In 2019, Wilbur was inspired to write for a new generation of readers after seeing the action young people in the world today are taking to question what is happening to the environment.

His new Jack Courtney series, Cloudburst (book one) and Thunderbolt (book two) is co-written with author Chris Wakling and is ideal for readers age 10+. Shockwave, the third of the trilogy will be released in 2022. 



Download: Thunderbolt Reading Group Questions

Download: Thunderbolt Activity Sheets - a quiz about Zanzibar and ten ways you can help to protect the coral reefs. 

You can download Key Stage 2 teaching resources for both titles here:

Download: Thunderbolt School Resource Pack - extracts and exercises for two lessons focusing on Conservation; Adventure Writing; Travel Writing; Defending the Seas; Coral Reefs

Download: Cloudburst School Resource Pack - exercises for four lessons focusing on Literacy; Geography; PSHE; RSHE; Drama; and Design, Art and Technology


About Cloudburst: The youngest member of the Courtney family, fourteen-year-old Jack, has lived in the UK his whole life but this summer his parents are travelling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a conference, and they’ve promised to take Jack and his friends with them. When his parents go missing, abducted by mercenaries, nobody seems to have any answers. Jack is sure that it’s got something to do with the nearby tantalum mines, but he needs to prove it. Along with Amelia and Xander, Jack must keep his wits about him to save his parents – and his own life too.

About Thunderbolt: Jack and his friends are back and in Zanzibar diving for lost treasure to support Jack's mother's coral protection project. When they are lured into a trap and captured by Somali pirates, Jack is determined that his mother shouldn't pay a ransom for their release, so he won't give up his attempts to escape. Transferred to a militia training camp for boy soldiers, the trio's only hope is the resourceful Mo, a Somali boy who befriends them. Can they outwit the ruthless General Sir and his merciless troops?


We invited young readers and writers to ask Chris Wakling all about Cloudburst and his top writing tips.

Watch Part I:

Watch Part II:

About Chris Wakling:

Once upon a time, Chris Wakling drove tractors, painted ceilings and argued with lawyers for a living, but he always preferred stories, and since 2001 he’s mostly been writing them. He’s written six novels for adults. He also writes about travel and teaches writing, and when he’s not doing that, or wrestling with his children, he reads or rides his bike. See more about Chris on his website.


Wilbur Smith will be donating 20% of profits received from sales of each copy to The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation, supporting our work to improve literacy through adventure writing.