Popular novels don't always fit neatly into a single genre (e.g., mystery, romance, or sf) but rather combine elements of several genres and straddle categories, creating interesting hybrids. The Questis such a book, encompassing fantasy, adventure, and historical fiction via concepts both mythical and New Age. The eunuch and magus Taita, last seen in Warlock, is back with companion Meren Cambyses. Egypt is struck by plagues of flesh-eating giant toads, and the annual flooding of the Nile fails. Pharaoh Nefer Seti sends the pair on a journey to discover the cause of the plagues and drought believed to originate at the source of the Nile, unaware of the terrible enemy who lies in ambush. Malign sorceress Eos, nearly as old as civilization, will tax Taita, Meren, and Fenn, a reincarnation of Lostris. Eos's evil supporters attempt to beguile Taita in the enchanted Cloud Gardens, where they promise to make him whole again by means of the diabolic procedure known as seeding. Audie Award-winning narrator Simon Vance brings a modulated English-accented sensibility to this story; his voices add extra vitality to the narration. Recommended for libraries with large popular fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and swashbuckling adventure collections.
A perceptive Egyptian eunuch who starred in Smith's 1994 River God returns, 100 years older and wiser, ready to take on the stinking bitch goddess who has brought ruin to Egypt. The Egyptian magus Taita, castrated more than a century previously at the peak of his virility, has traveled to the Indian subcontinent with his trusty younger companion, Meren, seeking new wisdom. Undergoing a ghastly operation at the hands of a lady colleague, Taita acquires a handy second sight that lets him see the auras we all throw off, radiances that tell whether we're straight shooters or lying dogs. On the way back to Egypt, Taita and Meren team up with Demeter, a savant even older and wiser than Taitu, who has a whale of a story for them. It seems that an ancient she-devil, who's taken the name of Eos, is gunning for them. She's a liar. She can change herself into anything, and she can suck the goodness right out of you while you are having sex with her. When the two wise men and Meren finally reach Egypt, they find their beloved homeland reeling from the effects of a seven-year drought. The Nile is down to a trickle where nothing lives but giant flesh-eating toads that gobble poor old Demeter, but not before Taita has picked his brains for every scrap of magic wisdom. The drought is the doing of Eos, of course. Taita's friend the pharaoh sends him and Meren and a small army with orders to travel to the source of the Nile, find Eos and put a stop to the misery. Their journey, told in the breathlessly epic Smith tradition, takes years and costs the lives of hundreds of men and thousands of beasts. Taita runs into some really good magic in Eos's horrid lair, and finds love with a reincarnated beauty. Atough slog.
Best historical novelist: I say Wilbur Smith.” Stephen King
“Smith brings to life…the world of Egypt so much so you can almost feel the heat and taste the dust as the narrative builds to cracking pace.” Irish News
“Fans of blockbuster thriller writer Wilbur Smith will not be disappointed with The Quest.” Financial Times
“Smith writes with a fresh, crisp style... full of zest... The Quest is a hefty but gratifying read, long-awaited by his legion of admirers.” Daily Express
“No one does adventure quite like Smith and, true to form, his latest is a swirling torrent of unexplored depths and manliness in ancient Egypt.” Daily Mirror
“This eagerly awaited sequel to Smith's gripping Egyptian series continues in a truly magical tale.” Woman magazine
“The Quest is not a book for the easily queasy. After reading the scene about Bronze Age brain surgery, you'll never look at bamboo shish kebab skewers the same way again. It is a novel that is violent, fast moving and utterly engrossing.” Edmonton Journal
“It's the sort of book readers live for, the sort that sates, however fleetingly, the primal need for story that so often these days doesn't get fed.” Vancouver Sun
“Fans of bestseller Smith's ancient Egyptian series will welcome the fourth book in the saga, which picks up where Warlock left off. … Once again Smith deftly blends history, fantasy and mythology, but newcomers should be prepared for grisly deaths and mutilations.” Publishers Weekly
“Smith's Africa is bewitching. We see and hear elephants, lions, hippos, and wild, weird creatures. Lakes and plains stretch as far as the horizon. His descriptions of the landscape are so real it seems we should be able to find these places on the map. … Smith's narrative is a page-turner. His characters are absorbing and believable. We fear for our heroes and cheer for them when they triumph in bloody battle. … When supernatural powers open up the ground before us, we teeter on the brink and can hardly stand to look over the edge… and yet, we must.” The Salt Lake Tribune