Upper-class scoundrel Basil Seal, mad, bad and dangerous to know, creates havoc wherever he goes, much to the despair of the three women in his life - his sister, mother and mistress. And when Neville Chamberlain declares war on Germany, it seems the perfect opportunity for more action and adventure. So Basil follows the call to arms and goes forth to have his finest hour - as a war hero. His instincts for self-preservation come to the fore in such spheres of opportunity as the Ministry of Information and a little-known section of Military Security. But, with Europe frozen in the 'phoney war', when will Basil's big chance to fight finally arrive?
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Evelyn Waugh was born in Hampstead in 1903, second son of Arthur Waugh, publisher and literary critic, and brother of Alec Waugh, the popular novelist. He was educated at Lancing and Hertford College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. In 1928 he published his first work, a life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his first novel, Decline and Fall, which was soon followed by Vile Bodies (1930), Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). Waugh travelled extensively and also wrote several travel books, as well as a biography of Edmund Campion and Ronald Knox. Other famous works include his Sword of Honour trilogy, and Brideshead Revisited (1945).
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