Cover image for Vicious circle
Vicious circle
First U.S. Edition.
Physical Description:
432 pages ; 25 cm
Hector Cross, a tough former soldier who has fought pirates and terrorists in the lawless waters off the coast of Africa, returns in another surefire bestseller. With film rights already acquired for Those in Peril, this new series promises to continue building on Wilbur Smith's history of blockbuster success"--


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Internationally bestselling author Wilbur Smith returns with Vicious Circle --a heart-racing story of family secrets, greed, and revenge.

Hector Cross left behind a career of high risks and warfare when he married his beloved Hazel Bannock. But after his new life is tragically upended, he recognizes the ruthless hand of an old enemy behind the attack.

Determined to fight back, Hector draws together a team of his most loyal friends and fellow warriors to hunt down those who pursue him and his loved ones. For he and Hazel have a child, a precious daughter, whom he will go to the ends of the earth to protect.

Soon, however, Hector learns that the threat comes not just from his old enemies, but also Hazel's. Brutal figures from her family's past--thought long gone--are returning, with an agenda so sinister that Hector realizes he is facing a new type of adversary. One whose deadly methods and dark secrets will lead Hector to a series of crimes so shocking that he has no choice but to settle the score.

Author Notes

Novelist Wilbur Smith was born in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia on January 9, 1933. He graduated from Rhodes University.

He has writen more than 20 novels, which have been translated into 26 different languages. The Dark Side of the Sun, Wild Justice, and Shout at the Devil have all been adapted as films. Smith says that Africa is his major inspiration, and currently he has over 30 novels published. Many of his books have become bestsellers, including Predator, the third book in the Hector Cross series. Other recent bestsellers include Pharoah, War Cry, Courtney's War, and his first memoir, On Leopard Rock.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

London security expert Hector Cross, now married to Hazel Bannock ("seventh on Forbes magazine's list of the richest women in the world"), continues his battle with Somali warlord Tippoo Tip in bestseller Smith's lurid sequel to 2011's Those in Peril. Early on, a Mercedes van driven by a man wearing a Richard Nixon mask deliberately broadsides the red Ferrari that Hazel is driving on her way home to Brandon Hall, the couple's 18th-century estate outside Winchester. After extensive sleuthing and a long backstory set in a prison, Hector tracks down the perpetrators of the attack to a hilltop fortress in tiny Kazundu, "the poorest country on the African continent." Readers, especially new ones, should be prepared for descriptions of death in all its many gory possibilities, as well as scenes of rape (both hetero- and homosexual), child molestation, sexual slavery, and torture. The exciting action scenes and larger-than-life characters, though, will appeal to a broad range of thriller fans. Agent: Kevin Conroy Scott, Tibor Jones & Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Smith (Those in Peril, 2011, etc.) continues the saga of Hector Cross, warrior, rich man. Hector ran Crossbow Security, until he attempted the rescue of Cayla Bannock. Cayla died, but Cross married Cayla's mother, Hazel, widowed Bannock Oil heiress. Now, Hazel's pregnant. After a gynecologist visit, the pair set out in separate vehicles for their English estate. There's an ambush. Hazel is mortally wounded, but baby Catherine Cayla is saved by cesarean. Cross believes the ambush is the "blood feud" work of the "survivors of the family of Hadji Sheikh Mohammed Khan Tippoo Tip," engineers of Cayla's kidnapping. Clan leader Aazim Muktar is in Mecca. Cross secures Catherine in a fortress atop a skyscraper in Abu Zara, fount of Bannock wealth. Cross then slips into Mecca to confront Muktar, only to learn he's a peaceful holy man. Smith simplifies narrative action with a moneyed protagonist able to afford cutting-edge weaponry and technology, and he pads the tale with a hard left turn in midstory to present a novel within a novel about the villain, Carl Peter Bannock, born Karl Pieter Kurtmeyer, spawn of a Gestapo officer adopted by Bannock Oil's founder. Carl's imprisoned for incestuous rape but is still a Bannock Trust beneficiary. He wants the final heir, Catherine, eliminated. In a Texas prison, Carl befriends Johnny Congo, aka King John Tembo Kikuu of Kazundu--refugee African royalty gone bad. Carl's released, engineers Johnny's escape, and the two psychopaths restore Johnny to his African throne. Cross learns this from a former trust lawyer. Smith's narrative is bloated, sometimes fact deficient, reliant on implausibilities, and laced with gratuitous, gut-churning violence inflicted upon innocents. The dialogue is often affectedly old world; action regularly stops to order the right wine or exotic foodstuff or summon obsequious staff. Characters are either flat or over-the-top superhumans and impervious to harm, although a bad guy does survive to populate a sequel. Not for the faint of heart, or stomach.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Following closely on the heels of 2011's Those in Peril, this oddly paced thriller finds Hector Cross, former soldier turned wealthy landowner and businessman, grief-stricken after a devastating attack on his wife and their unborn child. He vows to find the people responsible and to make them pay for what they've done. Sounds like the makings of a really good thriller, but Smith's stately pacing and his frequently overwrought writing (Scream as much as you like. No one will hear you. No one will come to help you. No one will believe you) makes the book a bit of a slog for readers accustomed to speedy storytelling in their action-driven thrillers. Some of Smith's prose might rub some readers the wrong way, too, when they encounter lines that seem distinctly out of place in a modern novel (An hour dragged by like a cripple). Recommended mainly for veteran best-seller Smith's devoted fan base; others will be disappointed.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist