Ghost Fire

Written by Tom Harper Wilbur Smith
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1754, while Theo and Connie Courtney are living in India, a French army attacks their fort, and they experience the tragic death of their parents. Thinking his sister is also killed, young Theo escapes and leaves India. Eventually he sails to North America. Connie is captured by the invading French.  Feeling she has been abandoned by her brother, she becomes attracted to a French officer and travels with him to France, where she becomes a part of high society. Abused by a succession of male lovers, she meets and lives with a ruthless man while she climbs the social ladder. Theo, while in North America, learns to fight and defend himself against the French army and the Native Americans who have joined the French in the war. Because Theo is haunted by the spirits of his family, he often thinks of the ghost fires that burn in a swamp. They are the restless spirits of the unavenged dead.

This is the 18th book about the adventures of the Courtney family, but this novel can be read without the previous installments. I enjoyed this novel, its characters, their interactions, and the exciting situations the author places his leading characters into as they become young adults. This fast-paced plot at times becomes gripping while the storyline kept me interested as the two protagonists continue to evolve, Connie wondering if she will ever see her brother again. The authors know their history, and Wilbur Smith is one of the major writers of historical fiction. I plan on reading other books in the Courtney series.  I have read Smith’s Egyptian series and enjoyed them also.