Leopard Hunts in Darkness

Smith, Wilbur. The Leopard Hunts in Darkness. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1984.

This is the penultimate book in the Ballantyne series. The book opens, as all the others do, with a snapshot of the landscape. This time we follow a bull elephant and his desperate escape from hunters. It’s a savage start to Leopard, but very typical of Smith and very telling of the rest of the story, for it’s all about poachers. The story then follows Craig Mellow out of Africa and into the urban jungle of New York City. At the end of Angels Weep Mellow has just found out his book, Flight of the Falcon has been accepted for publication. Unlike other Ballantyne books in the series, Leopard does not start with a date. The reader is not grounded in the era until later. Of course, in order to make the story go back to Africa, Mellow returns to his homeland to revitalize his country and start a nature preserve with photographer, Sally-Anne. Typical of all Smith/Ballantyne books there is savage violence, passionate love scenes and gorgeous landscapes to draw every kind of reader in.

Just a funny side note: the cover of The Leopard Hunts in Darkness depicts a man holding out a gun at arm’s length, a woman holding a Nikon up to her eye, and a man who looks suspiciously like Elvis reflected in the lens of the camera. The gun-toting gentleman looks a little like Treat Williams!

Reason read: This finishes the series I started in January in honor of Rhodesia’s Shangani Day. In a way I am a little disappointed to be leaving Wilbur Smith’s world.

Author fact: Smith looks a little like the guy on the cover of The Leopard Hunts in Darkness which is to say Wilbur Smith looks a little like Treat Williams!

Book trivia: The Leopard Hunts in Darkness is Smith’s 17th book. Interesting to note, this isn’t the last book in the series. It ends with The Triumph of the Sun, which I am not reading.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Zipping Through Zimbabwe/Roaming Rhodesia” (p 268).

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