The year is 1667. Sir Francis Courtney and his son Hal are on patrol in their fighting caravel off the Agulhas Cape of South Africa. They are lying in wait for one of the treasure-laden galleons of the Dutch East India Company returning from the Orient. so begins a quest for adventure and the spoils of war that sweeps them from the settlement of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa to the Great Horn of Ethiopia far to the north - at a time when international maritime law permitted acts of piracy, rape, and murder otherwise punishable by death. Wilbur Smith introduces a generation of the indomitable Courtneys and thrillingly re-creates their part in the struggle for supremacy and riches on the high seas.From the very first pages, Wilbur Smith spins a colorful and exciting tale, crackling with tension and drama, that builds and builds to a stunning climax. Packed with vivid descriptive passages of the open seas, breathless pacing, and an extraordinary cast of characters, Birds of Prey is a masterpiece from a storyteller at the height of his powers.