Brunel, of the British army, ""guards"" the moribund files (WWII) molding above the steam baths in Fulsbad, Germany. He and his cat get pleasantly drunk on their wine-soaked liver. Brunel's best friend is Otto, a gentle fool, once an S.S. postman, now a member of a neo-Nazi cowboy club. So this multi-toned book starts off in au odd and humorous fashion, with a hero, a Good. Soldier Schweik-schnook who is a forgotten man, even by his own army. He likes things that way. However by chanace he becomes the errand boy for a motley security guard to see that the reunification of Germany comes Off secretly and without a hitch. It is headed by an Amercan, Keenor, an egotist and sadist, and and for a time the book turns raucous--then sinister when Keenor tries to drown Brunel. The culmination of the book is swift and brutal, but its aftermath is empty and sad--a half-loving, half-bitter tale of postwar Germany which comes off very well and with considerable originality. Thomas wrote The Virgin Soldiers (1966), also a novel of mixed moods and implications.