RAGE by Wilbur Smith


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Veteran Smith continues his book-a-year pace with the third in his rowdy and eminently readable series on South Africa and the fate of two star-crossed half-brothers. In 1952, Manfred De La Ray and Shasa Courtney (both sons of the beautiful and mysterious Centaine de Thiry) have developed from youthful enemies to political rivals who need each other: Manfred is Minister of Police for the ruling Afrikaner National Party (devoted body and soul to apartheid), while Shasa--rich beyond belief from his mother's famous diamond mines--is a more liberal-thinking member of parliament for the United Party. But Manfred convinces Sasha to accept the powerful position of Minister of Mines and Industry (Sasha half-heartedly tells himself he can do more good inside the ruling party), and this all but destroys Sasha's failing marriage to the beautiful Tara. Tara, you see, is secretly having an affair with charismatic black nationalist leader Moses Gama (by whom she has a son), and Moses has convinced her to spy on Sasha and eventually to use her influence to allow Moses and his cronies to try to assassinate Prime Minister Voerwold and his entire cabinent. The plot fails; Moses is sentenced to death, and Sasha bans Tara from South Africa under pain of death. Meanwhile, a whole new generation of young Courtneys and De La Rays is popping up, ready to do service in what looks to be a nearly endless saga (we are only up to the early '60s). It's getting a little difficult to tell the players without a scorecard, but Smith still entertains with a vengeance, making this chronicle (The Burning Shore; Power of the Sword) one of the better ones around.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 1987
Publisher: Little, Brown