"Beautifully rendered in John Brownjohn's translation . . . a]
magnificent novel."--Giles Foden, author of "The Last King of
"A war-torn farce worth waiting for."--"The Independent"
November 1913 and three German shipbuilders, led by master
shipwright Anton Ruter, are ordered by Kaiser Wilhelm to dismantle
a steam ship, send the parts to German East Africa, and reassemble
it on Lake Tanganyika. But their aim of getting the job done and
returning home quickly is soon eclipsed by the enchantment of the
exotic lansdcape and the violent machinery of colonialism.
At the same time, Winston Churchill sends the eccentric
Commander Geoffrey Spicer-Simson to transport two dilapidated and
incongruously named gun-boats, Mimi and Toutou, to the other side
of the lake. When World War I breaks out the Germans and British
are facing each other, and the German shipbuilders reluctantly find
themselves fighting under the unsympathetic Captain-Lieutenant
Gustav von Zimmer. In the midst of the horrors of war, however,
there are moments of great humor and pathos.
Alex Capus was born in 1961 and published numerous works,
including novels, collections of short stories, essays, and
historical accounts, as well as translations of "A Confederacy of
Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole and three novels by the John
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