If you can find the concept of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels as the Hekyll and Jekyll of the Socialist Movement at all amusing, then you might enjoy this decidedly quirky first novel. Otherwise there may only be a smile or two here for you--""A Socialist must talk or die""-- among the ruminations of Engels, who narrates this account of the closing days of their collaboration. The central committee has reduced Marx's stipend, forcing the comrades to journey to Dresden for more funds from Engels' father. (Hello to the New Left, too, in case you weren't on to where this trip was headed.) The occasion gives Marx the chance to soothe his carbuncles in the waters of Baden-Baden and provides the launching of a series of sorties known as picaresque. Here are the comrades being shelled at the Paris commune, negotiating with the French government in an epicurean balloon flight, at a Socialist convention in a Switzerland asylum, finally in India where Marx has fled in search of ""Being"" and meets his death. There is still another struggle for control of the funeral arrangements after which Engels retires from politics. Now he goes on business trips for his father. No one should take much offense. It's all as ephemeral as the comic activities it enumerates.