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Summary

A lost civilisation. A curse reborn.

Dr Ben Kazin has only a blurred photograph and a gut instinct that there is a lost city to uncover somewhere beneath the Botswana cliffs. Soon, a whispered curse and a chance encounter with a local tribe lead him to discover much more than city foundations.

The curse, it seems, is real, and will link Ben, his oldest friend and the woman they both love with a forgotten leader from 2,000 years ago, in a city of glory and honour that subsequently disappeared without a trace. But what happened to that ancient civilisation? And what is it that connects that lost empire to Ben and the violent dangers he must face in the present day?

An action-packed archaeological adventure from global best seller Wilbur Smith.

©2019 Wilbur Smith (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

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What listeners say about The Sunbird

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Magic

Wilbur Smith's finest work. Comparible only to River God. When I first read this in my teens, I fell in love with it. It had everything I wanted from a book; archeology, history, battle, gods, everything that made my heart beat just a little faster. I hadn't read the book for over 20 years, and downloaded it with trepidation, concerned that it would no longer hold magic. But, I'm delighted to say, it's still wonderful, and brought to life by an absolutely fantastic performance by the narrator. This book inspired me to be a writer. And now I am, having written three novels and a number of plays and screenpays.

Www.bjedwards.co.uk

19 people found this helpful

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Staggering

One of the most remarkable books of historical fiction from the master story teller Wilbur Smith which, although already read twice years ago, achieved a new level with this incredible narration.

9 people found this helpful

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The magic of Wilbur never ceases...

I have read every Wilbur Smith book written - (I read only 1 of his Hector Cross books and will not do so again) and now to have the story and the magic of his imagery come alive in Audible I am "re-reading" these stories which take my breathe away every time, having grown up in South Africa (now living in the UK) watching the tides of political change and experiencing the bush, history and culture of the country I can smell the wood smoke and the sunsets and everything else that he describes so vividly.

I rated the performance slightly lower, although good, not all the South African accents came off so well and tended to grate a little on the ears, but were soon swept up in the story then it did not matter so much!

5 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

Started well, a bit slow but was interesting. I like adventure and archeological books.
Unfortunately it involved hunting and killing wild animals, war zones. Then it jumped to the past and never quite tied up any ends. I have read many lols by the author and enjoyed them. This unfortunately I really didn’t like.

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terrific story brilliantly read - a gripping tale

the sunbird is a beautifully crafted twin tale of archaeological discovery and ancient adventure - part Indiana Jones and part Gladiator.

2 people found this helpful

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Laboured

Rather laborious this one, unfortunate South African accents throughout. Good for going to sleep to though

2 people found this helpful

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Not his best. Sorry Wilbur,

I haven't finished it, really struggled with it, the story split in to 2 halves was interesting idea but the second half was just too much to keep my interest.

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A Great story with amazing detail and passion.

I have listened to this book before, and was delighted to find that I enjoyed it just as much this time as I did the first, the characters are so detailed and interesting that it's difficult to pick a favourite? but I think for me its Hoy Ben amon. a real rollercoaster of a book with such detailed research of history and ancient cultures, also very brutal in its nature as so typical of Wilbur Smith books. Will always be one of my favourite stories, couldn't recommend it enough.

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Stunning after all these years

I loved The Sunbird when I first read it, probably nearly fifty years ago. Over the years I reread it, but was hesitant to download the Audible version, fearing to find the story racist and misogynistic.
Well yes, it is a book of its time (early seventies), and women, disabled people and blacks are put in their place. But under the contemporary terms, Smith wrote a book revealing the terrible cost of discrimination against all minorities. This is a book about the price of servitude, and the potential unforeseen costs of liberation.

And the story still explodes off the page. Completely compelling, utterly captivating: the cleverly handled dual timelines take the reader on a twisting ruthless What-If across the history of Southern Africa, revealing the vulnerability of even the strongest regimes.

I loved The Sunbird then, I love it still. A brilliant book, highly recommended.

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Classic Wilbur adventure at its best

Written in 1972. I’d never heard of it. I’m a big fan of the River God, and Seventh Scroll. If you like those, you will LOVE this.

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  • John
  • 15-02-20

Wonderful story marred by 1970s cultural bigotry

I read this in the 1970s soon after its release and loved it, as I did all of Wilbur Smith's works back then. I hadn't touched a Smith book since but recently returned to this wonderful story as an audiobook. The story retains its outstanding features: a clever and engrossing narrative, satisfying moments of success and failure, larger than life characters, an intriguing alternate ancient history of Africa, and two nicely executed parallel stories separated by 2000 years. The narration of the book does the writing justice, delivered with a pleasing variety of accents and dramatic touches. On the downside, modern listeners will find some of the 1970s attitudes and assumptions jarring: casual racism, bigoted sexual references, the careless killing of wildlife, and stereotypical white male supremacy. If you can ignore these offenses (which were acceptable when written but sound dreadful now) the story is a rewarding trip down memory lane for those who enjoyed the book 50 years ago.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Audrey
  • 03-07-22

South African accent

Beautifully written, the accent not so much. Signed A South African lover of Wilbur Smith

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  • Christer Ellingsen
  • 24-04-22

Excellent storytelling

I find sunbird to be of Wilbur Smith's best stories. Wonderful imagination, creation of a full culture one might say fantasy at its best.
The reading of the story is just too much, too much drama too much thespian effort. And the female voices sounds like little girls.

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  • Drew
  • 05-04-22

Not my favorite Wilbur Smith

I prefer the performance of Sean Barrett. Entertaining novel but not his best. Maybe I’ve been binging too hard and the formula is getting old. I’ll take a break before returning.

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  • J S Foley
  • 30-12-21

Not a great audible listen

Not sure what happened. I was all involved with the story and then it switched to some far forgotten story in the middle. I was lost the whole last part of the listen. Love Wilber Smith’s books and listening to them. This one for me was not a good one to listen to. I was completely lost in part 2.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-11-21

great story

my 3rd time of reading this story, 1st time in audio. excellent. must read for all

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  • thomas
  • 08-11-21

the best Wilbur Smith stand alone novel!

this book truly is epic. Sunbird is Wilbur Smith at his best. The characters are well thought out and I find myself lost in their worlds. I have always been a fan of mr Smith and this is my favorite stand alone book by far.

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  • Geordie
  • 24-10-21

Astonishing as always.

As always Wilbur Smith's novels makes you feel like you are in Africa. He mixes fact with fiction that makes you struggle to put his novels down

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  • Rustom D Patel
  • 13-03-21

One of the best stand alone Wilbur Smiths I have read

A true master piece ! A stand alone book with characters that resemble the Egypt / Courtney / Ballantine series !!!
A must read !

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  • Elizabeth Chilcott
  • 25-04-19

Another spectacular Wilbur Smith book of Africa

Like his River God series, Wilbur Smith weaves a fascinating tale in the past and present with a rich geographic description and wonderfully full fleshed characters. There is plenty of excitement as well.....thoroughly enjoyable.