Former operative Major Hector Cross must face off against a pair of lethal enemies and prevent an international catastrophe in this gripping contemporary adventure-thriller—perfect for fans of Clive Cussler, Ted Bell, and Vince Flynn—from the legendary worldwide bestselling author of Desert God and Golden Lion
One of the world’s most formidable fighters, ex-SAS warrior and former private security consultant Major Hector Cross has survived explosive tangles with depraved enemies—warlords, pirates, and arms dealers—from the Middle East to the heart of Africa. Now, Cross must take the law into his own hands once again to stop a vengeful old enemy who has resurfaced—and hunt down a deadly new nemesis in pursuit of global domination.Co-written with internationally bestselling author Tom Cain, this exciting tale, filled with knife-edge tension, cunning global intrigue, rip-roaring action, and breathtaking adventure, demonstrates the extraordinary vision and talent of a writer with a gift for consistently delivering nonstop entertainment.
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I WAS BORN OF BRITISH STOCK ON JANUARY 9, 1933 IN NORTHERN RHODESIA, NOW ZAMBIA, IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
As an infant of eighteen months I was struck down by cerebral malaria, delirious for ten days. The doctors told my parents that it was probably better if I died, because if I survived I would be brain damaged. Despite the primitive medical facilities available in Africa in those days, their prognosis proved correct; I survived and am now only mildly crazy. Which is good because you have to be at least slightly crazy to write fiction for a living.
I spent the first years of my life on my father's ranch, so I had as my playground 12,000 hectares (or if you prefer 25,000 acres) of forest, hills and savannah. My companions were the sons of the ranch workers, small black boys with the same interests and preoccupations as myself. Chief amongst these was avoiding the discipline and unreasonable interference of our elders. Armed with our slingshots and accompanied by a pack of mongrels we ranged at large through the bush, hunting and trapping birds and small mammals. These we scorched over a cooking fire and devoured with immense gusto. I returned home as late in the evening as I dared with my bare legs scratched and bloody from the viciously hooked 'wait-a bit' thorns, smelling strongly of wood smoke and dried sweat, and infested with bush ticks.
I was occasionally allowed to ride on the back of my father's pickup truck while he went about the business of a cattleman. Later when he had trained me not to talk too much and not to be “a bloody nuisance”, I was allowed to run with the herders and bring the cattle in for branding and dipping. As I made myself more useful I was gradually allowed to spend more time with him.
My old man was a Victorian father and ran a tight ship. He would not hesitate to pull his belt out of the loops of his trousers and give me taste of the buckle end. That was perfectly all right with me. I usually deserved it, and a few shots across my skinny little buttocks was small price to pay for being close to him. To me he was God on earth, and I worshipped him.
When I turned eight years of age he gave me a .22 Remington repeater rifle. It had belonged to my grandfather before him, and it had 122 notches on its butt. He taught me to shoot it safely and to honour the sportsman's code. Soon there was no more space on the butt for my own notches. It was the start of my lifelong love affair with firearms.
The previous owner of my rifle, my grandfather, possessed a magnificent pair of moustaches only slightly stained with tobacco juice. He could hit his spittoon at five paces without spilling a drop. He could spin a tale to make the eyes of an eight-year-old boy start out of their sockets. In his youth he had been a mighty Nimrod and warrior. He had commanded a Maxim gun team during the Zulu Wars. His name was Courtney James Smith. Later I took his name Courtney for the hero of my first novel, “When the Lion Feeds.”
If my old man was God then my mother was an angel from heaven. She shielded me from my father's rage, until it had cooled. She taught me to love all of nature. She opened my eyes to the beauty of the wild world all around me. She was an artist, and to this day at the age of 93 she still paints beautiful watercolours of trees and animals.
Best of all she loved books. Before I could read myself she taught me to revere books and the written word. Every night she read bed-time stories to me, and these sessions became the highlights of my long exciting days on the ranch.
Through her influence I became a reader myself at a precociously young age. I started with 'Biggles' and 'Just William'. Pretty soon I moved on to the novels of C.S. Forester, Ryder Haggard and John Buchan. From then onwards I always had a well-thumbed book in my pocket.
My father felt that my obsession with books was unnatural and unhealthy. I was forced to become a secret reader. I spent so much time in the outhouse long-drop latrine, where I kept a cache of my favourite books, that my father ordered my mother to administer regular and copious doses of castor oil.Review:
“Wilbur Smith is one of the legendary storytellers of our time, and Predator is Smith at the top of his game... A smart, sophisticated thriller that will suck you into a high-stakes world of winner-take-all.” (NELSON DEMILLE, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Radiant Angel)
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