• A Sailor of Austria

  • The Otto Prohaska Novels, Book 1
  • By: John Biggins
  • Narrated by: Nigel Patterson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)

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A Sailor of Austria  By  cover art

A Sailor of Austria

By: John Biggins
Narrated by: Nigel Patterson
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Publisher's summary

In which, without really intending to, Otto Prohaska becomes official war hero no. 27 of the Habsburg empire.

"A retro techno-adventure story that falls somewhere between Tom Clancy and Patrick O'Brian... top notch military fiction with a literary flair." (Publishers Weekly)

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. In some trepidation at first, because he has no experience whatever of submarines, his fears are soon set at rest when he discovers that nobody else has either: least of all his superiors. 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.

After surmounting all this to become - accidentally - Austria Hungary's leading U-boat commander and a holder of its highest military decoration, the closing months of 1918 see him and his crew returning aboard a damaged boat from the shores of Palestine, only to find that the homeland they have fought for so doggedly over the previous four years is now in the final stages of collapse, and that they themselves are effectively stateless persons; sailors without a navy returning to a country which no longer has a coastline.

"Fresh, vivid, and without peer in the current market." (Booklist)

"Stark realism and finely crafted humor.... Biggins's use of narration, his thorough knowledge of the Adriatic, and good technical detail make this... compelling reading." (Library Journal)

©1991 John Biggins (P)2017 McBooks Press, Inc.

What listeners say about A Sailor of Austria

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Phenomenal,

Loved the story! The details and research are amazing! Got all the books and the only thing I regret is that I am already done with them.

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Well narrated/good story

This is an entertaining book and the British narrator enhances the telling with the accent - giving it a European sound.

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CNO Reading List -- GREAT Choice

Quite different than what I had expected but well worth the investment of time. Naval history from a period and place rarely covered. A few choice leadership lessons along the way. Senior sailors should listen to this book. I am glad I didn't try to read it just based on the huge number of foreign terms.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Ripping good tale - with a production caveat

Who knew? More about the WWI Austrian/Hungarian military and navy than (I surmise) most non-scholars ever suspected. Protagonist enormously engaging: Prohaska is presented as a reasonable, compassionate man of his time coping as best as possible amidst the horrors of nascent submarine warfare waged by an imminently moribund empire and its relentlessly partisan, hide-bound bureaucrats. Caveat? I suspect the parts for download are labelled incorrectly: listen to Part 2 first. I didn't, but enjoyed the story immensely, regardless. Also, another marvelous read by voice actor Nigel Patterson: his smooth delivery of characters' paragraph-length names and titles was a hoot in itself. Again, do Part 2 first, and you'll look forward to additional installments even more than I am.

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Fun and informative

A very enjoyable book with a bit of fun history that we very rarely exposed too.

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Excellent!

Easy read, right balance of humor and heartbreak. Good read, over, over and over.

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Terrific historical novel

There is nothing bad about this book. Do not be put off by the subject matter (I know, who writes novels about Austrian U-boats in World War I?) It is very well written. It’s historically accurate. I love military history and I learned a lot about an often over-looked theater of WW I. The story, as told by the main character, Otto Prohaska, is detailed, varied, deeply engaging and never ceases to be *entertaining*. What makes listening to this book most enjoyable is the narration by Nigel Patterson. The text requires the narrator to read conversation, phrases, and titles in Austrian, German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, and Turkish not to mention English in all of those accents. Mr. Patterson is a master of them all. Apparently, this is the first book in a series by Mr. Biggins. I can’t wait to start the next one!