My paternal grandfather, James Courtney Smith, who could hit a spittoon from six yards without touching the sides, taught me how to tell a good tale. I’d like to think he’s smiling beneath his tobacco stained moustache somewhere up in heaven as the namesake for this family of heroes and villains.
Bonnier Books UK and Wilbur Smith Enterprises have today published an exciting new section of the official Wilbur Smith website, with an interactive family tree exploring the fictional Courtney family, whose adventures form the core of this best-loved Wilbur Smith series.
The reactive and expansive family tree connects each generation in chronological order, from Sir Charles Courtney (Birds of Prey) through to Jack Courtney (Cloudburst). Each main character has a click-through biographical page that details their life, adventures and the books they feature in. Readers and fans have the opportunity to contribute to these pages, elaborating on elements and growing the details in order to create an evolving, immersive, user experience.
The Courtney Family Series consists of over twenty titles to date, with at least five more planned, and is one of the longest running series in publishing history. Spanning multiple generations and with settings across the globe, every Courtney title has hit the bestseller lists since Wilbur Smith’s debut, When the Lion Feeds, in 1964. Earlier this year a new generation of Courtneys were introduced in Cloudburst, the first in the Jack Courtney Adventures, Wilbur Smith’s debut series for children. The latest adult title, Ghost Fire, publishes in paperback in August.
This new development comes just under a year after the launch of the new Wilbur Smith website. Other features include the ‘Tales of Adventure’, exploring the historical and cultural research that inspired and influenced many of Smith’s fictional adventures, and more recently, a new programme of ‘Real-life Adventures’ sharing real-life stories of peril and bravery, including contributions from E.M.Davey and Ollie Ollerton, among others. This initiative, as with the work of the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, aims to preserve and invigorate adventure writing as a genre, and encourage and support future authors.
Wilbur Smith said ‘I am delighted to confirm that the Courtney family saga is the longest running series in publishing history. My paternal grandfather, James Courtney Smith, who could hit a spittoon from six yards without touching the sides, taught me how to tell a good tale. I’d like to think he’s smiling beneath his tobacco stained moustache somewhere up in heaven as the namesake for this family of heroes and villains.’
Kate Parkin, managing director of the adult publishing division at Bonnier Books UK, said: ‘The Courtney Family Tree is an exciting and innovative addition to the rich and immersive experience awaiting adventurers who visit the Wilbur Smith website. It has been a pleasure to work with Wilbur and Niso Smith in mapping the Courtney world in this way.’
Blake Brooks, brand and marketing manager for Wilbur Smith, said: ‘It has been a joy working with Wilbur and Niso Smith, and the team at Threekey, to bring this immersive extension of the Courtney Series to Wilbur Smith’s dedicated and enthusiastic fans, and enable a clear introduction into the series for readers lucky enough to be experiencing the books for the first time.’
The Courtney family tree is live now at wilbursmithbooks.com/courtney-family-tree.