The Novels


Opening Lines:

"We, Seth, Emperor of Azania, Chief of the Chiefs of Sakuyu, Lord of Wanda and Tyrant of the Seas, Bachelor of the Arts of Oxford University, being in this the twenty-fourth year of our life, summoned by the wisdom of Almighty God and the unanimous voice of our people to the throne of our ancestors, do hereby proclaim..." Seth paused in his dictation and gazed out across the harbour where in the fresh breeze of early morning the last dhow was setting sail for the open sea. "Rats," he said; "stinking curs. They are all running away."

Where are we?

Matodi, capital city of Azania in East Africa.

In brief...

Oxford graduate Seth returns to Azania with progressive ideas he is keen to introduce to his turbulent, broadly resistant African empire. The political instability is viewed disinterestedly (and uninterestedly) by the inert British legation and with an eye on self-enrichment by the latest visitor to Azania, the opportunistic and charming man-about-Mayfair Basil Seal.

Extract from Black Mischief © Copyright 1932 by Evelyn Waugh