Turbulent is the word for Wilbur Smith whose first novel, in brawling Cinemascope, is set against the violently pitching background of South Africa during the 1890's. Seen through a cracked lens, darkly, the main characters are twins, Sean and Garry Courtenay. As lads, while out hunting, Sean accidentally blows Garry's leg to bits and, when their father forces Sean to witness its amputation, Sean develops an emotional frigidity anent the hazards of flesh that never leaves him. During a Commando campaign against the Zulus, he discovers his father's rotted corpse and comments, ""There's nothing to say"". Later, when his young wife pulls through a difficult delivery, blackwater fever, a miscarriage and finally commits suicide, he comments, ""I am not going to cry--crying never helps very much"". Garry marries Sean's pregnant girl-friend when it's thought Sean is dead. Garry, though, takes to drink because he's impotent. Sean leaves home and wanders into the gold fields, makes a fabulous strike and eventually splits with passion for young Katrina, whom he marries. She jumps down a mine shaft and Sean returns to his old cold self. The incidents tumble and swirl with a somewhat swollen prose tremolo (""...the storm surf of her anger abated to expose the black reefs of hatred beneath"") but the story's inventive energy overrides its style and dialogue.