As a first time reader of Wilbur Smith, there was a fair amount of expectations I brought to the table. The writer is a legend in his own right who has written over 30 page-turners and has been translated into 26 languages.
He also has a £15million agreement to produce six more books in close association with other authors.
So did Smith's latest Hector Cross caper kept me hooked? The answer is yes. Will I go back to his books? Probably not. The answer lies in the gruesome, stomach churning ways in which women are continuously killed in Vicious Circle.
A follow-up to his New York Times' bestselling novel Those in Peril starring Hector Cross, Vicious Circle sees the testosterone-driven hero travel to the depths of Africa and Middle-East to revenge the death of his wife Hazel Bannock and save the life of his daughter Catherine Cayla.
Brutal figures from Bannock family's past emerge with an agenda so sinister that Hector realises he is facing a new breed of enemy. Armed with a twist in the middle, the book is populated with Thai ladyboys, bodice ripping villains, African despots and a crocodile named Hannibal.
Smith paints such a vivid picture of certain scenes that they will stay with you long after you have finished the book. One such example is Hector recounting how he killed his first lion in Masai Mara National Park. This tale that has a real-life precedent - 14-year-old Smith killed his first lion in present-day Zambia.
While film rights have already been acquired for "Those in Peril, with this novel Smith is offering Hollywood a chance to turn the books into a series of films.
To come back to my quibble with the book - its extensive and, at times, uncalled for violence against women. While men die of a bullet in the head or a sudden heart attack, women are fed to pigs and crocodiles or their innards are spilt in a way that will make you throw up your food or, if you are a proponent of women's emancipation, your hands up in despair.