The Shrapnel Academy by Fay Weldon
(King Penguin)

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Synopsis

A weekend in the country erupts into a free-for-all of mutiny, sex, and murder
On the anniversary of the Eve of the Battle of Waterloo, an assortment of unusual dinner guests gather at a remote country house to pay homage to Henry Shrapnel, inventor of the exploding cannonball. But all is not peaceful at the Shrapnel Academy: The downstairs servants, a group of third-world refugees led by a South African butler, are plotting to overthrow their upstairs oppressors. When a blizzard hits the countryside and traps everyone indoors, the rebellion erupts into bloody warfare throughout the Academy, “a shrine to the ethos of military excellence.” With characters that include a domineering female sergeant, a war-mongering general, a brain-damaged spy, and an idiot-savant arms dealer, Fay Weldon gives us a country house novel replete with sexual atrocity and class warfare. No one will emerge unscathed in this stinging tale of modern-day barbarians, where the deadliest weapons are the ever-raging battles between the haves and the have-nots.
 

About Fay Weldon

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Fay Weldon was born in Worcester, England, where her father was a physician and her mother a writer. She was educated at the University of St. Andrews, from which she received her M.A. in 1954. Six years later, she married Ronald Weldon. Weldon worked as a propaganda writer for the British Foreign Office and then as an advertising copywriter for various firms in London before making writing a full-time career. Since the mid-1960's she has written novels, short stories, and radio and television plays. The central subject of all Weldon's writing is the experience of women, especially their relationships with men. According to Weldon, "Women must ask themselves: What is it that will give me fulfillment? That's the serious question I'm attempting to answer." Despite her concern with women, Weldon has been criticized by some feminist groups for apparently presenting fictional women with very limited options. Weldon's style is marked by a careful attention to detail, vivid images, a sharp wit, and a wry sense of humor. Although most of her male characters are disagreeable, they are not the true villains of her novels. Her villains are, in fact, the traditional roles that men and women play. Weldon looks at women in many different circumstances - at work, at home, at play, in politics, and especially in love - and shows not only how they are manipulated by men, but also how they allow themselves to be manipulated. Recently, Weldon's novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1983) has been made into a popular movie. It was formerly a successful television miniseries.
 
Published May 14, 2013 by Open Road Media. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance, War, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, History, Erotica. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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This time Weldon focuses her lethal spray of darkly comic assessments of the quirky-to-downright nasty in human relationships, on mankind's gloriously galumphing determination to eradicate itself.

Apr 01 1987 | Read Full Review of The Shrapnel Academy (King Pe...

Publishers Weekly

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Versatile Weldon, British author (The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and playwright, is in her element with this fiendish satire, inviting comparison with Swift's acid condemnation of homosupposedlysap

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Publishers Weekly

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Guests apostrophize epic battles, and mutiny is brewing in the servants' quarters at a party given at the Shrapnel Academy, which memorializes Henry Shrapnel, inventor of the exploding cannon ball. Th

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