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  The brand new Courtney Series novel. A brand new Courtney Series novel by bestselling author, Wilbur Smith.  1754. Inseparable since birth and growing up in India, Theo and Connie Courtney are torn apart by the tragic death of their parents. Theo, wracked with guilt, strikes a solitary path through life. Haunted by the spirits of lovers and family members, he is determined   The brand new Courtney Series novel. A brand new Courtney Series novel by bestselling author, Wilbur Smith.  1754. Inseparable since birth and growing up in India, Theo and Connie Courtney are torn apart by the tragic death of their parents. Theo, wracked with guilt, strikes a solitary path through life. Haunted by the spirits of lovers and family members, he is determined to atone for his mistakes. He seeks salvation in combat and conflict, joining the British in the war against the French and Indian army. Believing herself abandoned by her brother, and abused and brutalised by a series of corrupt guardians, Connie vows never to let any man own her. Instead, she uses her beauty to manipulate her way to France, where she is welcomed into high society. But Connie once again finds herself at the mercy of vicious men, whose appetite for war and glory lead her to the frontlines of the French battlefield in North America. As the siblings find their destinies converging once more, they realise that the vengeance and redemption they both desperately seek could cost them their lives . . . An epic story of tragedy, loss, betrayal and courage that brings the reader deep into the seething heart of the French Indian War.


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  The brand new Courtney Series novel. A brand new Courtney Series novel by bestselling author, Wilbur Smith.  1754. Inseparable since birth and growing up in India, Theo and Connie Courtney are torn apart by the tragic death of their parents. Theo, wracked with guilt, strikes a solitary path through life. Haunted by the spirits of lovers and family members, he is determined   The brand new Courtney Series novel. A brand new Courtney Series novel by bestselling author, Wilbur Smith.  1754. Inseparable since birth and growing up in India, Theo and Connie Courtney are torn apart by the tragic death of their parents. Theo, wracked with guilt, strikes a solitary path through life. Haunted by the spirits of lovers and family members, he is determined to atone for his mistakes. He seeks salvation in combat and conflict, joining the British in the war against the French and Indian army. Believing herself abandoned by her brother, and abused and brutalised by a series of corrupt guardians, Connie vows never to let any man own her. Instead, she uses her beauty to manipulate her way to France, where she is welcomed into high society. But Connie once again finds herself at the mercy of vicious men, whose appetite for war and glory lead her to the frontlines of the French battlefield in North America. As the siblings find their destinies converging once more, they realise that the vengeance and redemption they both desperately seek could cost them their lives . . . An epic story of tragedy, loss, betrayal and courage that brings the reader deep into the seething heart of the French Indian War.

30 review for Ghost Fire

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I’ll say 3.5 stars, though Goodreads has yet to permit this to be properly reflected. First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Wilbur Smith, Tom Harper, and Bonnier Zaffre USA for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. Having long been a fan of the Courtney series, I was pleased to see Wilbur Smith back with the seventeenth instalment. Working alongside Tom Harper, they trim back the family tree—or at least seek different br I’ll say 3.5 stars, though Goodreads has yet to permit this to be properly reflected. First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Wilbur Smith, Tom Harper, and Bonnier Zaffre USA for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. Having long been a fan of the Courtney series, I was pleased to see Wilbur Smith back with the seventeenth instalment. Working alongside Tom Harper, they trim back the family tree—or at least seek different branches—with another of the flashback novels that explores an earlier group of the popular family. Set in mid-18th century India, Theo and Connie Courtney have grown up as British subjects in the East India Company. When fighting breaks out, a proxy theatre of the Thirty Years War, Theo and Connie are left to fend for themselves after their parents perish. After Theo and Connie have a falling out, the former joins the fight to quell the local uprising, while Connie finds herself captured and detained. Theo’s friendships on the battlefield to keep Calcutta from falling lead him to make a promise to one of his comrades. When the dust settles and presuming that Connie is among the dead, Theo sails for the Thirteen Colonies, where he delivers news of a man’s death. With nowhere else to go, Theo connects with the locals and begins a new round of trials and tribulations. Meanwhile, Connie is well and saved from her Indian prison by a soldier who wishes to take her to France. However, her keen eye and attention to detail works well for Connie, who sets foot on French soil with a story of being a widow. She injects herself into French society as best she can, while Theo is across the world, also brushing shoulders with the French, though for completely different reasons. As Courtneys, they have gumption and while they may not admit it, there is a fire within them to survive, no matter what is put before them. In a tale of blood, fighting, and perseverance, Smith and Harper use this interesting flashback novel to bring their point home In this series that has seen much ebb and flow throughout its development, this one remains relatively strong. Fans of the series may enjoy this one, though it is sometimes hard to become enthralled with an era that differs greatly from the original series. I have long enjoyed the work of Wilbur Smith, though this is the only series of his I have read (save, the intertwined Ballantynes). His attention to detail and wonderful characters are second to none and they fly off the page, enticing the reader to learn more about them, no matter the time period covered. In this piece, Smith and Harper develop both separate and intertwined narratives for the two protagonists. Theo Courtney is full of the energy of his ancestors and descendants, wanting to fight for what he feels is right. His split from his sister is partially pig-headedness and partially passion clouded in anger. As the narrative progresses, the reader can see how Theo uses all that is before him to make the most of the experience, though he is prone to finding trouble. By contrast, Connie seems happy to let life lead the way, though she is by no means a helpless damsel. Her independence is muted by the time, though she remains cunning and finds ways to get what she wants, through both her mind and with her own looks. Many of the other characters offer interesting perspectives throughout the novel, complementing the protagonists throughout. While this era is not one that I enjoy in this series, I must applaud Smith and Harper for keeping things interesting and on point. I struggled at times with the narrative, though was able to pick-up on the poignant parts that kept the narrative moving forward. Rich with history and told in numerous locales, the story rises above some of the other books in the series to keep the reader curious until the final pages. Kudos, Messrs. Smith and Harper, for a decent addition to the series. It may be that the era is not of interest to me, but I can surely see a great deal of potential within the pages of this novel. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    Ghost Fire by Wilbur Smith This is Wilbur Smith's 18th installment about the Courtney family. It's 1754 Theo and Constance Courtney lost their parents in an attack on Madras, India by the French. Theo promises Constance he will always protect her, they're sent to their cousin Gerard in Calcutta, Constance is introduced into society while Theo is sent to work for the East India Company. Soon Calcutta is under attack from the French & the Indian's, the siblings are separated and in the ensuing bat Ghost Fire by Wilbur Smith This is Wilbur Smith's 18th installment about the Courtney family. It's 1754 Theo and Constance Courtney lost their parents in an attack on Madras, India by the French. Theo promises Constance he will always protect her, they're sent to their cousin Gerard in Calcutta, Constance is introduced into society while Theo is sent to work for the East India Company. Soon Calcutta is under attack from the French & the Indian's, the siblings are separated and in the ensuing battle Theo believes that Constance is dead, while she believes that Theo has deserted her to save himself. Theo’s travels take him to America. There he finds love and once again suffers loss. Captured and adopted by the Abenaki Indians he learns the ways of the tribe. The skills that he learns will serve him well when he later joins the Rangers. Once again he finds himself fighting in a war with the French. Meanwhile, Constance finds her way to Paris, where she supports herself with the favors of wealthy men. Wilbur Smith knows how to write a good family saga, it had all the elements that keep me interested. Exotic places, betrayal, murder and a historical theme that ties it all together. 18 books in the series and I'm still reading them so he must be doing something right. 4 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sally Cronin

    I have been a fan of Wilbur Smith since the mid 1960s when I read his first Courtney family adventure When the Lion Feeds and I have read every book since. I have to say that I do prefer his historical novels including the Egyptian series rather than his more modern books, so I would pleased to see that Ghost Fire returns to the past. It is a wonderful adventure with Theo and Constance Courtney living and surviving the conflicts that devastate their family and force them into dire situations in o I have been a fan of Wilbur Smith since the mid 1960s when I read his first Courtney family adventure When the Lion Feeds and I have read every book since. I have to say that I do prefer his historical novels including the Egyptian series rather than his more modern books, so I would pleased to see that Ghost Fire returns to the past. It is a wonderful adventure with Theo and Constance Courtney living and surviving the conflicts that devastate their family and force them into dire situations in order to survive. This was not a good time for women and whilst Constance does not come across as particularly likeable, she had to be tough to stay alive. Theo is created more in the usual Courtney mold, brave, daring and willing to sacrifice everything for love. From the heat and exotic India to the woods and British and French struggle for dominance in America, this is action packed and fast paced. I enjoyed and thought the collaboration with Tom Harper worked very well.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Loraine Oliver

    Ghost Fire is the 18th book in the Courtney series and all I can say is that this is the first book by Wilbur Smith I have read. That being said, I loved this book so much I have decided to read the whole series! This book has everything in it; adventure, history, war, and it takes place all over the world. A brother and sister, after a horrible accident takes their parent's lives, have to go on. Theo is 14, and his sister is 16, and Theo promises to always be there for his sister, Constance. Unf Ghost Fire is the 18th book in the Courtney series and all I can say is that this is the first book by Wilbur Smith I have read. That being said, I loved this book so much I have decided to read the whole series! This book has everything in it; adventure, history, war, and it takes place all over the world. A brother and sister, after a horrible accident takes their parent's lives, have to go on. Theo is 14, and his sister is 16, and Theo promises to always be there for his sister, Constance. Unfortunately, war separates them for over three years. Theo winds up going to the colonies in North America, and then lives with an Indian tribe where he marries a young woman. Circumstances happen and he goes into the army to fight the French. Constance winds up in france, after marrying an officer (to be able to leave India) and when he treats her terribly, she goes to Paris. Constance and Theo have grown up so differently since they parted, and during a battle between the French, English and Indians Theo is captured. Constance sees him right away in the jail and helps him escape. At that point in time, Connie tells him she will go back to France to live. This book was so amazing, had beautiful writing, and the descriptions made me believe I was there living in that time. I gave this book 5 stars and am so glad I received this ARC or I would not have stumbled upon such a great author!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I don't believe Mr. Smith himself made any significant contribution to this book, aside from putting his name on the cover. The writing is so choppy, sentences 4-5 words long, it looks like something a middle-schooler might have written. I have been reading his books for years and it doesn't sound like him at all. Gratuitous violence and unnecessary gore abound. Wilbur Smith's books didn't shy from the rough and tumble of life but it was never presented so tastelessly. I read with pleasure "War C I don't believe Mr. Smith himself made any significant contribution to this book, aside from putting his name on the cover. The writing is so choppy, sentences 4-5 words long, it looks like something a middle-schooler might have written. I have been reading his books for years and it doesn't sound like him at all. Gratuitous violence and unnecessary gore abound. Wilbur Smith's books didn't shy from the rough and tumble of life but it was never presented so tastelessly. I read with pleasure "War Cry" and "Courtney War" written in collaboration with David Churchill and that was a whole different kettle of fish. Mr. Churchill was able, not to say imitate, but to get "in sync" with Mr. Smith's writing style, so, plainly put, you read the kind of book you expected to read. Unfortunately, that's not the case here. From now on I will only read Mr. Smith's books if they are written in collaboration with David Churchill. Anything else seems to be a shameless name exploitation. Have a respect for one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Maynard

    Ghost Fire A FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL! Jul 24 2019 – 11:44 AM By wondermommy22 An awesome journey! Theo and Constance's story is one of tragedy, and conflict. But will each one have the courage it takes to win the fight for freedom? These two amazing characters find themselves in the midst of the French Indian war, and get separated from each other. After the loss of their parents. And each thinks the other is dead. Will they find each other among the chaos? Or will they both go down fighting? A wonder Ghost Fire A FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL! Jul 24 2019 – 11:44 AM By wondermommy22 An awesome journey! Theo and Constance's story is one of tragedy, and conflict. But will each one have the courage it takes to win the fight for freedom? These two amazing characters find themselves in the midst of the French Indian war, and get separated from each other. After the loss of their parents. And each thinks the other is dead. Will they find each other among the chaos? Or will they both go down fighting? A wonderful complex story, especially on page 122, when Connie thought she was dreaming. that part was scary. I wanted to scream out for her and her predicament she was in. My heart reached out for her. That took an extremely talented author to get those feelings to come out that way. Wilbur Smith brought these characters to life through an amazing journey that kept me spellbound. I loved this book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Wow I have not read Wilbur Smith in years and what a read. A real page turner, the English, the French and Red Indians starting in India and ending in Albany. Historic fact bound in a tale of savagery and fierce love. A real good read

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sally Cronin

    I have been a fan of Wilbur Smith since I read his first book in the 1960s when I was a teenager. Apart from the African series I have also enjoyed his Egyptian series very much too. Wild Fire which is co-authored with Tom Harper is definitely a reminder of those earlier Courtney books, filled with adventure, men and women pushed to the limit of endurance, fights for survival, and great characters and plot set in a time of conflict in India and America. The roles of brother and sister, Theo and C I have been a fan of Wilbur Smith since I read his first book in the 1960s when I was a teenager. Apart from the African series I have also enjoyed his Egyptian series very much too. Wild Fire which is co-authored with Tom Harper is definitely a reminder of those earlier Courtney books, filled with adventure, men and women pushed to the limit of endurance, fights for survival, and great characters and plot set in a time of conflict in India and America. The roles of brother and sister, Theo and Constance Courtney are compelling. The era was not kind to women, and they had to resort at times to actions that we might find inexcusable today. The time was also brutal for the men, either when they were thrust into war or volunteered. The other characters are colourful and whilst they are definitely painted very clearly good or evil, there was room for redemption for some of them. I found it tough to put the book down and would certainly recommend to anyone who enjoys fast paced historical adventure stories with some romance added to offer some respite from the action.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I was excited to start Ghost Fire. I found myself saying in the first few chapters that this was going to be a great book. The children Theo and Connie go to the barracks to see what is happening, Their well-off parents find out and go after them. The parents are tragically killed. I thought this is going to be a great book as the kids will be on an adventure recovering from their parents deaths and overcoming several obstacles. The ....after arriving at their twenty-five-year-old cousin Gerard’s I was excited to start Ghost Fire. I found myself saying in the first few chapters that this was going to be a great book. The children Theo and Connie go to the barracks to see what is happening, Their well-off parents find out and go after them. The parents are tragically killed. I thought this is going to be a great book as the kids will be on an adventure recovering from their parents deaths and overcoming several obstacles. The ....after arriving at their twenty-five-year-old cousin Gerard’s house everything changes. Gerard sends Theo to work and live at the Company and keeps Connie at his house. One day, Theo goes to see Connie. He does not find her on the first floor so he goes up to her bedroom. He opens the door and finds Gerard and Connie. The author lost me as this scene was very explicit and not needed, I tried to go on but quickly lost interest. I very rarely do not finish a book but I just couldn’t keep going. Thank you to Bookishfirst and Zaffre for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    An epic adventure spanning the globe from colonial India, to Europe and North America. While I did enjoy and appreciate Ghost Fire for its descriptive settings and fast paced plot, I'm not sure I will read the other books in this series simply because I prefer my adventures a little more modern (ie. 20th century) and a bit more intellectual. Too much gratuitous violence and graphic sex scenes for my taste. That being said, I would still recommend it for those who enjoy 18th century swashbuckling An epic adventure spanning the globe from colonial India, to Europe and North America. While I did enjoy and appreciate Ghost Fire for its descriptive settings and fast paced plot, I'm not sure I will read the other books in this series simply because I prefer my adventures a little more modern (ie. 20th century) and a bit more intellectual. Too much gratuitous violence and graphic sex scenes for my taste. That being said, I would still recommend it for those who enjoy 18th century swashbuckling, high octane adventures of violence and revenge, full of brave men and damsels in distress. Thank you to NetGalley and Bonnier Zaffre USA (Zaffre) for providing a digital copy in return for an honest, unbiased review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    A fast paced, boisterous bodice ripper, very loosely based on history, but so loosely it can't really be called historical fiction. But maybe alt-historical fiction? The twists & turns in the plot, the challenges to your willing suspension of disbelief, and the very 21st century narcissism of the two young main characters would make a science fiction writer proud. But there is a fair amount of humor to tickle the real history buff. The Abenaki switch sides at the last minute to make sure those m A fast paced, boisterous bodice ripper, very loosely based on history, but so loosely it can't really be called historical fiction. But maybe alt-historical fiction? The twists & turns in the plot, the challenges to your willing suspension of disbelief, and the very 21st century narcissism of the two young main characters would make a science fiction writer proud. But there is a fair amount of humor to tickle the real history buff. The Abenaki switch sides at the last minute to make sure those main characters make it into the next books. But I won't be following them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kim Raccoon

    I did not enjoy this book at all. It seemed, based on the description, that this would be right up my alley. Between the historical fiction and the siblings trying to find each other in spite of crazy odds should be awesome! Unfortunately, this book appears to be a part of a larger series and would have made a lot more sense if I had read those other books. There is a lot of explaining and exposition that was necessary because of this, and it made it really difficult to get through the first fif I did not enjoy this book at all. It seemed, based on the description, that this would be right up my alley. Between the historical fiction and the siblings trying to find each other in spite of crazy odds should be awesome! Unfortunately, this book appears to be a part of a larger series and would have made a lot more sense if I had read those other books. There is a lot of explaining and exposition that was necessary because of this, and it made it really difficult to get through the first fifty pages. I wound up actually skimming a lot of this because I was so uninterested in what was happening to these characters. The writing was just okay, though you could definitely feel as though you were in the places that were being described. I won't be reading anything else from this author.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    SYNOPSIS: 1754. Inseparable since birth and growing up in India, Theo and Connie Courtney are torn apart by the tragic death of their parents. Theo, wracked with guilt, strikes a solitary path through life. Haunted by the spirits of lovers and family members, he is determined to atone for his mistakes. He seeks salvation in combat and conflict, joining the British in the war against the French and Indian army. Believing herself abandoned by her brother, and abused and brutalised by a series of c SYNOPSIS: 1754. Inseparable since birth and growing up in India, Theo and Connie Courtney are torn apart by the tragic death of their parents. Theo, wracked with guilt, strikes a solitary path through life. Haunted by the spirits of lovers and family members, he is determined to atone for his mistakes. He seeks salvation in combat and conflict, joining the British in the war against the French and Indian army. Believing herself abandoned by her brother, and abused and brutalised by a series of corrupt guardians, Connie vows never to let any man own her. Instead, she uses her beauty to manipulate her way to France, where she is welcomed into high society. But Connie once again finds herself at the mercy of vicious men, whose appetite for war and glory lead her to the frontlines of the French battlefield in North America. As the siblings find their destinies converging once more, they realise that the vengeance and redemption they both desperately seek could cost them their lives . . . An epic story of tragedy, loss, betrayal and courage that brings the reader deep into the seething heart of the French Indian War. I very much enjoyed the story, the writing style, and the characters. It has a little bit of everything, loss, courage, adventure, redemption, all set amid the French Indian war.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan Beamon

    The next in the Courtney family saga, this book is set starting in 1754 and tracks the early adult life of Theo and Connie Courtney. While Theo is only 14 and Connie all of 16, their world counts them near enough as adults to work as if they were, but still young enough to need guardians as far as their inheritance is concerned. They start in India. England and France are engaged n the global struggle for empire. During a climatic battle in that war in India, Theo and Connie are separated. Theo The next in the Courtney family saga, this book is set starting in 1754 and tracks the early adult life of Theo and Connie Courtney. While Theo is only 14 and Connie all of 16, their world counts them near enough as adults to work as if they were, but still young enough to need guardians as far as their inheritance is concerned. They start in India. England and France are engaged n the global struggle for empire. During a climatic battle in that war in India, Theo and Connie are separated. Theo goes to the colonies in North America and lives as an Native American for a year. Connie goes to France. She has to marry a French officer to get a place on the ship. When he proves false, she takes her good looks and exotic story to Paris, where she makes as good a life as she can. France and England heat up their global war, in the North American colonies. Theo manages to convert enough of the tribe he's been living with to the British side to make a difference. Theo and Connie are reunited briefly. Connie decides to return to Paris to manage her latest dead hero husband estates. Theo takes his colonist wife westward. I'm sure we will read more about the Courtney in Europe and North America and wherever else the family has settled. I received the copy of this book that I read for review from BookishFirst

  15. 4 out of 5

    MizzyRed

    I was lucky to get an ARC of this book. It took until about the middle of the book for me to realize how the title fit into the story. Ghost fires are the souls of the dead who have not found peace and they wander. Though Theo and Connie are still alive, they are also like the ghost fires, trying find peace and a happy life and to make the best out of the troubles they find themselves in during the tumultuous times when the British and French are fighting for world domination. They had also lost I was lucky to get an ARC of this book. It took until about the middle of the book for me to realize how the title fit into the story. Ghost fires are the souls of the dead who have not found peace and they wander. Though Theo and Connie are still alive, they are also like the ghost fires, trying find peace and a happy life and to make the best out of the troubles they find themselves in during the tumultuous times when the British and French are fighting for world domination. They had also lost so many who died too soon and were separated from each other. It was a pretty cool tie in with the title. I much preferred Theo's parts of the story to Constance's. He was thrown into situations but then tried to make the best of things and find a happy ending. Connie on the other hand was too bold and willfully made the same choices that landed her in some trouble. And she did not seem to learn from her experiences, choosing instead to go after riches and the high life. Theo was more willing to find the good in any situation and I believe he had the happier ending.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debra Oehlberg

    This is a story about the Courtney family that ends up focusing on the adventures of Theo and Constance, siblings, who are apart and then find each other again. Their adventures begin in 1754 Theo and Constance Courtney lost their parents in an attack on Madras, India by the French. Theo promises Constance he will always protect her. After they are sent to their cousin Gerard in Calcutta, and Theo is separated from Constance, life really falls apart for them. I am not a history buff, but I loved This is a story about the Courtney family that ends up focusing on the adventures of Theo and Constance, siblings, who are apart and then find each other again. Their adventures begin in 1754 Theo and Constance Courtney lost their parents in an attack on Madras, India by the French. Theo promises Constance he will always protect her. After they are sent to their cousin Gerard in Calcutta, and Theo is separated from Constance, life really falls apart for them. I am not a history buff, but I loved this book. But, if you can't handle men being mean to women, graphic sex and violence described, which includes in great detail about scalpings, DO NOT READ! This book teaches tenacity, loyalty, survival skills, and even protecting those you love the most. It is not a chick flick book. But males and females should really enjoy this book. It is written in a way that 400 pages are not tiring at all. If you don't know anything about the French Indian War, this is a great introduction to getting a taste.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *Thank you to BookishFirst for this ARC of GhostFire in exchange for an honest review* When I first heard about the premise of this novel I jumped at it being a huge history nerd. Two siblings caught up in the midst of the French and Indian War it sounded amazing! However like others maybe it is because I haven’t read the other books in the series although I think this is a prequel novel. This book had all of the elements in a story that I usually love history, siblings, love and a fantastic setti *Thank you to BookishFirst for this ARC of GhostFire in exchange for an honest review* When I first heard about the premise of this novel I jumped at it being a huge history nerd. Two siblings caught up in the midst of the French and Indian War it sounded amazing! However like others maybe it is because I haven’t read the other books in the series although I think this is a prequel novel. This book had all of the elements in a story that I usually love history, siblings, love and a fantastic setting. The story centers around two siblings Theo and Constance “Connie” Courtney. Growing up with their aristocratic parents Mansur and Verity Courtney in Madras India in 1754. They are living a charmed life . That all is shattered after Theo and Connie bored one day leave their home and wander into the jungle looking for a adventure when they come across a French barracks. Intrigued both children go closer for a look at the men in battle. When their parents realize they have left they go looking for them. When they find them at the barracks Mansur begs his children to come back. They start to follow when the barracks is suddenly bombed leaving both Mansur and Verity dead. Orphaned both Theo and Connie go to live with their next living relative Gerard in Calcutta India. One night when Theo catches Gerard and Connie together he leaves in a rage. They are separated from that point in the novel. With Connie staying with Gerard in India while Theo ends up in America or what was then the colonies. The novel had plenty of action I really enjoyed learning about both Theo and Connie’s stories. Her story however was disappointing. I know it was 1754 and I actually disagree with some reviews that she wasn’t written well but it was disappointing that she went from one abuser to another man that turned out to be worse then the last. After that I just couldn’t be interested anymore . As I said the novel has everything the action was great.I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters which is why the book didn’t work for me.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Traveling Cloak

    Ghost Fire is a piece of historical fiction that takes place in 1754 and starts in India (though throughout the book we get glimpses of the American Colonies, France, and maybe Canada). The storyline is split in two, as we follow siblings Theo and Constance Courtney and experience their adventures and where their lives takes them after the death of their parents. This book has war, politics, love, sex, different cultural experiences, and even a redemption story. Ghost Fire is a good book. I enjoy Ghost Fire is a piece of historical fiction that takes place in 1754 and starts in India (though throughout the book we get glimpses of the American Colonies, France, and maybe Canada). The storyline is split in two, as we follow siblings Theo and Constance Courtney and experience their adventures and where their lives takes them after the death of their parents. This book has war, politics, love, sex, different cultural experiences, and even a redemption story. Ghost Fire is a good book. I enjoyed reading it. You can tell this is Wilbur Smith's milieu, the way he effortlessly writes one scene to the next - it feels almost like stream-of-consciousness, yet one can see in the detail how every word of every scene is meticulously planned out. As for the characters, Theo Courtney is very well-written. Wilbur Smith writes him in such a way as to allow the reader to watch him grow from timid child to war hero. His experiences are varied, and everything he does contributes to him becoming a great leader. I had an issue with the way Constance was written. I understand this is 1754 Imperial England (and, thus, a "man's world"), but the way she was portrayed is a complete injustice. She could have been the female hero we are looking for; instead, the author takes very chance he has to make her look weak.The only weapon she has at her disposal is her sexuality, when in reality her character is more than beautiful; she is smart, resourceful, and strong. Wilbur Smith should have taken these aspects of her personality into account more often. The most disappointing part is that it seems as though he thinks he is, when clearly he is not. Overall, Ghost Fire is a good book. If you are looking for a piece of action-driven, historical fiction that will keep wanting to find out what happens next, this is the book for you. Unfortunately, you will have to deal with the disappointing portrayal of Constance Courtney along the way.

  19. 5 out of 5

    D.A. Fellows

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5/5 stars. As is to be expected from Wilbur Smith, this is an adventure full of romance, vengeance, adversity, travel and peril. While it is enjoyable, I found it to be flawed as well. The pacing is so breathlessly neck-breaking that within ten pages, the main character has been captured by Indians, adopted by them, traded one love of his life for another, married her, impregnated her, and then seen her murdered. It’s entertaining stuff, but if you tune out for even a paragraph, you might find 3.5/5 stars. As is to be expected from Wilbur Smith, this is an adventure full of romance, vengeance, adversity, travel and peril. While it is enjoyable, I found it to be flawed as well. The pacing is so breathlessly neck-breaking that within ten pages, the main character has been captured by Indians, adopted by them, traded one love of his life for another, married her, impregnated her, and then seen her murdered. It’s entertaining stuff, but if you tune out for even a paragraph, you might find that ten years have elapsed and that the main character has now moved continents and had gender reassignment surgery! The character of Constance was another struggle for me. I couldn’t bring myself to root for her, and I find her to be the most irresponsible and selfish Courtney character who wasn’t expressly intended to be a “bad guy” (like William or Guy from earlier instalments). Constance is responsible for the death of her parents and therefore virtually everything that follows, but she is quick to forget this and quick to allow her younger brother to claim his share of the blame, even though he fought her on the subject; she then promises him that they will always be together only to instantly betray that promise without so much as a word in anger; then in what is painted as an effort to survive, she basically becomes a serial prostitute, climbing a social ladder and promising men they can see her boobies if only they will keep her in the manner to which she has become accustomed. That is not fighting for survival - I’m not sure what that is. For a strong female Courtney, go and read Centaine de Thiry’s adventure in ‘The Burning Shore’ and its sequels. All in all, a fun read in 400 pages that I can’t help but feel would have been closer to 800 pages if Smith had written this alone, twenty years ago, and really taken the time to paint a picture and go into more detail the way he used to.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Foreign Adventure! Readers will instantly sense that author Wilbur Smith has first-hand knowledge of foreign settings. The rich sensory details transport one to India in colonial times: food, fabrics, cocktails, carousing, and plenty of prejudicial stupidity on the parts of the colonizing European countries. There are parts of the book that seem more geared towards a male audience; some of the male-dominance sex scene details are violent and remind me of the shock I felt the first time I read a Foreign Adventure! Readers will instantly sense that author Wilbur Smith has first-hand knowledge of foreign settings. The rich sensory details transport one to India in colonial times: food, fabrics, cocktails, carousing, and plenty of prejudicial stupidity on the parts of the colonizing European countries. There are parts of the book that seem more geared towards a male audience; some of the male-dominance sex scene details are violent and remind me of the shock I felt the first time I read a rape scene in 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' many years ago. Although I could live without some of the detailed and crude sexual comments about women's bodies, the gender inequality of the 1700's is realistic. No matter what one's political views might be, Smith (and his "with" collaborating author) open one's eyes to the unfair practices of second-class citizenship in the mid 1700's for the people to whom the land and country belong. Connie and her brother Theo are recently-orphaned Caucasians, handed off to their older wealthy cousin, Gerard. Suspense builds almost immediately; it is very clear that others hope to pilfer Connie and Theo's inherited trustfund, and it seems that being in a foreign country (India) will make the corruption a fairly easy manner. In addition, something about Gerard will instantly make- or at least should make- a reader's skin crawl. Life isn't easy for either Connie or Theo, and Theo turned out to be a much more appealing character to me. Connie does whatever she must to survive, but at times she seemed too much like a man's idea of a female character. Overall, I felt that the book told a good story which functions fine as a stand-alone book even though it is considered part of a series for this author. I am writing this review after reading an ARC, and this is my honest opinion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    R.s.

    I have read two books of Wilbur Smith many aeons ago and quite liked them as page-turners. And this one was not an exception. Ate into a fair bit of my three evenings and I can't say I regret it. The book opens at a time of Indian history that is rarely covered, and that is what made me pick it up. And it took you on a chase round the globe and lands the protagonists in a twin cauldron boiling parallel to the opening pages. Of course you cannot take the history in a pulp book seriously,and it wi I have read two books of Wilbur Smith many aeons ago and quite liked them as page-turners. And this one was not an exception. Ate into a fair bit of my three evenings and I can't say I regret it. The book opens at a time of Indian history that is rarely covered, and that is what made me pick it up. And it took you on a chase round the globe and lands the protagonists in a twin cauldron boiling parallel to the opening pages. Of course you cannot take the history in a pulp book seriously,and it will be definitely foolish to take sides. The book is fair to all its characters btw, surprisingly consistent and fluent at portraying the good and evil in everyone. In the first few pages you find two children speaking in long sentences, but the language becomes nice and crisp after some pages . Observations are pithy and wit is well punctuated. Action is what rules though, and it is as good as watching a movie, with the benefit of imagination and adrenaline . It is a true page-turner. As amusing it maybe sound, it is the boilerplated sex scenes you might want to skip, and that will cut the reading time by a good half hour . I had no idea it was part of some ongoing 'Series' by the author and still liked it. The hasty sketches of everyone's genealogy was good enough for the purpose of explaining their mental-build-up. Over years I have found that when established writers on the last leg of their career tie up with other writers, the result is usually highly readable. Maybe I will pick a Tom Harper book now .

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jean Kolinofsky

    The Courtney family saga returns in Ghost Fire. In 1754 Theo and Constance Courtney lost their parents in an attack on Madras, India by the French. Sent to their cousin Gerard in Calcutta, Constance is introduced into society while Theo is sent to work for the East India Company. As Theo learns to trade and earns a reputation in business, Constance learns to use her beauty to her advantage. Lured by rumors of the riches amassed by the Company, Calcutta comes under brutal attack by the Indian rul The Courtney family saga returns in Ghost Fire. In 1754 Theo and Constance Courtney lost their parents in an attack on Madras, India by the French. Sent to their cousin Gerard in Calcutta, Constance is introduced into society while Theo is sent to work for the East India Company. As Theo learns to trade and earns a reputation in business, Constance learns to use her beauty to her advantage. Lured by rumors of the riches amassed by the Company, Calcutta comes under brutal attack by the Indian ruler, aided by the French. Theo believes that Constance is dead, while she believes that Theo has deserted her to save himself. Theo’s travels take him to America. There he finds love and once again suffers loss. Captured and adopted by the Abenaki he learns the ways of the tribe. The skills that he learns will serve him well when he later joins the Rangers and once again finds himself in a war with the French. Meanwhile, Constance finds her way to Paris, where she supports herself with the favors of wealthy men. Their paths will eventually cross again, but time has changed them both. From the stifling heat of Calcutta to the wilderness trails of North America, Wilbur Smith has written a story of betrayal and revenge that also displays the courage of those people who fought and settled in a new land. Fans of historical fiction will find this an excellent entry in the Courtney novels. I would like to thank Bookish First for providing this book for my review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Richard West

    Once again, Goodreads has decided I've read this book twice. Such is not the case. Not that it makes any difference, but it's an aggravation to see that on here! So here we have the latest in the Courtney family saga. Others have been done better by the author. And, you have to admit, the Courtney family must have been huge! They're in India and North America this time.....other books have seen them in Africa, Britain, Europe and other assorted points on the globe. The ones set in more exotic loc Once again, Goodreads has decided I've read this book twice. Such is not the case. Not that it makes any difference, but it's an aggravation to see that on here! So here we have the latest in the Courtney family saga. Others have been done better by the author. And, you have to admit, the Courtney family must have been huge! They're in India and North America this time.....other books have seen them in Africa, Britain, Europe and other assorted points on the globe. The ones set in more exotic locales such as Africa and India seem to be written better. I'm not going to point it out - you can do that as you read along - but there are some highly obvious mathematical errors - not in dates but regarding events that happen. Even the casual reader should be able to pick them up with no trouble as you read along. As with all of Smith's books, these are not for children due to the graphic sex scenes. Usually, they seem to be somewhat gratuitous but this time they actually help move the story along. And, once again, you have to wonder how much of the book was written by Wilbur Smith and how much was written by the co-author. Recommended for the Wilbur Smith fan, or someone who likes historical fiction set in the early days when what was to later become the United States was still a British crown colony.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Richard Jr.

    I enjoyed the book thoroughly! It surprised me in being a novel about India and the American French and Indian War, but as usual, the master of historical fiction brings it all together with a s;am-dunk of a book starting with the youthful lives of Connie and Theo Courtney in colonial India, their trials, battles, and miraculous escapes during the Indian rebellion. Theo, presuming his sister's death at the hands of an Indian potentate, journey's to America to give condolences to a fallen comrade I enjoyed the book thoroughly! It surprised me in being a novel about India and the American French and Indian War, but as usual, the master of historical fiction brings it all together with a s;am-dunk of a book starting with the youthful lives of Connie and Theo Courtney in colonial India, their trials, battles, and miraculous escapes during the Indian rebellion. Theo, presuming his sister's death at the hands of an Indian potentate, journey's to America to give condolences to a fallen comrade's family and finds true love. Escaping from a religious cult, he falls into the hands of marauding Indians. Again, after a miraculous escape, he enlists in the American Rangers of the French and Indian War, leading a brilliant attack on a French fort on the Great Lakes. Connie, equally endowed with both beauty and luck, escapes India with a French Officer. Her adventures in and around the wild party life of the Parisian elite leave her no choice but to choose between life as a submissive sex-slavery to a madman or being stationed in French-occupied Canada with a General in charge of throwing the British and the Rangers out of the entire Great Lakes region. This dramatic novel's ending leaves you hanging until the very last pages. Don't miss this fast-moving surprise filled book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    DesSaint

    I understand that this book was written by Wilbur Smith and Tom Harper. I don't know how that worked. I realized right away that the writing style was somewhat different from Wilbur Smith write alone novels. How much of this writing was Wilbur Smith? What is the deal here? Some times when writers can no longer write, either because they are dead or for other reasons, other writers take over and continue writing about established characters or families. Such was the case with the Mitch Rapp series, I understand that this book was written by Wilbur Smith and Tom Harper. I don't know how that worked. I realized right away that the writing style was somewhat different from Wilbur Smith write alone novels. How much of this writing was Wilbur Smith? What is the deal here? Some times when writers can no longer write, either because they are dead or for other reasons, other writers take over and continue writing about established characters or families. Such was the case with the Mitch Rapp series, originally written by Vince Flynn and that was 13 books. But when Vince died, Kyle Mills continued the series and has written 4 books since. They all carry Vince's name as well but the writing style difference is noticeable. The same happened with Gary Jenning's Aztec series. He only wrote the first two books and the remaining 4 were written by other authors, although his name still appeared. I hate when that happens. No amount of research can fully imitate a writer's style and I think that it is misleading when their names are mentioned even though others continued with their characters. It's never the same, whether it's a different writer nor a collaboration. What do you think?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    A Brother's Love This story starts out in India, and travels to France, America and Canada. The story is of a brother and a sister who become orphans when the French invade their town in India. Throughout the book Theo searches for and tries to protect his sister Constance. This is the second of Wilbur Smith's books I have read. I love the vivid descriptions of the country and the people living there. The characters are vivacious and full of life. The story is told with so much feeling I could alm A Brother's Love This story starts out in India, and travels to France, America and Canada. The story is of a brother and a sister who become orphans when the French invade their town in India. Throughout the book Theo searches for and tries to protect his sister Constance. This is the second of Wilbur Smith's books I have read. I love the vivid descriptions of the country and the people living there. The characters are vivacious and full of life. The story is told with so much feeling I could almost feel the ground shake as the elephants walked. I could almost smell the gun powder in battle, and hear the cries of the wounded. As the travels continue and the young people become adults the book continues to keep me interested. There is not a dull moment in this book. There is love, passion, war, tragedy, hope and despair. I think it runs the gauntlet of emotions, but it is built on excitement and adventure, taking me to places I have never been and sights I have never seen. I will definitely be reading more of Wilbur Smith's books. I truly recommend this book it has been a wonderful journey. Thanks to Wilbur Smith, Bonnier Jaffre and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Arredondo

    Another impactful series coming from such a prolific author. Ghost Fire is part of The Courtney Series...I believe book #8. I have been following this series and most are hits...very few misses but all should be read because I really think that Wilbur Smith's writing style gives something for everyone. Historical fiction set in 1754 India. We follow Theo and Constance Courtney...children of a merchant family...another major worldly adventure. Tragedy strikes..and the future of these siblings goe Another impactful series coming from such a prolific author. Ghost Fire is part of The Courtney Series...I believe book #8. I have been following this series and most are hits...very few misses but all should be read because I really think that Wilbur Smith's writing style gives something for everyone. Historical fiction set in 1754 India. We follow Theo and Constance Courtney...children of a merchant family...another major worldly adventure. Tragedy strikes..and the future of these siblings goes through a trial of issues. So many elements...political, relationships, trust, love, and war all around. So much is happening in this book. I think the reason there is any kind of low rating for this book is because it is difficult to pick up this book without having read the others. This series needs to be read and understood in it's entirety. It's long...and challenging..and good. Descriptive and detailed...I am interested to see where this series goes and ends. Thanks to Author Wilbur Smith and to Zaffre Publishers for my copy of this book won via giveaway. I received. I read. I reviewed this book honestly and voluntarily.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Lorren

    Ghost Fire was the first Wilbur Smith book I have read (although I'd definitely read more). I loved the characters, the setting, and the historical detail in this story. Constance and Theo are siblings in the mid 1700s in India. Constance is definitely more adventurous than Theo and sometimes gets him into trouble. She doesn't care too much about being a "proper lady". When their parents die, they are separated for a while and go through a series of adventures. I love how these characters develop. Ghost Fire was the first Wilbur Smith book I have read (although I'd definitely read more). I loved the characters, the setting, and the historical detail in this story. Constance and Theo are siblings in the mid 1700s in India. Constance is definitely more adventurous than Theo and sometimes gets him into trouble. She doesn't care too much about being a "proper lady". When their parents die, they are separated for a while and go through a series of adventures. I love how these characters develop. Theo grows from being a reserved boy into a young man who is willing to risk his life to help others. Constance goes from an adventure-seeking girl to a young lady who isn't afraid to live life the way she wants to live it, even though the realities of life can be harsh. The historical detail to this story is outstanding. I actually googled a date because I remembered something that happened in India around that time. I knew an event was going to come up soon, but I didn't know how it would affect the characters. The way the book follows actual history drew me in. I would definitely read more from this author and in this series in the future (especially with these characters).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim Bolitho-jones

    Standard Wilbur Smith adventure. A brother and sister are separated during the siege of Calcutta, he winds up in the British army fighting in North America while she ends up living in French high society. They're on opposite sides of the world, surely their paths will never cross again? Well it's a Wilbur Smith book, so through some overly contrived plot developments they eventually find their lives intersecting again. There's loads of violence and enough sex to make Jenna Jameson blush. Its ente Standard Wilbur Smith adventure. A brother and sister are separated during the siege of Calcutta, he winds up in the British army fighting in North America while she ends up living in French high society. They're on opposite sides of the world, surely their paths will never cross again? Well it's a Wilbur Smith book, so through some overly contrived plot developments they eventually find their lives intersecting again. There's loads of violence and enough sex to make Jenna Jameson blush. Its entertaining and when it's on form it's a rollicking good adventure story, but it also feels a lot like Smith phoned in a couple of chapters. His lead characters have become interchangeable; Theo Courtney is just Sean Courtney all over again and Connie's self-assured, sexually voracious heroine is Centaine De Thirry redux. But for a switch off brain romp through Colonial India and America, its enjoyable enough. His insistence on talking about his leading ladies breasts is really getting creepy though. Read When The Lion Feeds, Triumph Of The Sun, King Of Kings, The Sound Of Thunder, Courtney's War and The Burning Shore first. If you like them and could do with more, you can't go wrong.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    This was quite a story! This historical novel set in the French Indian War spans a gap over several years for siblings Theo and Constance. As young teens, Theo and Constance are orphaned. Through circumstances not of their own making, they are separated from one another. Constance's journey takes her from India to France and to North America. Theo becomes a soldier and makes his way on land and sea throughout the world and also ends up in North America. This was quite a journey for Theo and Con This was quite a story! This historical novel set in the French Indian War spans a gap over several years for siblings Theo and Constance. As young teens, Theo and Constance are orphaned. Through circumstances not of their own making, they are separated from one another. Constance's journey takes her from India to France and to North America. Theo becomes a soldier and makes his way on land and sea throughout the world and also ends up in North America. This was quite a journey for Theo and Constance. There was romance, action, history, and deceit. I really enjoyed reading about Theo's life and adventures but found myself really disliking Constance early on. She never really redeemed herself in my eyes. This is typically not my genre of book nor my style, but I did enjoy the story, once I could get over my intense dislike of the despicable Constance. I would recommend to anyone who likes a lot of war and action in a book. Thanks to #BookishFirst for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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