In early 1912, the hapless Lieutenant Otto Prohaska finds himself stuck as a gunnery officer aboard a battleship mostly moored in harbor. He answers a War Ministry advertisement for training as a naval air pilot, but he soon finds himself appointed aide-de-camp for aviation to the appalling, boorish, near-insane Austro-Hungarian heir-apparent: the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
Having taken an ill-considered break from duties to engage in a mad fling with a Polish actress, he makes a desperate attempt to elude his lover’s husband, and soon 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! (More info)
In the spring of 1915, a young Austro-Czech naval lieutenant Ottokar Prohaska finds himself posted to the minuscule Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Submarine Service in the Adriatic port of Pola.
There follow three and a half years of desperate World War One adventures fighting for the House of Habsburg aboard primitive, ill-equipped vessels, contending not just with exploding lavatories and the transport of Libyan racing camels but with a crew drawn from a dozen different nationalities-and a decaying imperial bureaucracy which often seems to be even more of an enemy than the British, the French, the Italians and the sea itself. (More info)