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Another British-accented comedy-fantasy inspired by Wagner (Expecting Someone Taller, 1988, based on the Ring Cycle), here centering on the Flying Dutchman legend. Wagner, of course, got it all wrong: Julius Vanderdecker, a.k.a, the Flying Dutchman, accidentally drank an immortality elixir back in the 16th century, along with the entire crew of his ship--only to discover that he and his men smelled so awful that they were forced to return to sea. Since then, only for one month every seven years has the stench subsided enough for Vanderdecker to take shore leave. Now, however, thanks to an insurance policy that Vanderdecker took out before he became immortal, the stability of the entire global economic system depends on his continuing survival--so discovers accountant Jane Doland; luckily, Jane has a very poor sense of smell. Meanwhile, Professor Montalban, the elixir's inventor, has spent the last four centuries directing the planet's economic and scientific progress in a single-minded effort to find a cure for the stench--a cure that finally arrives in the form of an exploding nuclear reactor. The Flying Dutchman's problem is tedium, and it shows: mechanical plotting, predictable doings, and humor too obvious and trite to raise even a glimmer of a smile.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1992
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: St. Martin's