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Book online «Thunderbolt Wilbur Smith (surface ebook reader .TXT) 📖». Author Wilbur Smith

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Title Page

Priase for Cloudburst



Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

Chapter 5.

Chapter 6.

Chapter 7.

Chapter 8.

Chapter 9.

Chapter 10.

Chapter 11.

Chapter 12.

Chapter 13.

Chapter 14.

Chapter 15.

Chapter 16.

Chapter 17.

Chapter 18.

Chapter 19.

Chapter 20.

Chapter 21.

Chapter 22.

Chapter 23.

Chapter 24.

Chapter 25.

Chapter 26.

Chapter 27.

Chapter 28.

Chapter 29.

Chapter 30.

Chapter 31.

Chapter 32.

Chapter 33.

Chapter 34.

Chapter 35.

Chapter 36.

Chapter 37.

Chapter 38.

Chapter 39.

Chapter 40.

Chapter 41.

Chapter 42.

Chapter 43.

Chapter 44.

Chapter 45.

Chapter 46.

Chapter 47.

Chapter 48.

Chapter 49.

Chapter 50.

Chapter 51.

Chapter 52.

Chapter 53.

Chapter 54.

Chapter 55.


About Wilbur Smith

The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation


Praise for Cloudburst

‘An exciting and realistic story, full of bandits, poachers and amazing wildlife … it keeps you turning the pages to the end’ – i newspaper

‘Unputdownable … Fast-moving adventure with heart and a message … Jack is as appealing a hero as Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider’ – LoveReading4Kids

‘You won’t be able to put it down’ – Angels & Urchins

‘Filled with so many twists and turns it will keep the reader guessing … Fans of Enid Blyton and Willard Price will enjoy Cloudburst, which takes these classics, injecting them with a modern influence’ – Reading Zone

‘An exciting and powerful story brimming with fast-paced action, unexpected twists and turns, an extraordinary backdrop and a cast of inspirational characters’ – Pam Norfolk

‘The Democratic Republic of Congo provides a colourful and vibrant backdrop for this exciting new children’s series’ – Natalie Xenso, CultureFly




Look out for the next Jack Courtney Adventure, Shockwave, coming in 2022

For all our young readers and their families

Wilbur Smith & Chris Wakling


I was concentrating so hard on the beep-beep-beep of the metal detector probing the ocean bed beneath me that I didn’t notice the shark. The little green light in the middle of the detector’s circular head winked in time with the beeping which, underwater, sounded more like blip-blip-blip. I floated above it, breathing slowly. The mouthpiece tasted rubbery. Silver bubbles swam lazily above me in gentle bursts. If the detector sniffed out metal – a bottle top, the tag of a broken zip, or an old coin, say – the blips would come closer together and the winking would go mental. Though I’d only turned up rubbish all morning, the idea that Amelia or Xander – both of whom were in the water somewhere nearby, conducting their own searches – or I might actually find what we were looking for was compelling.


Sand puffed up around the roving detector’s head as I swung it gently from side to side.


I’d finned my way to the edge of a patch of sea grass and bobbed there for a moment, watching the green tips of the grass swaying in the current. A few metres beyond this underwater lawn the detector had picked up a metallic scent of some sort. I rooted about in a circle, sending up another billowing cloud of sand.

This machine was set to search a diameter of about fifty centimetres. When the blip-blipping became a constant whine, I switched to the smaller wand dangling from a lanyard clipped to my Buoyancy Control Device. It searched with a more focused eye. As it homed in, the clicking sped up. Rather than beeping, this one clicked. It sounded a bit like an insistent dolphin.

My fingers, magnified by the glass of my mask, sifted the sand carefully. Before I even saw it, they had closed around something small with a hole in its middle. I realised that – breaking the first rule of scuba diving – I was holding my breath. Lifting the item to inspect it, I heard the rush of bubbles as I let the breath go: not a wedding ring, as I’d hoped it might be, but the ring-pull off a drinks can.

Rather than chuck litter back into the Indian Ocean, I slid it into my mesh bag and looked up to see where Amelia had got to. And that’s when I saw the shark, not thirty metres away, the colour and length of a torpedo, gliding towards me.

The in and out of my breathing was suddenly very loud indeed, the column of bubbles above me thickening to a constant mass. The shark, drifting my way, looked utterly at ease, comically chilled in fact.

Though I’d been diving a lot over the last few days, enough to get very comfortable underwater again, I suddenly felt as out of place as a football boot in a fridge. The shark slipped closer. With an almost imperceptible flick of its tail it veered to my left. But it didn’t get any further away. It was circling me. The unblinking dot of its nearside eye took me in. ‘What on earth are you doing down here?’ it seemed to say.

Fair question.

What was I doing there? There being ten metres underwater, weighed down with metal-detecting kit, just off the coast of Zanzibar.

Searching for treasure, obviously.

It was all Xander’s fault. When he heard Mum was planning a trip to Zanzibar, to help put what happened in the Congo behind us – as if anything ever could – he sent me a link to a company selling underwater metal detectors, telling me I should buy one.

I sent him one word back: ‘Why?’

In response he sent me another link, to – of all things – a wedding planner’s website. It was full of pictures of beaming brides dressed up like meringues cutting pointlessly elaborate cakes, while men wearing cheesy grins and shiny suits tried to look useful by leaning on the same knife.

None the wiser, I re-sent Xander the same one-word question.

Eventually he picked up the phone to explain. Zanzibar, with its white beaches, turquoise sea, cloudless skies and jaunty palm trees, is one of the most popular high-end honeymoon spots on Earth. Newlyweds pitch up there week in, week out, to celebrate getting hitched. Most of them jump in the sea at some point, wearing nothing but their swimming costumes, sun lotion, and their brand-new wedding rings.

Though the sea there is relatively warm, it’s still sea, meaning the water is cold enough to cool you down. Cool anything and it will shrink a

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