Forty years on from the publication of A Falcon Flies, the first in the bestselling Ballantyne family saga, Wilbur Smith is revisiting the series with a thrilling prequel featuring fan favourite character, Mungo St John.
A Falcon Flies was published in 1980, and explores the adventures of Robyn Ballantyne and her brother Zouga as the two travel to Africa on the ship owned by the infamous American merchant and slave trader, Mungo St John.
Call of the Raven is set 19 years earlier, in 1840s Virginia and New Orleans. It will examine how Mungo came to be such a successful slave trader, and asks the question Robyn Ballantyne wrestles with throughout A Falcon Flies – how does a man like Mungo come to profit from the slave trade, and justify it in his mind?
Call of the Raven will be a fascinating exploration of the slave trade in its dying days and an exciting addition to Wilbur Smith’s impressive canon. Of his decision to return to the fan-favourite character, Wilbur said, ‘since launching my Facebook page I have heard many of my readers ask, “When will the story of Mungo St John be continued?” I went back and revisited A Falcon Flies and found myself drawn back to this man who was both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Where did he come from? What motivated him? Why is he the way he is in A Falcon Flies? Call of the Raven is my answer to those questions. It is, without a doubt, the most interesting historical novel I’ve worked on in some time. It made me examine the history of slave trading and its impact on racism in our world. It feels like an important contribution to our understanding of a period of history which continues to throw long shadows into the darkest aspects of the human soul.’
Kate Parkin, Managing Director for Adult Trade at Bonnier Books, said, ‘Magnetic, attractive and controversial, Mungo St John has intrigued and fascinated Wilbur Smith fans for forty years. We are so excited to be offering readers the chance to explore this enigmatic character in Call of the Raven – they have a real treat in store!’