Wilbur Smith is known for his action pact adventure novels, most of which take place in Africa. I’ve been a fan for a long time. He doesn’t break genre in this book, "Those in Peril". It lives up to his ability to pack a page with adventure, and is very entertaining on many levels.
Set in contemporary Arabia and North Africa, Somalia, with side trips to Texas, Paris, Colorado, and Capetown, the story unfolds as a rich girl is kidnapped, raped, and held for ransom only to be rescued by her oil baroness mother’s security team, who later find they need to return and finish the job in order to insure their own security. With the help of a Natural Gas ship turned Trojan horse they infiltrate and do away with the Somali Pirate problem. It makes for a good fantasy. Lots of guns, bombs, blood and fighting.
What is troubling and perhaps even perilous about this book, is that it feeds the politically correct monster or perhaps “the beast.” Cross, the main protagonist, ex-military officer from south Africa turned security provider, all but breaks character on page 194 to deliver the same none thinking, historically in accurate but politically correct speech concerning Islam as being essentially a religion of peace. His theory goes that Islam is no different than Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism, all of which supposedly have had their own violent histories. For proof he trots out the same tired ponies of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition. Really he only betrays his own ignorance concerning world religions, and history. Not to mention he merely insults Islam by not taking its own founding documents and culture seriously. For I nice anecdote to this sort of sloppy non-scholarship one should read Rodney Stark’s, “The Case for the Crusades,” coupled with a reading of the Koran. Reading the Koran might itself be more of a detriment to this view than anything.
Christendom has, to be sure, experienced explosions of violence. Yet one might recall that the conversion of the Roman Empire came about amidst Christians turning the other cheek as they were persecuted for believing in a God that so love the world that he gave his only son to die for the sins of the world, and taught his followers to so love the world themselves. Love sometimes does require one to go to war to defend weak and innocent; something that Wilbur Smith’s book does a great job of illustrating amidst the glaring weakness of political correctness, and thus war is not antithetical to Christianity. But this is a far cry from the origins and teachings of Islam as found in the Koran and experienced in history. Mecca, the home of Islam itself did not even experience a peaceful conversion but was first conquered by Mohammed’s men and forced to convert by the sword! This was repeated in ever widening circles for the history of the religion, though it has more or less stagnated in the west after the taking of Constantinople. Especially after having been repelled from the gates of Vienna twice, and turned back by the last crusading order from the Isle of Malta. Of course, the glaring contradiction concerning the history of Islam, and Crosse’s take on religion is also brought out in the same book when a plucky retired American Navy Admiral reads a letter from his great Grandfather who fought the Barbary Pirates, and explains that “their book” demands them to make war on all infidels. (pg. 291)
I’m afraid it is time for the west to wake up and come to terms with just who “the beast” really is as our crusading forefathers once did, rather than to keep making the mistake Cross and his team did the first time, and leaving the job only half done. It is much more serious than even Fox News would like you to think.