'Shout at the Devil'


Wilbur Smith

-----Produced by Peter Hunt and starring Roger Moore in cinema format.

-----This is an unusual book by Wilbur Smith. Most of his novels include bits and pieces of humor at irregular intervals, but Shout at the Devil just jumps to your insides and makes them tremble uncontrollably throughout. The book is not all fun and games though, Smith has the talent to make adventure and excitement flow between the chuckles, and even manages to make this book an ironic tear jerker at the thrilling climax.

-----If you enjoy twists and turns, love, laughter, sorrow, and loss this is just the book you've been waiting to get your hands on. Trust me, you'll enjoy it.

-----The main characters, the often intoxicated Flynn O' Flynn and his bumbling sidekick Sebastian, try desperately throughout the novel to annoy and pester their long time adversary, Kaiser Herman Fleischer. After a successful raid on Fleischer's German Headquarters, after all the looting is complete, and all the excess supplies are burning brightly, Flynn turns his attention to the more important aspects of victory.

'-----There was a portrait of the Kaiser on the entrance wall, a colour print showing the Emperor in full dress, mounted on a magnificent cavalry charger. Flynn picked up an indelible pencil from the desk and walked across to the picture. With a dozen strokes of the pencil he drastically altered the relationship between horse and rider. Then, beginning to chuckle, he printed on the whitewashed wall below the picture, 'The Kaiser loves horses.'

'-----This struck him as being such a pearl of wit, that he had to summon Sebastian and show it to him. 'That's what you call being subtle Bassie, boy. All good jokes are subtle.'

'-----It seemed to Sebastian that Flynn's graffiti were as subtle as the charge of an enraged rhinoceros but he laughed dutifully. This encouraged Flynn to a further essay in humour. He had two of his gun-bearers carry in a bucket from the latrines, and under his supervision, they propped it above the half-open door of Fleischer's bedroom. (page 168)*

-----This is a good example of the unusual humor (just my kind) found in Shout at the Devil. I know it's not for everyone, but for those of you out there growling with distaste at the sound of this unusual gem, take a look at what else this novel has to offer.

-----Here Flynn and Sebastian battle the torrent of the raging ocean, caught in a storm they can't control, floating in a lifeboat that barely withstands the heavy seas. As darkness descends so does the horror of the hurricane whipped sea.

'-----It was completely dark, no star, no sliver of moon, but each line of breaking water glowed in dull, phosphorescent malevolence as it dashed down upon them, warning them to suck air and cling with cramped fingers hooked into slats.

'-----For all eternity Sebastian live in darkness, battered by the wind and wild, flying water. The aching chill in his body dulled out into numbness. Slowly his mind emptied of conscious thought, so when a bigger wave scoured them, he heard a tearing sound of deck slats pulling loose, and the lost wail as one of the Arabs was washed away into the night sea - but the sound had no meaning to him.'

'-----Twice he vomited seawater he had swallowed, but it had no taste in his mouth, and he let it run heedlessly down his chin and warm on to his chest, to be washed away by the next torrential wave.'

'-----His eyes burned without pain from the harsh rake of windflung spray, and he blinked them owlishly at each advancing wave. It seemed, in time, that he could see more clearly, and he turned his head slowly. Beside him, Flynn's face was a leprous bloch in the darkness. This puzzled him, and he lay and thought about it but no solution came, until he looked beyond the next wave, and saw the faint promise of a new day show pale through the black massed cloud-banks.'

'-----He tried to speak, but no sound came for his throat was swollen closed with salt, and his tongue was tingling numb. Again he tried. 'Dawn Coming,' he croaked, but beside him Flynn lay like a corpse frozen in rigor mortis.

-----I can't understand what their problem is, they only have to endure this storm for another couple of hours, and here they are complaining about a bit of water. Seriously, I can't imagine the horror and suffering that they have to live through, but Smith does a great job of bringing the devastation and hardship out of his books and into your easychair. (page 70-71)*

-----I really think you'll enjoy this book, as a matter of fact, I don't think you'll be able to put it down. Enjoy!

Shout at the Devil, Wilbur Smith. Pan Books Limited, London, England, 1970.