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The Sound of his Horn, by Sarban

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Apart from the slight pain in my hands I have rarely felt so well and tranquil and at ease in my body as I did that morning when I first began to speculate about where I was. It was not by any means my first day of consciousness. I knew that I had been in that bright and airy room, with its scent of flowers mingling with the fainter odour of drugs and disinfectant and floor-polish, for quite a number of days. The white painted door and window-frame, the pretty curtain and the white wood furniture were all familiar to me, and I knew the faces of my two nurses quite well; they had been looking after me for a long time. It was just that that day I completed a gradual transition from passive perception to active observation.
The only thing I knew of this novel before reading it was that it has a “Hitler Wins” scenario. I hadn't realised that the framing narrative is set shortly after WW2 in our timeline, but the protagonist recounts a story of breaking out of a PoW camp in Germany and getting somehow zapped forward to a different mid-21st century where the Allies were defeated. It's a very short book, and the key point is that the future Nazis have bred genetically modified young men to hunt women through the woods for sport. This is, needless to say, a really icky set-up, and I think the best point of the novel is that it doesn't especially dwell voyeuristically on the ickiness, but on the practicalities of getting the hero and his young female ally out of immediate danger. (Defeating the system isn't an option.) Even so, there are a number of loose ends, and I can't agree with those who rate it among the greats. However, I'm glad to have read it. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2013. Next on that list is Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney, by Dennis O'Driscoll.

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