In ​this robust sequel to A Sailor of Austria, young Lieutenant Otto Prohaska of the Austro-Hungarian navy continues to narrate his adventures during the early years of this century, as he careens across Eastern Europe and parts of Asia, buffeted by lovely ladies, tyrannical lords and world events. Prohaska volunteers for flight training only to be shot down over a royal picnic, allowing him to spend time with both the Kaiser and Archduke Ferdinand, the latter of whom will shortly be assassinated, plunging Europe into WWI. When a lusty lady intrigues him, he finds himself in danger of execution. Up one mountain and down the next, by air, land and sea, the doughty lad wends his way, enduring shipwreck, pirates, battle and a Turkish dungeon. Skillfully mixing derring-do with tragedy as well as stringent wit, Biggins offers a vivid catalogue of world history 1909-1918. Sometimes there is so much history, in fact, that Prohaska seems more like a teaching aid than a living character, but overall this is engaging fare-reminiscent of George M. Fraser’s Flashman series, but darker-that is likely to increase Biggins’s following.

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