-----Thanks goes out to one of the great Wilbur Smith fans who visited this page in May 1999. His Name is Sergei Karamaev. He lives in Russia, is a historian, and a huge Wilbur Smith fan. He first contributed his essay, which was good enough on its own to be placed here on the Wilbur Smith Page, then sent me the true gems, a Courtney family tree and a Courtney character list. I have tried to compile the family tree myself but was unable to get past 'When the Lion Feeds' with my limited geneology knowledge. The character list gives each name, association, and standing of each Courtney featured in the novels. Sergei admits that there may be a few changes and additions that need to be made to the tree and the character list below, but I am sure between me and all of you we can get everything straight. If you do see something amiss please send me a note using my form on the survey page. The essay is in fact a first time experience, but told by one who grew up in a land where Wilbur Smith was outlawed. It is interesting to see how Wilbur's books permiated even the strict country of Russia.
Courtney Character List
-----Sir Garrick Courtney, Sr - Sean Courtney's brother. Courtney family ugly duckling.
Invalid because of hunting accident involving Sean. Married Anna Courtney (1), stepfather of Michael Courtney. Later married Anna Courtney (2), ex-nurse of Centaine de Thiry. Mistakenly killed by his grandson Manfred De La Rey. (When The Lion Feeds,
Sound of Thunder, Sparrow Falls, Burning Shore, The Power of the Sword)
-----General Sean Courtney, Sr - brother of Garrick. Adventurer, warrior, gold prospector, ivory hunter, tree grower. Wife Catrin Leroux, who bore him a son, Dirk Courtney. Fought against his brother-in-law General Jan Paulus Leroux in Boer war. Rejected Anna (1) who bore his child Michael. Real father of Michael Courtney. (When The Lion Feeds, Sound of Thunder, Burning Shore, Sparrow Falls)
-----Anna Courtney, Sr (1) - Garrik Courtney's wife, hopelessly loved Sean. Mother of Michael Courtney, commited suicide. (When The Lion Feeds, Sound of
-----Catrin Leroux - wife of Sean, mother of Dirk Courtney, sister of Boer General Jan Paulus Leroux. (When The Lion Feeds)
-----General Jan Paulus Leroux - Sean Courtney's brother-in-law, Catrin Leroux's brother. Fought against Sean in Boer war. (When The Lion Feeds, Sound of Thunder)
-----Dirk Courtney - reckless son of Sean Courtney and Catrin Leroux. (When The Lion Feeds, Sound of Thunder, Sparrow Falls)
-----Ruth Goldberg - Jewish decent, wife of Sean's friend Saul Friedman, who's been killed in Boer war, then later wife of Sean. Mother of Storm Friedman (Courtney). (Sound of Thunder, Sparrow Falls)
-----Saul Friedman - a friend of Sean, Ruth Goldberg's husband. Killed in action, never knowing of Sean and Ruth's affair. (Sound of Thunder)
-----Storm Courtney - daughter of Sean and Ruth, conceived during the rainstorm. Wife of Mark Anders. (Sound of Thunder, Sparrow Falls, The Power of the Sword,
-----Mark Anders - husband of Storm Courtney. Soldier, warden. (Sparrow Falls, The Power of the Sword,
-----Michael Courtney - son of Anna (1) and Sean Courtney, adopted by Garrick, Sr., WW1 pilot. Lover/Fiance of Centaine de Thiry, father of Shasa Courtney, died on his wedding day. (When The Lion Feeds, Sound of Thunder, Sparrow Falls, Burning Shore)
-----Count Louis de Thiry - Centaine de Thiry's father. (Burning Shore)
-----Centaine de Thiry-Malcomess - daughter of Count Louis de Thiry, fiancee of Michael Courtney, mother of Shasa Courtney and Manfred De La Rey. Travelled through the desert with bushmen, founder of H'Ani mines, second wife of Blaine Malcomess. (Burning Shore, The Power of the Sword, Rage, A Time to Die, Golden Fox)
-----Lady Anna Courtney (2) - Centaine de Thiry nurse. Travelled with her to Africa,
parted in the shipwreck. Married to Garrick Courtney.
(Burning Shore, The Power of the Sword)
-----Shasa Courtney - Centaine de Thiry's first son of Michael Courtney, half-brother of Manfred De La Rey. WW2 pilot, member of parliament, minister, Ambassador in Britain. (Burning Shore, The Power of the Sword, Rage, Golden Fox)
-----Blaine Malcomess - Centaine de Thiry's second husband, father of Tara Malcomess. Member of parliament, killed by Moses Gama. (The Power of the Sword, Rage)
-----Isabelle Malcomess, Sr - Blaine Malcomess's crippled wife, mother of Tara Malcomess. (The Power of the Sword)
-----Lothar De La Rey, Sr - Centaine de Thiry's lover, father of Manfred De La Rey. Warrior, adventurer, gunrunner. Saved Centaine's life, imprisoned after diamond convoy robbery, released after 15 years in jail. (Sound of Thunder, Burning Shore, The Power of the Sword, Rage)
-----Manfred De La Rey - Centaine de Thiry's second son of Lothar De La Rey, half brother of Shasa. 1936 Olympics boxing champion, nicknamed "White Sword". Important member of the Osseewa Brandwag, trained for assasination of Jan Smuts, killed his grandfather Garrick Courtney, minister of Justice, Commisioner of the Police. Father of Lothar De La Rey, Jr
(Burning Shore, The Power of the Sword, Rage)
-----Heidi De La Rey - German Intelligence officer, wife of Manfred De La Rey, mother of Lothar, Jr (The Power of the Sword, Rage)
-----Rolph Stander - friend of Manfred De La Rey. Married Sara and adopted her illegitimate child, Jacobus. (The Power of the Sword, Rage)
-----Sara Stander - girlfriend of Manfred De La Rey, mother of his son Jacobus Stander, married to Rolph Stander. Police informer of the "White Sword" case,
commited suicide, after her son was arrested and hanged.
(The Power of the Sword, Rage)
-----Jacobus Stander - bastard son of Manfred De La Rey and Sara Stander, half-brother of Lothar De La Rey Jr. Member of white nationalist Afrikaner Broderbund movement, terrorist, arrested by his half-brother and hanged. (The Power of the Sword, Rage)
-----Brigadier Lothar De La Rey, Jr - son of Manfred De La Rey and Heidi De La Rey.
Police and intelligence officer, took part in Sharpeville massacre,
arrested his half-brother Jacobus Stander after terrorist bombing,
had a love affair with Isabelle Courtney, Jr. (The Power of the Sword, Rage,
-----Tara Malcomess-Courtney (Gama) - daughter of Blaine Malcomess, wife of Shasa Courtney, mother of Sean, Garrick, Michael and Isabelle. Illegitimate wife of Moses Gama, mother of Benjamin Africa, after unsuccessful attempt of Moses Gama's assassination plot to destroy the South African Parliament fled to London. (The Power of the Sword, Rage, Golden Fox)
-----Moses Gama - black leader, half-brother of Swart Hendrik, lover of Tara Malcomess, father of Benjamin Africa. Tried to destroy South African Parliament, killed Blaine Malcomess. After being sentenced to death bargained to give away most of black leaders in Africa, escaped, shot by Raleigh Tabaca. (The Power of the Sword, Rage, Golden Fox)
-----Benjamin Africa - son of Tara Malcomess-Courtney (Gama) and Moses Gama, half-brother of Sean, Garrick, Michael and Isabelle. Attempted a mass poisoning by unconventional chemical weapon, killed by Sean, Jr. (Rage, Golden Fox)
-----Swart Hendrik (Henry Tabaca) - half-brother of Moses Gama, friend of Lothar De La Rey, Sr. Commited diamond convoy robbery, led a successful life, father of Raleigh Tabaca. (Burning Shore, The Power of the Sword, Rage)
-----Raleigh Tabaca - Swart Hendrik son, Moses Gama nephew. Black leader, killed his uncle to make a martyr of him. (The Power of the Sword, Rage, Golden Fox)
-----Sean Courtney, Jr - oldest son of Shasa and Tara. Veteran guerilla fighter, Ballantine Scouts Major, hunter, adventurer. Rescued his nephew Nicholas Courtney de Santiago y Machado from KGB camp, killed his half-brother Benjamin Africa and his brother Michael. (Rage, A Time to Die, Golden Fox)
-----Garrick Courtney, Jr - second son of Shasa and Tara. Businessman, pilot, head of Courtney enterprises. (Rage, A Time to Die, Golden Fox)
-----Michael Courtney, Jr - yongest son of Shasa and Tara. Left-wing journalist, author of "Rage" series of article, Sharpeville massacre witness, homosexual,involved in KGB activity, attempted a mass poisoning by unconventional chemical weapon, killed by his brother Sean.(Rage, A Time to Die, Golden Fox)
-----Isabelle Courtney, Jr - daughter of Shasa and Tara, mother of Nicholas Courtney de Santiago y Machado. KGB agent "Red Rose", gave away many top secets, responsible for almost-happened KGB-operated act of most violent terrorism. (Rage, A Time to Die, Golden Fox)
-----Marquese Ramon de Santiago y Machado - "Golden Fox". Top Soviet agent, KGB General in charge of Africa, highly professional assassin. Father of Nicholas Courtney de Santiago yMachado. Kidnapped his son, died of poisoning during unsuccessful act of terrorism. (Golden Fox)
-----Nicholas Courtney de Santiago y Machado - son of Isabelle Courtney and Marquese Ramon de Santiago y Machado. Kidnapped by his father Ramon, rescued by his uncle Sean. (Golden Fox)
An Essay From Russia
-----Indeed, there was the "iron curtain" that shielded the USSR from the "rotten bourgeous western world", and "dirty capitalist propaganda" was the dreaded plague of the Soviet government and Communist Party officials. Only so-called "progressive" (selected and approved) Western writers were published in USSR. The books had to be either long-time classics (Melville, Poe, Jack London) or show the reader how bad things are in the West, where men of freedom are oppressed and deprived of their rights. Of course, there was abso-ever-lutely no way for any book written by Louis L'Amour, Robert Ludlum, Alistair MacLean or Wilbur Smith to appear in the Moscow bookstore. Considering Smith's anti-Communism and anti-Sovetism views (which are understandable) and the fact that his books are about Africa, it was a pure miracle that one could find a novel or two on the shelves of some city libraries. They were located in the "foreign languages" section, but the idea that his books could ever be translated into Russian was absolutely crazy (You'd have to destroy Party censorship and Soviet Union itself before that... which actually happened in 1991).
-----In the USSR traditionally some countries were considered as enemies (like the U.S.A.), some as rivals, some of course as friends or satellites. However, there were a couple of countries that were Ultimate Evil, the Kingdom of Darkness etc. That went for Israel and the South African Republic. These were favorite targets for UN Soviet Ambassadors, and for soviet propaganda officials. Both of these countries were portrayed in black color only. Into Israel there was a constant flow of emigration of Russian Jews that even Soviet authorities couldn't stop no matter how they tried. But God forbid you dare speak a good word about South Africa! Consider yourself lucky if you won't be labeled as enemy of the people. They published books by angry blacks who left South Africa and printed stories where every white Afrikaner was similar to Jack the Ripper and colored folks were most peaceful people in the whole world.
-----In late 1970 my Dad, whose knowledge of English always amazed me, occasionaly discowered a couple of novels by unknown (for him) authors. One of these discoveries was Wilbur Smith, and he quickly became one of his favorities. I was a kid then and didn't know English, so Daddy translated the books to me. It was like fairy tales about unknown land and brave heroes who tried to tame it. I remembered that name, Wilbur Smith, but I could never guess that years later I'd be his strongest fan. In 1994-1995 I was a student in the U.S. and keeping in mind that my Dad would love to have more Wilbur Smith books, I
stumbled thru every used-books store I could find and bought every Smith novel that was avaliable. I wasn't sure I would read them because I thought my English was not good enough (Well, western novels are another matter. I read them in packs). When I came home in the summer of 1995 Dad was glad when I gave him the whole suitcase of Ole Wilbur novels. (It was and still is not easy to find Smith novels here in Russia), but it was my turn to be surprised when he told me that some of Smith books had been translated into Russian and he gladly bought them for me. They were "Burning Shore", "Golden Fox", "Dark of the Sun" and "Diamond Hunters". I opened Dark of the Sun and I was totally lost. When I finished it I decided that I must create a special bookshelf for Wilbur Smith. I was a bit sad that I discovered Wilbur Smith so late. By mysterious coincidence, the next evening there was a movie called "Dark of the Sun" on Russian TV and you can bet I immediately taped it. So I turned into a devoted Wilbur Smith fan. To say that I was impressed when I finished ' The Burning Shore' is a gross understatement. The book simply took my breath away. Later, when I plowed thru the Courtney saga (except for 'When The Lion Feeds' and 'A Sparrow Falls' - alas, I couldn't find them here), the only thing I wanted in life was to visit South Africa. The best Smith book (in my humble opinion) is 'Eagle in The Sky'. That was THE BOOK! I read it four times already and I'll be re-reading it every now and then.
-----Smith is great. His novels are superb. Someone said "What Louis L'Amour is for American West and James Clavell is for Asia, Wilbur Smith
is for Africa and there'll be no one in the foreseeable future who'd be big enough to fill his shoes", and that's the truth.
-----Thanks again Sergei, great job.