cover image Golden Fox

Golden Fox

Wilbur Smith. Random House (NY), $22 (433pp) ISBN 978-0-394-58971-8

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.)