Smorgasbord Book Reviews – On Leopard Rock #Memoir – Wilbur Smith

As a life long fan of Wilbur Smith and having collected and read all his books, there is no way that I could not read his memoir. On Leopard Rock: A Life of Adventures


About On Leopard Rock: A Life of Adventures

The first ever memoir from the Number One global bestselling adventure author

Wilbur Smith has lived an incredible life of adventure, and now he shares the extraordinary true stories that have inspired his fiction.

“I’ve been writing novels for over fifty years. I was lucky enough to miss the big wars and not get shot, but lucky enough to grow up among the heroes who had served in them and learn from their example. I have lucked into things continuously. I have done things which have seemed appalling at the time,disastrous even, but out of them have come another story or a deeper knowledge of human character and the ability to express myself better on paper, write books which people enjoy reading.

Along the way, I have lived a life that I could never have imagined. I have been privileged to meet people from all corners of the globe, I have been wherever my heart has desired and in the process my books have taken readers to many, many places. I always say I’ve started wars, I’ve burned down cities, and I’ve killed hundreds of thousands of people – but only in my imagination!”

From being attacked by lions to close encounters with deadly reef sharks, from getting lost in the African bush without water to crawling the precarious tunnels of gold mines, from marlin fishing with Lee Marvin to near death from crash-landing a Cessna airplane, from brutal schooldays to redemption through writing and falling in love, Wilbur Smith tells us the intimate stories of his life that have been the raw material for his fiction. Always candid, sometimes hilarious, and never less than thrillingly entertaining, On Leopard Rock is testament to a writer whose life is as rich and eventful as his novels are compellingly unputdownable.

My review for On Leopard Rock.

They recommend that you write about your own experiences in life when starting out as a writer. And despite the early age that Wilbur Smith first put pen to paper, he had already racked up enough adventures to inspire several books.  l really enjoyed learning about his early life growing up in the African bush of the 1940s and 1950s. The  days when hunting was for food for the table not sport, not just the family’s, but also the people who worked the land with them from the local villages. Wilbur Smith the boy, along with his best friend would take off for the day, walking miles in search of elusive game, and still make it home for supper. Sometimes barely!  It was very different time and attracted some interesting characters from all walks of life to farm this rich land.

What also impressed me about Wilbur Smith’s approach to writing, was the commitment to researching each book meticulously, including spending time on a whaling ship, working side by side with workers in a gold mine, and immersing himself in the life he was portraying. I have read all of Wilbur Smith’s books; some of the earlier novels at least three times. I find my reading enjoyment has only deepened as my experience of the world has matured. Having read this memoir, I am looking forward to revisiting his books with a new perspective, one that respects the amount of time and thought that went into each and every one of them.

It was also fascinating to read about the 1960s in South Africa, in relation to Wilbur Smith’s books that were banned because of apartheid. I was in school in Cape Town at the time, and at that age didn’t really see the pervasive influence on all aspects of society that this produced. I read those banned books on our return to the UK when I was 11 years old little knowing that my school friends would be denied that pleasure for many years.

Apart from the stories about Africa, there are also other challenges during the writing process, and it would seem that dogged determination is also one of Wilbur Smith’s attributes. Hollywood it would seem is a jungle in its own right…

If you love the books of Wilbur Smith then I do recommend that you read this exciting adventure story that reads more like one of his novels than a non-fiction account of his life. There are thrills and danger, as well as inspiration for all writers to keep doing what you love, do it well and enjoy life to the full.

Read the reviews and buy the book in print and Kindle:

And on Amazon UK:

A small selection of other books by Wilbur Smith.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

About Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith was born in Central Africa in 1933. He was educated at Michaelhouse and Rhodes University. After the successful publication of WHEN THE LION FEEDS in 1964 he became a full-time writer, and has since written 30 novels, all meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His books have been translated into twenty-six different languages

Find out more about Wilbur Smith and all his books:

Thank you for dropping in today, and I hope that if you have not as yet read any of Wilbur Smith’s books then you will start now. It might take you a few years to read them all, but I am sure they will enrich your life as they have mine.

21 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Book Reviews – On Leopard Rock #Memoir – Wilbur Smith

  1. I’ve read all of Mr. Smith’s books and still have them. They are part of my collection that I won’t part with. Like you Sally, I’ve read many several times. I’m not usually interested in autobiographies but upon your recommendation, I’ll check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great interview with Mr. Smith, Sally. It must be exciting for you to read his banned books when you returned to the UK. What an inspiration that he has written 30 novels and now his memoir. Great recommendation of his books. 🙂


  3. Pingback: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – More Recommended Books by Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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