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In this ironic, hilarious, and poignant story, Otto Prohaska is a submarine captain serving the almost-landlocked Austro-Hungarian Empire. He faces a host of unlikely circumstances, from petrol poisoning to exploding lavatories to trigger-happy Turks. All signs point to the total collapse of the bloated empire he serves, but Otto refuses to abandon the Habsburgs in their hour of need.
It is the summer of 1916 and, as luck would have it, Otto is assigned to the nascent, unreliable, and utterly frightening Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Flying Service. Ottto's aerial chauffeur is the self-willed Sergeant-Pilot Toth, with whom he can only communicate in broken Latin--although when all else fails, screaming will suffice! On the ground the rickety Habsburg Empire begins to crumble before the onslaught of WWI, while in the air Otto confronts a series of misadventures and the winds of change.
This book follows the hapless Lieutenant Otto Prohaska in the waning years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and finds Otto taking an ill-considered break from duties to engage in a mad fling with a Polish actress. After a desperate attempt to elude his lover's husband, he finds himself mistaken by anarchists as one of their own. Otto soon masters their code names and secret handshakes, but when he also learns of their plans to assassinate the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, his duty is clear. He must alert his superiors--now, if only he can find someone who will believe him
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