By John Biggins

During this ironic, hilarious, and poignant tale, Otto Prohaska is a submarine captain serving the almost-landlocked Austro-Hungarian Empire. He faces a number of not likely conditions, from petrol poisoning to exploding bathrooms to trigger-happy Turks. All indicators element to the complete cave in of the bloated empire he serves, yet Otto refuses to desert the Habsburgs of their hour of want.

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Extra info for A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire (The Otto Prohaska Novels)

Sample text

Matters finally came to a head one morning during diving trials in the Fasana Channel. Our long labours seemed to be paying dividends at last. The boat had behaved impeccably all morning and we were now submerged at about ten metres just south of Fort Barbariga, cruising at three knots in the deepest part of the channel. Well, I thought to myself, this vessel is rated as safe to fortyfive metres’ depth, so let’s go down to forty metres to see whether the hull leaks at all. I looked over at Steinhüber, controlling the diving-rudder wheel behind the main depth gauge.

But if I was right all along I shall expect you in future to show as much faith in this vessel as I have shown myself. Now, first I shall demonstrate that there is no trickery involved.

The process of working up the newly commissioned U8 had proved to be far more troublesome than expected. In fact it had already lasted four months and disposed of two captains by the time that I arrived. There was never any shortage of things to go wrong aboard a submarine in those days when underwater craft were still mysterious, half-experimental things, and certainly not with a cobbled-together dockyard reject like ours. Valves leaked, the hull leaked, battery cells leaked, pipes blocked, fuel filters clogged, crankshafts broke and carburettor jets blocked.

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