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Golden Fox & Elephant Song
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Smith's ( A Time to Die ) 22nd novel, already a bestseller in England, adds to his reputation as a writer of suspenseful, knowledgeable thrillers. Isabella Courtney is the only daughter of a wealthy, influential South African family. Ramon de Santiago y Machado is the calculating, cold-blooded villain who skillfully pursues, seduces and impregnates her, then uses the child as a pawn to force her to participate in his cause: a violent revolution against capitalism. In desperation, Isabella is forced to seek help from her family, and it is here that Smith's skill in building tension shifts into high gear. The final chapters are fast-paced and action-filled, augmenting the effects of realistic settings and exemplary prose throughout. Though Smith sometimes focuses too long on unnecessary detail, this is an entertaining novel by a gifted, intelligent raconteur. (Mar.)

YA-- Smith's newest novel about the Courtney family centers around Isabella, the only daughter of Shasa Courtney, South Africa's ambassador to England. Ramon de Santiago y Machado, secretly known as El Zoro Dorado or the Golden Fox, concocts an elaborate plan to seduce Isabella, impregnate her, and then use the child as a pawn to further terrorist plots against South Africa. She gives birth to a son, Nicholas, whom Ramon kidnaps when he is one month old, setting in motion Isabella's betrayal of her beloved family and country. Smith excels at creating finely drawn characters; descriptive settings in London, Europe, and Africa; and a masterful development of an action-packed thriller that gets better as each new predicament unfolds. Expertly written, this novel engulfs readers until the very last page. --Nancy Bard, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA-

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