Weldon, Fay. The Shrapnel Academy 1987. Cornet Books, UK.

A work of fiction by the famous British novelist, this is truly the most brilliant satire I have ever read on war, militarism, social justice and human stupidity; written nearly twenty years ago, it is still as biting and relevant as when first published.

It is the story of a events on a snowy winter’s night at the Shrapnel Academy, named after Henry Shrapnel, inventor of the exploding cannonball. The occasion is the annual Wellington Lecture to be given by General Leo Makeshift. Guests, both honoured and otherwise, assemble for the Eve–of–Waterloo dinner after being assigned their rooms, each named after a battle or general – Napoleon, El Alemain, Genghis Khan. The snow storm continues and the dinner, expertly prepared with unusual ingredients and served with fine beverages, loosens tongues and morals while international and cultural conflicts rage beneath the stairs in the servants’ quarters. The whole evening comes to a satisfying climax and the folly and innocence of 331 people is resolved. Read it and find out!

Filed under Book Reviews, Fay Weldon