CRY WOLF by Wilbur Smith


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Helter skelter adventure and Byronic hijinks as a swashbuckling British con man and an American tank engineer vie for the heart and body of Vicky Chambers, an American journalist, all of them thrown together in an exercise in futility: helping the Ethiopians ward off the marauding Italian army in 1935. The Ethiopians are drawn in heavy, vivid animal luster, full of high idealism and barbaric justice, while the Italians are led by a bombastic idiot, Count Aldo Belli, a name that rings with cowardice. The dialogue lashes about comically as Vicky tries to choose which suitor to mate with, Tyrone Power or Errol Flynn. As the plot grows ever more brutal (Vicky, stark-naked, facing a wounded lion; Vicky, naked from waist up, facing off the Italian army; Vicky, stark again, hung from a tripod while her breastone is razored open--some fruity sex-horror scenes that take you back to white-slavery fiction), the story's shaky grip on realism slowly deteriorates. Naturally, Vicky makes the wrong first choice (Errol), but that lucky rotter later sacrifices himself so that she and Ty can escape sure doom in a finale out of Beau Ge:re. Not bad fun; a kind of wicked leg-pull. . . whether intended or not.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday