Avro Lancaster

The four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bomber made it’s maiden flight on 9 Jaunary 1941. It was designed and manufactured by Avro as a contemporary of the Handley Page Halifax, both bombers having been developed to the same specification, as well as the Short Stirling, all three aircraft being four-engined heavy bombers adopted by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the same wartime era.

The Lancaster has its origins in the twin-engine Avro Manchester which had been developed during the late 1930s in response to the Air Ministry Specification P.13/36 for a capable medium bomber for “world-wide use”. Originally developed as an evolution of the Manchester (which had proved troublesome in service and was retired in 1942), the Lancaster was designed by Roy Chadwick and powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlins and in one version, Bristol Hercules engines. It first saw service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and as the strategic bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it was the main aircraft for the night-time bombing campaigns that followed. As increasing numbers of the type were produced, it became the principal heavy bomber used by the RAF, the RCAF and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within the RAF, overshadowing contemporaries such as the Halifax and Stirling.

A long, unobstructed bomb bay meant that the Lancaster could take the largest bombs used by the RAF, including the 4,000 lb (1,800 kg), 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) and 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) blockbusters, loads often supplemented with smaller bombs or incendiaries. The “Lanc”, as it was affectionately known, became one of the more famous and most successful of the Second World War night bombers, “delivering 608,612 long tons of bombs in 156,000 sorties”.The versatility of the Lancaster was such that it was chosen to equip 617 Squadron and was modified to carry the Upkeep “Bouncing bomb” designed by Barnes Wallis for Operation Chastise, the attack on German Ruhr valley dams. Although the Lancaster was primarily a night bomber, it excelled in many other roles, including daylight precision bombing, for which some Lancasters were adapted to carry the 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) Tallboy and then the 22,000 lb (10,000 kg) Grand Slam earthquake bombs (also designed by Wallis). This was the largest payload of any bomber in the war.

In 1943, a Lancaster was converted to become an engine test bed for the Metropolitan-Vickers F.2 turbojet. Lancasters were later used to test other engines, including the Armstrong Siddeley Mamba and Rolls-Royce Dart turboprops and the Avro Canada Orenda and STAL Dovern turbojets. Postwar, the Lancaster was supplanted as the main strategic bomber of the RAF by the Avro Lincoln, a larger version of the Lancaster. The Lancaster took on the role of long range anti-submarine patrol aircraft (later supplanted by the Avro Shackleton) and air-sea rescue. It was also used for photo-reconnaissance and aerial mapping, as a flying tanker for aerial refuelling and as the Avro Lancastrian, a long-range, high-speed, transatlantic passenger and postal delivery airliner. In March 1946, a Lancastrian of BSAA flew the first scheduled flight from the new London Heathrow Airport.

Peter Cook

The late great English actor, satirist, writer and comedian Peter Cook tragically died on 9 January 1995, aged 57, having suffered a gastrointestinal haemorrhage. He was born 17 November 1937. he is regarded as An extremely influential figure in modern British comedy & a leading light of the British satire boom of the 1960s & has been described by Stephen Fry as “the funniest man who ever drew breath”. Cook was closely associated with anti-establishment comedy which emerged in Britain and the United States in the late 1950s. Educated at Radley College and Pembroke College, Cambridge, Cook joined the Cambridge University Liberal Club & It was at Pembroke thatCook performed and wrote comedy sketches as a member of the Cambridge Footlights Club, of which he became president in 19which was60′s, & wrote for Kenneth Williams, before joining a four-man group satirical stage show, Beyond the Fringe, with Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett and Dudley Moore, which included Cook impersonating the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan.In 1961 Cook opened the Establishment club in central London. Cook said it was a satirical venue modelled on “those wonderful Berlin cabarets… which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the outbreak of the Second World War”. Cook befriended and supported Australian comedian and actor Barry Humphries, who began his British solo career at the club. Cook’s chiselled looks and languid manner led Humphries to observe that whereas most people take after their father or mother, Cook seemed more like an aunt. Dudley Moore’s jazz trio also played in the basement of the club during the early 1960s.

In 1962, the BBC commissioned a pilot for a television series of satirical sketches based on the Establishment club, cacook That Was The Week That Was ‘.Around this time, Cook provided financial backing for the satirical magazine Private Eye. For a time, the magazine was produced from the premises of the Establishment club. Cook ‘s first regular television spot was on Granada Television’s Braden Beat with Bernard Braden, where he featured his most enduring character: the static, dour and monotonal E.L. Wisty.Cook’s comedy partnership with Dudley Moore led to Not Only… But Also. Using few props, they created dry and absurd television. Cook played characters such as Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling and the two men created their Pete and Dud alter egos. Other sketches included “Superthunderstingcar”, a parody of the Gerry Anderson marionette TV shows, and Cook’s pastiche of 1960s trendy artsdocumentaries – satirised in a TV segment on Greta Garbo. A compilation of six half-hour programmes, The Best of What’s Left of Not Only…But Also. Cook and Moore began to act in films together such as With The Wrong Box (1966) and Bedazzled (1967) , the underlying story of Bedazzled is a comic parody of Faust, which stars Cook as George Spigott (The Devil) who tempts Stanley Moon (Moore), a frustrated, short-order chef, with the promise of gaining his heart’s desire – the unattainable beauty and waitress at his cafe, Margaret Spencer (Eleanor Bron) – in exchange for his soul, but repeatedly tricks him. The film features cameo appearances by Barry Humphries as Envy and Raquel Welch as Lust. Moore composed the soundtrack music and co-wrote (with Cook) the songs performed in the film. In 1968, Cook and Moore did four one-hour programmes entitled Goodbye Again with John Cleese ,which were based on the Pete and Dud characters.

ln 1970, Cook took over a a satirical film called The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer . As a reult Cook became a favourite of the chat show circuit sadly his own effort at hosting one for the BBC in 1971, Where Do I Sit? didn’t work and He was replaced by Michael Parkinson, which started Parkinson’s career as a chat show host. Cook and Moore used sketches from Not Only….But Also and Goodbye Again with new material for a stage revue called Behind the Fridge. Which proved very popular and won Tony and Grammy Awards. When it finished, Moore stayed in the U.S. to pursue a film career in Hollywood. Cook returned to Britain and recorded the more risqué humour of Pete and Dud like “Derek and Clive”. One of these audio recordings was also filmed Two further Derek and Clive albums were released, the last accompanied by a film.In 1978 Cook appeared on British music series Revolver where emerging punk and new wave acts played . Cook also played multiple roles on the 1977 concept album Consequences, which was A mixture of spoken comedy and progressive rock with an environmental subtext. Cook appeared at the first three fund-raising galas staged by humourists John Cleese and Martin Lewis on behalf of Amnesty International. The benefits were dubbed The Secret Policeman’s Balls, where he performed on all three nights of the first show in April 1976, A Poke in the Eye (with a Sharp Stick), as an individual performer and as a member of the cast of Beyond The Fringe, which reunited for the first time since the 1960s. He also appeared in a Monty Python sketch, taking the place of Eric Idle. Cook was on the cast album of the show and in the film, Pleasure At Her Majesty’s. He was in the second Amnesty gala in May 1977, An Evening Without Sir Bernard Miles. It was retitled The Mermaid Frolics. Cook performed monologues and skits with Terry Jones.

In June 1979, Cook performed all four nights of The Secret Policeman’s Ball – teaming with John Cleese. Cook also performed a couple of solo pieces and a sketch with Eleanor Bron, PLUS the “End Of The World” sketch from Beyond The Fringe., he also wrote and voiced radio commercials to advertise the film in the UK. He also hosted a spoof film awards ceremony that was part of the world première of the film in London in March 1982. Following Cook’s 1987 stage reunion with Moore for the annual U.S. benefit for the homeless, Comic Relief (not related to the UK Comic Relief benefits), Cook repeated the reunion for a British audience by performing with Moore at the 1989 Amnesty benefit The Secret Policeman’s Biggest Ball. In 1980, Cook moved to Hollywood and appeared as an uptight English butler to a wealthy American woman in a short-lived U.S. television sitcom The Two of Us, In 1980, Cook starred in l Peter Cook & Co. which included memorable, comedy sketches, such as a Tales of the Unexpected parody “Tales Of The Much As We Expected”. The cast included John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Beryl Reid, Paula Wilcox and Terry Jones. ln 1983 Cook played the role of Richard III in the first episode of Blackadder, “The Foretelling”, which parodies Laurence Olivier’s portrayal. He narrated the short film “Diplomatix” by Norwegian comedy trio Kirkvaag, Lystad and Mjøen, which won the “Special Prize of the City of Montreux” at the Montreux Comedy Festival in 1985. In 1986 he partnered Joan Rivers on her UK talk show. He appeared as Mr Jolly in 1987 in The Comic Strip Presents’ Mr Jolly Lives Next Door.In 1988, Cook appeared as a contestant on the improvisation comedy show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? Cook was declared the winner, his prize being to read the credits in the style of a New York cab driver. Cook returned to the BBC as Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling for an appearance with Ludovic Kennedy in A Life in Pieces. The 12 interviews saw Sir Arthur recount his life based on the Twelve Days of Christmas. Unscripted interviews with Cook as Streeb-Greebling and satirist Chris Morris were recorded in late 1993 and broadcast as Why Bother? on BBC Radio 3. On 17 December 1993, Cook appeared on Clive Anderson Talks Back as four characters – biscuit tester and alien abductee Norman House, football manager and motivational speaker Alan Latchley, judge Sir James Beauchamp and rock legend Eric Daley. he also read links for Arena’s “Radio Night”. He also appeared, in the 1993 Christmas special of One Foot in the Grave (“One Foot in the Algarve”), playing a muckraking tabloid journalist.

Cook made his last TV appearance in November 1994. Cook died in the intensive-care unit of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, North London. Days earlier he had been taken in and announced, “I feel a bit poorly”. Dudley Moore attended Cook’s memorial service in London in May 1995 and he and Martin Lewis presented a two-night memorial for Cook in Los Angeles the following November, to mark what would have been Cook’s 58th birthday.Cook is acknowledged as the one of the main influence on British comedians from amateur dramatic clubs of British universities to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and then to the radio and television.ln 1999 the minor planet 20468 Petercook, in the main asteroid belt, was named after him.Ten years after his death, Cook was ranked at number one in the Comedians’ Comedian, a poll of 300 comics, comedy writers, producers and directors. Channel 4 broadcast Not Only But Always, a TV film dramatising the relationship between Cook and Moore, with Rhys Ifans portraying Cook. At the 2005 Edinburgh Festival Fringe a play, , examined the relationship from Moore’s view, Pete and Dud: Come Again. Tom Goodman-Hill played Cook.At the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Goodbye – the (after)life of Cook & Moore was presented at the Gilded Balloon. The play imagined the newly dead Moore meeting Cook in Limbo, also inhabited by other comic actors with whom they had worked, including Peter Sellers, Tony Hancock, Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams. In May 2009 the play was seen again in London’s West End at the Leicester Square Theatre ) with Jonathan Hansler as Cook, Adam Bampton Smith as Moore and Clive Greenwood as everyone else.A green plaque was unveiled by the Heritage Foundation at the site of the Establishment club on 15 February 2009.

Jimmy Page OBE (Led Zeppelin)

Described as “rock’s greatest and most mysterious guitar hero” and “the pontiff of power riffing. one of the most influential and important guitarists and songwriters in rock music, guitar god, songwriter, and record producer James Patrick “Jimmy” Page, OBE was born 9 January 1944. Page First played the guitar at the age of twelve. Among his early influences were rockabilly guitarists Scotty Moore and James Burton, who both played on recordings made by Elvis Presley Page’s musical tastes included skiffle and acoustic folk playing, particularly that of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and the blues sounds of Elmore James, B.B. King, Willie Dixon, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Freddie King and Hubert Sumlin. At the age of 13, Page appeared on All Your Own talent quest programme in a skiffle quartet, played “Mama Don’t Want To Skiffle Anymore” and In Them Ol’ Cottonfields Back Home”. When asked by Wheldon what he wanted to do after schooling, Page said, “I want to do biological research” to find a cure for “cancer, if it isn’t discovered by then”.

He began his career as a studio session guitarist in London. He was asked by singer Neil Christian to join his band, The Crusaders, after Christian had seen a fifteen-year-old Page playing in a local hall. Page toured with Christian for approximately two years and later played on several of his records, including “The Road to Love” While still a student, Page would often perform on stage at The Marquee with bands such as Cyril Davies’ All Stars, Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated and with guitarists Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. He was asked to record a number of singles including “The Worrying Kind”. After brief stints with Carter-Lewis and the Southerners, Mike Hurst and the Method, and Mickey Finn and the Blue Men, Page committed himself to full-time session work. He secured session work playing acoustic twelve string guitar on The Kinks’ debut album “I’m a Lover Not a Fighter” “I’ve Been Driving On Bald Mountain” and I Gotta Move”. He also played six-string rhythm guitar on The Who’s songs “I Can’t Explain” & “Bald Headed Woman”, As well as Marianne Faithfull’s “As Tears Go By”, The Nashville Teens’ “Tobacco Road”, The Rolling Stones’ “Heart of Stone”, Van Morrison & Them’s “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Here Comes the Night”, Dave Berry’s “The Crying Game” and “My Baby Left Me”, Brenda Lee’s “Is It True,” and Petula Clark’s “Downtown”. He also composed and recorded songs for the John Williams album The Maureeny Wishful Album with Big Jim Sullivan, Donovan Leitch’s Sunshine Superman the Johnny Hallyday albums Jeune Homme and Je Suis Né Dans La Rue, the Al Stewart album Love Chronicles, and played guitar on five tracks of Joe Cocker’s debut album, With a Little Help from My Friends. Page has also played lead guitar on 10 Roy Harper tracks

The Yardbirds

Page decided to leave session work. In 1965 Clapton quit the Yardbirds, and Page was formally offered Clapton’s spot, but Page was still unwilling to give up his lucrative career as a session musician, due to worries about his health during touring conditions, he suggested his friend, Jeff Beck instead. In1966, drummer Keith Moon, bass player John Paul Jones, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, Jeff Beck and Page recorded “Beck’s Bolero”. Page decided to form a new supergroup featuring Beck, along with The Who’s John Entwistle on bass and Keith Moon on drums. It was During this time, that Moon suggested the name “Lead Zeppelin” for the first time, after Entwistle commented that the proceedings would take to the air like a lead balloon.Page also attended a Yardbirds concert and when Paul Samwell-Smith announced that he was leaving the group. Page offered to replace Samwell-Smith and He started off playing bass with the Yardbirds before finally switching to twin lead guitar with Beck. they released one single, “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” however interpersonal conflicts caused by constant touring and a lack of commercial success took it’s toll and Jeff Beck left. After Beck’s departure, the Yardbirds remained a quartet & recorded one album, Little Games. Interestingly Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton neveractually played in the original group at the same time, although The three guitarists did appear on stage together at the ARMS charity concerts in 1983.)

Led Zeppelin

After Keith Relf and Jim McCarty left the Yardbirds in 1968, Page recruited vocalist Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham, then John Paul Jones also asked to join. During the Scandinavian tour the new group appeared as “The New Yardbirds”, but after recalling the old joke by Keith Moon and John Entwistle. about going down like a Lead Zeppelin. Page used the name for his new band. Peter Grant changed it to “Led Zeppelin”, to avoid a mispronunciation of “Leed Zeppelin.” the band consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. Page had a very specific idea about the sound and wanted Led Zeppelin to be a marriage of blues, hard rock and acoustic music topped with heavy choruses – a combination that had never been done before. Instead of releasing their songs as singles; they viewed their albums as indivisible and complete listening experiences and due to the heavy, guitar-driven blues rock sound of their first two albums, Led Zeppelin are frequently recognised as the progenitors of heavy metal and hard rock. However, the band’s individualistic style drew from a wide variety of influences, including folk music, which they incorporated into their next two albums. Their untitled fourth album, which features the track “Stairway to Heaven”, is among the most popular and influential works in rock music, and it cemented the status of the group as “superstars.” Subsequent albums saw greater experimentation and were accompanied by record-breaking tours, which earned them a reputation for excess. Although they remained commercially and critically successful, in the later 1970s, the band’s output and touring schedule were limited by the personal difficulties and circumstances of the members. Led Zeppelin disbanded following Bonham’s unexpected death in 1980. But they became a prototype for countless future rock bands, and was one of the major driving forces behind the rock sound of that era.

Led Zeppelin broke up in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham, Since then, the surviving members have pursued solo careers as well as a series of collaborations and sporadic one-off reunions. Including forming a supergroup called XYZ (for ex-Yes-Zeppelin)with Yes bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White in 1981. Page also played on Roy Harper’s 1984 album “Whatever Happened to Jugula?”. He has also reunited with former members of Led Zeppelin to perform live on a few occasions, most notably in 1985 for the Live Aid concert. Page has also recorded with former Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant as The Honeydrippers on the album The Honeydrippers: Volume 1, and with John Paul Jones on the film soundtrack Scream for Help. He has also collaborated with Paul Rodgers to record two albums under the name The Firm. He also released a solo album entitled Outrider in 1988 featuring Robert Plant & contributed on Plant’s solo album Now and Zen. He also collaborated with David Coverdale on the album Coverdale Page. In 1988 Page, Plant, Jones, and John Bonham’s son Jason, performed at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary show. In 1990, he played at Knebworth to aid the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre and the British School for Performing Arts and Technology”. In 1994, he reunited with Plant for the penultimate performance in MTV’s “Unplugged” series. He has also collaborated on various film Soundtracks and has played many times at the A.R.M.S. (Action Research for Multiple Sclerosis) charity series of concerts which honoured Small Faces bass player Ronnie Lane, who suffered from the disease. Page participates in various charity concerts and charity work, particularly the Action for Brazil’s Children Trust (ABC Trust), In October 1999, Page teamed up with The Black Crowes for a two-night performance of material from the Led Zeppelin catalogue and old blues and rock standards, which was recorded and released as a double live album, Live at the Greek in 2000.

In 2005, Page was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his Brazilian charity work for Task Brazil and Action For Brazil’s Children’s Trust, and was made an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro later that year, he was also awarded a Grammy award and In November 2006, Led Zeppelin were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. In 2007, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited (along with John Bonham’s son, Jason) for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at The O2 Arena in London (Which is featured on the CD/DVD “Celebration Day” and they were also honoured with the “Best Live Act” prize at the 2008 MOJO awards. In 2010 Jimmy Page was ranked No.2 in Gibson’s list of “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time” and No.4 on Classic Rock Magazine’s “100 Wildest Guitar Heroes”. He is ranked third in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” & has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; once as a member of The Yardbirds and once as a member of Led Zeppelin. Page has also been honoured with a first-ever Global Peace Award by the United Nations’ Pathways to Peace organisation. In 1996 Mojo Magazine ranked him number 7 on their list of “100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time”. In 2002 he was voted the second greatest guitarist of all time in a Total Guitar magazine reader poll. In 2007, Classic Rock Magazine ranked him No. 4 on their list of the “100 Wildest Guitar Heroes”. He was also ranked Page No. 2 in a list of the “50 greatest guitarists ever” in 2008. In August 2009, Time Magazine ranked him the 6th greatest electric-guitar player of all time. In 2010, Jimmy Page was ranked No. 2 on Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time and In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine named him number three on their list of the “100 greatest guitarists of all time”. Led Zeppelin are one of the best-selling music artists in history and have been described as the “greatest rock and roll band of all time. Robert Plant’s latest solo album Carry Fire was released in 2017.

Philippa Gregory

British writer Philippa Gregory, was born 9 January 1954 in Nairobi, Kenya. She has been writing historical novels since 1987, the best known of which is The Other Boleyn Girl which won the Romantic Novelists’ Association.Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2002. Among her other novels are The Queen’s Fool,The Virgin’s Lover, The Constant Princess, The Boleyn Inheritance, The Other Queen, The Constant Princess, The Wise Woman, The White Queen, The Red Queen and the The Kingmaker’s Daughter.

She has written novels set in several different historical periods, though primarily the Tudor period and the 16th century. Reading a number of novels set in the 17th century led her to write the bestselling Lacey trilogy — Wideacre, which is a story about the love of land and incest, The Favoured Child and Meridon. This was followed by The Wise Woman. A Respectable Trade, a novel of the slave trade in England, set in 18th-century Bristol, was adapted by Gregory for a four-part drama series for BBC television. Gregory’s script was nominated for a BAFTA, won an award from the Committee for Racial Equality, and the film was shown worldwide.Two novels about a gardening family are set during the English Civil War: Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, while she has in addition written contemporary fiction – Perfectly Correct, Mrs Hartley And The Growth Centre, The Little House and Zelda’s Cut. She has also written for children.

Some of her novels have won awards and have been adapted into television dramas. The most successful of her novels has been The Other Boleyn Girl, published in 2002 and adapted for BBC television in 2003 with Natascha McElhone, Jodhi May and Jared Harris. In the year of its publication, The Other Boleyn Girl also won the Romantic Novel of the Year and it has subsequently spawned sequels — The Queen’s Fool, The Virgin’s Lover, The Constant Princess, The Boleyn Inheritance, and The Other Queen. Miramax bought the film rights to The Other Boleyn Girl and produced a film of the same name starring Scarlett Johansson as Mary Boleyn and co-starring Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn, Eric Bana as Henry Tudor, Juno Temple as Jane Parker, and Kristin Scott Thomas as Elizabeth Boleyn. It was filmed in England and generally released in February 2008. Gregory had also begun to publish a series of books about the Plantagenets, the ruling houses that preceded the Tudors, and the Cousin’s War. Her first book The White Queen, published in 2009, centers on the life of Elizabeth Woodville the wife of Edward IV. The Red Queen, published in 2010, is about Margret Beaufort the mother of Henry VII and grandmother to Henry VIII. The Lady of the Rivers, published 2011, is the life of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, mother of Elizabeth Woodville, first married to John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, younger brother of Henry the Fifth.

Wilbur Smith

Prolific adventure novelist Wilbur Smith was born 9 January 1933 in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia now Kabwe, Zambia. As a child he ranged through the bush, hiking, hunting, and trapping birds and small mammals. His mother read to him every night and later gave him novels of escape and excitement, which piqued his interest in fiction. He went to boarding school at Cordwalles Preparatory School in Natal (now Kwa-Zulu Natal). While in Natal he continued to be an avid reader and would discuss the books he had read with his English master, who encouraged his reading. Next he went to Michaelhouse (St Michael’s academy for young gentlemen) situated on the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains.

After he left Michaelhouse He became a journalist, writing about social conditions in South Africa, then worked as a Chartered Accountant for a while before turning back to fiction. He sold his first story to ‘Argosy’ magazine & then wrote his first novel, ‘The Gods First Make Mad’.His next novel, When the Lion Feeds, was published in 1964, and tells the story of Sean Courtney and his twin brother Garry as they grow up on an African cattle ranch. The story weaves in facts about Smith’s own father and mother. He added in some early African history and included the perspective of black people and white. He wrote about hunting, gold mining, carousing, women, love, sex, and hate. The book gained a film deal and its success encouraged Smith to become a full-time writer.

His writings include 16th and 17th century tales about the founding of the southern territories of Africa and the subsequent adventures and international intrigues relevant to these settlements. His books often fall into one of three series. These works of fiction draw on history and help to explain the rise and historical influence of the Dutch and British settlers in southern Africa that eventually claimed this diamond and gold rich and disputed territory as home. Smith currently has over 30 novels published and now lives in London, but states that Africa is his major inspiration and avows an abiding concern for the peoples and wildlife of his native continent.