Wilbur Smith

The most popular African novelist ever!

Wilbur was born in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), and educated in South Africa.

His first novel was published in 1964. He was married to Danielle in 1971, and dedicated to her every novel he wrote--except for EAGLE IN THE SKY, which was dedicated to her son--until she passed away in 1999. Wilbur is currently married to Mokhiniso.

I have met Wilbur, sold him a set of his own books, and communicated with him via email.

Wilbur signed many of my books for me.

Wilbur eventually started partnering with other authors, but my website only deals with the novels he wrote himself. For additional info about Wilbur, visit his website and Facebook.

Who is Steve Lawrence?

Wilbur published at least one short story in 1963. Click the image above to learn more.

WHEN THE LION FEEDS was published first in America, and shortly thereafter in Britain.

Every novel from THE DARK OF THE SUN through THE TRIUMPH OF THE SUN was first published in Britain.

Then, beginning with THE QUEST, Wilbur's novels were first published in South Africa, where he lives.

Some of the American titles are not the same as the William Heinemann titles.

Most of the American dust jacket artwork is different than the William Heinemann dust jacket artwork.

The DJs depicted below are the British DJs.


Click any image below to visit the webpage I created for that novel.

In Britain, William Heinemann published Wilbur's novels through A TIME TO DIE.

Macmillan took over at GOLDEN FOX, continuing through DESERT GOD.

HarperCollins published PHARAOH, the last novel that Wilbur wrote by himself.

Heinemann issued all of Wilbur's novels in a Uniform Edition when Macmillan took over. The Uniform Editions standardize the height and the style of dust jacket. From WHEN THE LION FEEDS through THE ANGELS WEEP, the Heinemann Uniform Editions are taller than the Heinemann first editions.

I once owned all of the Uniform Editions shown in the photo below, but sold them off to another collector.

I have owned, and still own, way too many copies of Wilbur Smith books. If you think you have, or had, a larger collection, please, use my Contact Me form to get in touch. I would like to meet you and chat.

The top row is American first editions. The rest are British first editions.

Continuation of British first editions, with Macmillan Uniform Editions on the bottom shelf

Uncorrected Proofs and Advance Reading Copies, both British and American

American first editions not shown in the first photo

Doubleday published 14 Wilbur Smith novels, more than any other American publisher.

Doubleday was Wilbur's American publisher longer than any other publisher. Doubleday was very inconsistent with declaring publication year on title-pages, and edition and printing details on copyright pages.

After nearly 25 of collecting Wilbur Smith books, I have never seen a copy of THE ANGELS WEEP, THE DELTA DECISION, or THE LEOPARD HUNTS IN DARKNESS that specifically state on their copyright pages "First Edition in the United States of America." Doubleday usually includes language that declares whether or not a book is a first edition.

GOLD MINE and THE DIAMOND HUNTERS have the publication year declared on their title-pages and state on their copyright pages the year of copyright as well as "First Edition in the United States."

THE SUNBIRD through A SPARROW FALLS have the publication year declared on their title-pages and state on their copyright pages the year of copyright as well as "First Edition in the United States of America."

Then came the inconsistencies.

HUNGRY AS THE SEA has no publication year declared on its title-page, but does state on its copyright page the copyright year of 1978, as well as "First Edition in the United States of America." However, the Uncorrected Proof DOES HAVE the publication year, 1978, declared on its title-page, and also states on its copyright page "First Edition in the United States of America."

THE DELTA DECISION has the publication year, 1981, on its title-page. As mentioned above, this is one of the Doubleday publications that I have never found in hardback with any "first edition" declaration on the copyright page. Furthermore, I own three copies and all of the books are identical (having gone through a thorough scrutiny). But, their dust jackets are all different. One has the price printed on the upper corner of the inside DJ flap. Another has the same price printed on the lower corner of the inside DJ flap. The third copy has no price printed, but is not price-clipped either. Very inconsistent, to say the least, especially since the books on which these three DJs live are the same in every way that I can ascertain. They all have 1981, the publication year, declared on their title-pages and the copyright year, 1979, stated on their copyright pages. The Uncorrected Proof is the same as the three hardback copies that I own.

FLIGHT OF THE FALCON has the publication year, 1982, on its title-page and specifically states on its copyright page the copyright year of 1980, as well as "First Edition in the United States of America." I do not own an Uncorrected Proof. The book-club edition does not have the publication year on its title-page and does not mention "first edition" on its copyright page.

MEN OF MEN reflects another inconsistency. It has the publication year, 1983, on its title-page, but specifically states on its copyright page "First Edition" without the additional words "in the United States of America." The copyright page also states the copyright year of 1981. I do not own an Uncorrected Proof. The book-club edition does not have the publication year on its title-page and does not mention "first edition" on its copyright page.

As mentioned above, THE ANGELS WEEP reflects yet another inconsistency. It has the publication year, 1983, on its title-page, and the copyright page declares the copyright date of 1982. But the copyright page does not specifically state "First Edition" or "First Edition in the United States of America." I own an Uncorrected Proof copy and it has the publication year, 1983, on its title-page, and the copyright page declares the copyright year of 1982. However, its copyright page DOES declare "First Edition." The book-club edition does not have the publication year on its title-page and does not mention "first edition."

And, again, as mentioned above, THE LEOPARD HUNTS IN DARKNESS has the publication year, 1984, on its title-page, and the copyright page declares the copyright year of 1984. The copyright page does not specifically state "First Edition" or "First Edition in the United States of America." I own an Uncorrected Proof copy and it has the publication year, 1984, on its title-page, but does not even have a copyright page.

THE BURNING SHORE was the last to be published by Doubleday, and they had to be inconsistent again to go out with a bang. It has the publication year, 1985, on its title-page and copyright page. It further states on its copyright page "First Printing in the United States of America" [note the language change from "Edition" to "Printing"]. The Uncorrected Proof has the publication year, 1985, on its title-page and copyright page, but the copyright page DOES NOT include any declaration about being a "first edition."

Based on all of the information above, I believe I own copies of the first American hardcover editions of THE ANGELS WEEP, THE DELTA DECISION, and THE LEOPARD HUNTS IN DARKNESS.