Alan Querdilion, a young naval lieutenant, is captured by the Germans and wakes up in a hospital bed - more than 100 years later. The Germans have won the war, and the Third Reich stretches from the Urals to the Atlantic. Non Aryans are bred as slaves. Deprived of speech and intelligence by the surgeon's knife, they serve their masters with their bodies. Count Hans von Hackelnberg, master of the Reich's forests, rules his domain with the iron fist of a feudal lord. His passion is hunting. At night the sound of his horn echoes eerily through the moonlit forest as the pack closes in on its prey. A pack of half-naked cat-girls, their hands sheathed in iron claws and their bellies starved of fresh meat. And their quarry, as Alan discovers too late, is ... himself
We filled our pipes and I waited.
"I've not told this to anybody," he began. "Not to my mother, or Elizabeth. And before I tell it to you, I want to make the point that it is a tale: just a tale, you understand, that I'm telling you because I think it'll entertain you; I'm not asking you to listen so that you can tell me what my trouble is. I know that perfectly well myself, and there's nothing anybody can do about it It's just a question of waiting to see if it happens again. It hasn't recurred in three years; if I get through another year without it happening I shall take it that it won't happen again and I shall feel I can safely ask Elizabeth to marry me and all will be well. She can ride to hounds and I shan't quarrel with her over that--so long as she doesn't expect me to; and she won't."
* * *
'I am not mad, most noble Festus.' No. But I have been. Not just unbalanced, or queer, but beautifully barmy; certifiable beyond the shadow of a doubt. I'm all right again now.
A tensely-written tale that is a good companion to The Man in the High Castle. Should be better known.
A very tense and moody story of a WW II British naval officer, captured by the Germans, who escapes his prison camp, only to blunder into a mysterious fence made of rays. He wakes up a hundred years later, after the Germans have won the war. He is in a game preserve where the Count hunts inferior races, costumed as animals, as his prey.
Nice descriptions and good characterizations; an all-around good story until the ending.
Sarban was the pen name of John William Wall (1910 – 1989), a thirty-year veteran of the Great Britain diplomatic corp.
Sadly, Sarban did not write much, but what he wrote appears to be very much worth reading.
The Sound of His Horn is Sarban's best known work, an alternative-history tale taking place a century after Hitler has won World War 2. The protagonist, a WWII prisoner of the Nazi's finds himself thrust forward in time into an alternate reality where he finds himself on a German game farm where he is the prey and the predator is a ranking German official who uses biologically-altered humans to hunt him down.
Readers of Ringstones will find great similarities between the tales, but both books are worth reading even if the endings are quite abrupt.
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