship is torpedoed by a German U-Boat and Centaine lands on the Skeleton Coast. She attempts to make her way south to South Africa but is adopted by two San who teaches her how to survive in the desert.


Background


Smith later recalled "The women in some of my books are more powerful than the male characters, and that one was the breakthrough novel, because the female lead kicked the arse of all the males in the book... I was involved at the time with a very kick-arse woman [second wife Danielle Thomas] and she was fascinating, and I adapted her into the story."


Verdict


The book holds up well. It was published in 1985 but still the strong female in the story feels modern. The book is about diamonds, power, love, loss and building a family dynasty while surviving against all odds. We love the passion and fury that drips through every page of the book. This is a gem that should not be forgotten. A good read indeed!


Quotes From The Burning Shore


“I heard the footfalls, but it’s stopped now. It’s watching us, I can feel it.’ At that moment a small cloud passed over the moon and the world turned dark. ‘The moon will come out again soon.’ Centaine hugged the infant so hard that Shasa gave a little bleat of protest. ‘I’m sorry, baby.’ She relaxed her grip and then stumbled as she started forward. ‘I wish we hadn’t come – no, that’s not true. We had to come. We must be brave, Shasa. We can’t follow the spoor without the moon.’ She sank down to rest, looking up into the sky. The moon was a pale nimbus through the thin gunmetal cloud, and then it broke out into a hole in the cloud layer and for a moment flooded the glade with soft platinum light. ‘Shasa!’ Centaine’s voice rose into a high thin scream."