A Sailor of Austria

John Biggins, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (369p) ISBN 978-0-312-10534-1
The Austro-Hungarian submarine service during WW I is the unusual setting for first-time author Biggins's exciting debut, a retro techno-adventure story that falls somewhere between Tom Clancy and Patrick O'Brian. In an extended flashback, centenarian Ottokar Prohaska, ending his life in a Welsh nursing home, recalls his participation in the earliest days of undersea war, commanding U-boats so primitive that every dive was an adventure. Biggins brilliantly reconstructs the turn-of-the-century Hapsburg Empire, where situations might be hopeless but never serious. Prohaska is a well-rounded, sympathetic character whose point of view perfectly reflects the navy's officer corps. He and his crew sink ships, kill men and endure depth charging. They carry a pretender to the Albanian throne and transport a camel from North Africa to Crete. Underlying the picaresque adventures of these pioneering submariners is the ever-present prospect of dying in a steel coffin, whether from enemy action, asphyxiation, engine failure or mud. Prohaska's war has no glory--only the satisfaction of duty in a cause they believed in. This is top-notch military fiction with a literary flair, must reading for fans of the genre. (May)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1994
Release date: 08/01/1994
Open Ebook - 379 pages - 978-1-59013-470-2
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-1-59013-107-7
Open Ebook - 376 pages - 978-1-59013-469-6
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