Courtneys of Africa family tree

This depicts the relationships between the principal characters in the early Courtney novels.

Sir Charles Courtney

Knighted by Queen Elizabeth I after the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Sir Francis Courtney

Grandson of Charles Courtney. He is a Nautonnier Knight of the Temple of the Order of St George and the Holy Grail and owner of High Weald, his estate in Devon, England. In 'Birds of Prey', he is sailing in the Lady Edwina, on a commission signed by Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon in the name of King Charles II to hunt down the ships of the Dutch fleet currently at war with England. He is a deeply religious man and a patriot who loves his King.

Lady Edwina

Former wife of Sir Francis Courtney. The caravel that Sir Francis Courtney sails to Africa is named after her. She is the mother of Sir Henry Courtney.

Thomas Courtney

Younger brother of Sir Francis Courtney and son of Sir Charles Courtney.

Sir Henry Courtney

Son and heir of Sir Francis Courtney. At the beginning of 'Birds of Prey', Hal is seventeen and on his father’s ship. He is in training for his destiny as a knight and studies the history of the knights. His nickname is Gundwane, meaning 'Bush Rat', which was an affectionate name given to him by Aboli, his father's slave. In 'Monsoon', Hal is now the wealthy landowner of High Weald and governor of the English East India Company.


Of a warrior tribe, originally taken from his East African home as a slave and subsequently granted freedom by Sir Francis Courtney. A lifelong friend of Hal Courtney. He is of noble blood, with ritual tattoos on his face. His homeland is believed to be the site of the mysterious Great Zimbabwe ruins in modern Zimbabwe. He trains Hal in the ways of the African bush, in how to hunt and trap wild animals, and to speak the language of the forest.

General Judith Nazet

Warrior leader of the Christians in Ethiopia. Mother of William Courtney.

Margaret Courtney

Mother of the twins Thomas and Guy Courtney.

Elizabeth Courtney

Mother of Dorian Courtney.

William Courtney

The eldest of Hal Courtney’s sons. William is known as 'Black Billy' to his three younger brothers, partly because of his dark 'wolfish' complexion and partly because he always dresses in black. At the beginning of 'Monsoon', he is twenty-four, clever, ruthless and handsome but hated and feared by his brothers. After his marriage to Alice Grenville, William is left in charge of High Weald while his father and brothers sail away to hunt pirates. He and Alice have a son, Francis, Hal’s first grandson and heir to the estate.

Francis Courtney

Son of William and Alice Courtney and Hal’s first grandson and heir to the estate.

Alice Courtney

William’s wife, formerly Alice Grenville, daughter of the Earl of Exeter. She is a beautiful woman but life with William has left her with an air of melancholy.

Thomas Courtney

Twin son of Sir Hal Courtney – the older of the two by a few hours. In the younger generation of Courtneys, he is the one who most resembles his father in both spirit and flesh. He has the eye and hand of a warrior but is no scholar. His African name bestowed on him by Aboli is 'Klebe', which means Hawk.

Sarah Beatty

Younger sister of Caroline Beatty, she travels with the Courtneys as far as the Cape then on to India with her parents. She returns to live with Caroline in Zanzibar where she meets Tom Courtney when he visits the island.

Guy Courtney

Tom’s younger twin. He is gentler, more reticent and tends to lag behind when there is danger. He is called 'Mbili' by Aboli, meaning 'Number Two'. When he goes to sea with his father, his twin and his younger half brother Dorian, he stays on deck while the others climb the rigging and dance on the yards. He is musical and gives recitals to the assembled officers on board. Guy decides that he doesn’t like life at sea and gets a job as an apprentice writer with Mr Beatty in the Company in Bombay.

Caroline Beatty

The oldest of the Beatty girls, she accompanies the Courtneys on the 'Seraph' to Bombay and eventually settles in Zanzibar.

Dorian Courtney

The youngest Courtney boy. He is called 'Bomvu' or 'Red', by Aboli because of his hair. He also has the Courtney green eyes and is determined to keep up with his older twin brothers, Tom and Guy. At the beginning of 'Monsoon' he is eleven years old. He is only allowed to accompany his father and brothers to sea when Tom pleads his case with his father.


Daughter of one of the junior wives of Prince al-Malik. She lives on Lamu with her pet monkey Jinni.

Christopher Courtney

Son of Thomas Courtney and Caroline Beatty.

This depicts the relationships between the principal characters in the early Courtney novels.