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Once Nick berg had been riding high: happily married, the wealthy chairman of a successful shipping line. Now, robbed of both wife and livelihood by the suave Duncan Alexander, he is alone in the world, master only of the one small ship in which he sails.

But WARLOCK is no ordinary ship and Nick no ordinary master. Grimly determined to recover his lost fortune, he now captains the most modern and powerful salvage tug afloat. And, when a distress call comes from one of Duncan's luxury liners, drifting helplessly towards Antarctica, he knows that a vital prize is within his grasp.

But Nick has formidable adversaries: Duncan, poised now to complete his ruin; Levoisin, a rival salvage man racing to the same disabled vessel; and, above all, the savage fury of wind and sea. His mind set upon the success of his desperate enterprise, Nick scarcely sees the beautiful young survivor brought on board his ship. But Samantha Silver is a powerful, passionate woman, not one to be lightly ignored...




Nick Berg Once wealthy chairman of 'Christy Marine', who lost everything to Duncan Alexander. He now owns only two tug the WARLOCK and SEA WITCH, running a small debt-ridden coasting and salvage company called 'Ocean Towage and Salvage'.
Dr Samantha Silver   Marine biologist who is on a sabbatical leave from the Miami University. She is a specialist guide on the distressed and sinking GOLDEN ADVENTURER.
Duncan Alexander   New chairman of 'Christy Marine' who slowly deposed Nick's position in the company by obtaining shares as well as Nick's wife, Chantelle.
Chantelle Christy   Daughter of Arthur and ex-wife of Nick.

Bernard Wackie

  Nick's agent in Rio de Janeiro.

Captain Basil Reilly

  French master of the GOLDEN ADVENTURER.

James Teacher

  Leading expert on maritime law.

David Allen

  First officer on board the WARLOCK
Vinny Baker   Australian chief engineer on board the WARLOCK
Angel   Cook on board the WARLOCK
The Trog/Spiers   Radio officer on board the WARLOCK
Peter Berg   Nick and Chantelle's young son.
Arthur Christy   Deceased father of Chantelle and partner to Nick in the initial running of the coasting and salvage company, 'Christy Marine'.
Jules Levoisin   Rival salvage skipper of the LA MOUETTE. He eventually works for Nick as captain of THE SEA WITCH.
Tom Parker   Professor of Biology at the Miami University where Sam works.
Captain Randle   Master of the luxury ship GOLDEN DAWN.

Interesting Information

First published in 1978 by William Heinemann Ltd.

Book dedication: This book is for my wife, Danielle

For Smith, the sea has always held a particular fascination. The sea is an intimate part of our daily lives - something to be cherished and feared...

Something to be cherished...this is a significant phrase, for the ever-present risks of catastrophic oil pollution concern Smith deeply. My concern grows with each new tank disaster, each time I tread an oil-scummed beach or find a dead, oil-smeared seabird, each time I revisit a remote area of the coast and find its reefs denuded of shellfish...

Something to be feared...this too is significant, since the basic idea for HUNGRY AS THE SEA was born of fear. Some ten years ago, Wilbur Smith was fishing for tuna off the coast of South Africa. Caught in a sudden impenetrable fog, he stood helplessly at the wheel of his frail fishing boat, listening with dread to the approaching engines of a colossal oil tanker. Suddenly, she burst out of the fog bank, towering over us like a mountain of steel in avalanche. With full power and good fortune, I managed to duck my tiny craft out of her path, but we were swamped and badly beaten by turbulence thrown out by that immense hull.  The terror of that moment stayed with him and became the starting point for the book he was one day to write.

As the story took shape in his mind, there was research to be undertaken: journeys by helicopter in all weather out to the decks of passing supertankers, detailed conversations with their captains and crews, and with the tug-men of Safmarine, who sail the two most powerful ocean-going salvage tugs afloat. There were visits to the University of Cape Town and Miami, and to shipyards in many parts of the world. Everywhere Wilbur Smith received a friendly welcome and he's profoundly grateful for the expert advice that was given him so unstintingly.

Sometimes I marvel,  he says, that I should actually be paid for having so much fun. My principal hope now is that my readers will get as much enjoyment out of the book as I did.


Reader Reviews

From Andre' Mes -

HUNGRY AS THE SEA, for me, is part of the 'Seventies Series' that Smith wrote in that decade. All the books in that time were quite similar in style and seem to get lost into each other on retrospection. That does not, however, make it any the less exciting. I enjoyed the main hero's character and followed his moves with interest. Smith has a way with words and when describing the sea, he shares a literary prowess that fully conjures up the watery images of the enigmatic ocean! The final scene amidst the hurricane literally swept me away! Despite the predictable formula, Smith still packs a punch and delivers.

His narrative surges forward with a bone in its teeth, as irresistibly as the WARLOCK running south 'at the top of the green'. - The Times Literary Supplement
Hardly time to draw a breath. You can see at once why this is a bestseller. Hurricanes apart, it has all the ingredients of a technocolour thriller - beautiful women and sex, courtroom drama, high finance, horrible deaths. - Evening Standard
...an action from the very moment you start reading and stays that way right through for nearly four hundred pages. The ingredients are tough men, wild storms, incredible dangers during salvage operations and that's just the first fifty pages or so. - Daily Mirror



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Copyright 2001 - 2002 C.A. Mes. All rights reserved.