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September 30 , 2010

The Laughter of Carthage

The Second Volume of the Colonel Pyat Quartet


Maxim Arturovitch Pyatnitski, or Pyat, that charming but despicable mythomaniac who first appeared in Byzantium Endures, is back in this second book of the Pyat quartet. Having fled Bolshevik Russia in late 1919, Pyat's progress is a series of leaps from crisis to crisis, as he begins affairs with a baroness and a Greek prostitute while undertaking schemes to build flying machines in Europe and the United States. His devotion to flamboyantly racist, particularly anti-Semitic doctrines—like his devotion to cocaine—remains unabated, and he both sings the praises of Mussolini and lectures across America for the Ku Klux Klan. Meanwhile, his best-kept secret is the fact that he is Jewish. As the novel ends, Pyat is in Hollywood—his new Byzantium—hobnobbing with movie stars and dreaming of making films like those of his hero, D.W. Griffith. This authoritative edition brings this book back into print after 30 years and boasts a new introduction by Alan Wall.

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