Sword of Honor: A Final Version of the Novels Men at Arms, Officers and Gentlemen, and Unconditional Surrendera
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This trilogy spanning World War II, based in part on Evelyn Waugh's own experiences as an army officer, is the author's surpassing achievement as a novelist.
Its central character is Guy Crouchback, head of an ancient but decayed Catholic family, who at first discovers new purpose in the challenge to defend Christian values against Nazi barbarism, but then gradually finds the complexities and cruelties of war overwhelming.
Though often somber, Sword of Honor is also a brilliant comedy, peopled by the fantastic figures so familiar from Waugh's early satires. The deepest pleasures these novels afford come from observing a great satiric writer employ his gifts with extraordinary subtlety, delicacy, and human feeling, for purposes that are ultimately anything but satiric.
Sword of Honor comprises the three acclaimed novels Men at Arms, Officers and Gentlemen, and Unconditional Surrender.
liaison officer at H.O.O. H.Q. God knows what he does. Anyway I’m taking him away somewhere else. There are a few odd bodies that have got attached to me. They came under H.O.O. You could liaise with them for a bit if you liked.” When Jumbo heard of it, he said: “Strictly speaking I suppose you aren’t ‘in transit’ anymore.” “I hope I am.” “Well, anyway, stay on here as long as you like. We’ll find a way of covering you in the returns. London District is never much trouble. All stockbrokers and
can’t expect much movement there till the spring. The Germans have taken over in force. Some of the wops seem to be on our side. Call themselves ‘partisani,’ pretty left wing by the sound of them. Nothing wrong with that of course. Ask Sir Ralph Brompton. We shall be putting in various small parties to keep G.H.Q. informed about what they’re up to and if possible arrange for drops of equipment in suitable areas. An intelligence officer and a signalman are the essentials of each group. You’ve done
scaffolds and platforms where the training exercises took place in front of the house. He faced, across half an acre of lawn, what the previous owners had called their “arboretum.” Ludovic thought of it merely as “the trees.” Some were deciduous and had now been stripped bare by the east wind that blew from the sea, leaving the holm oaks, yews and conifers in carefully contrived patterns, glaucous, golden, and of a green so deep as to be almost black at that sunless noon; they afforded no
fiercely that speech was impossible until they reached the shelter of the car. Then Captain Fremantle said: “I say, you know, you shouldn’t have spoken to that chap like that. It might get us into trouble.” “Not us. You perhaps. My identity, you must remember is a carefully guarded secret. Now for the black market.” The road-house offered shelter from the gale but none of the luxuries of Ruben’s. Indeed, it differed from neighboring hotels only in enjoying a larger share of the rations sold by
tell you where, so I shall. Place called Dakar. I’d never heard of it till they started sending me ‘Most Secret’ intelligence reports, mostly about ground-nuts. A French town in West Africa. Probably all boulevards and brothels if I know the French colonies. We’re in support. Worse really—we’re in support of the supporting brigade. They’re putting the Marines in before us, blast them. Anyway it’s all froggy business. They think they’ll get in without opposition. But it’ll help training. Sorry I