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The Sound of His Horn

(Rædselskabinettet #8)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  313 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Alan Querdilion, a young naval lieutenant, is captured by the Germans and wakes up in a hospital bed - more than 100 years later. The Germans have won the war, and the Third Reich stretches from the Urals to the Atlantic. Non Aryans are bred as slaves. Deprived of speech and intelligence by the surgeon's knife, they serve their masters with their bodies. Count Hans von ...more
123 pages
Published 1969 by Sphere Books (first published 1952)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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mark monday
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror-classic
The sound of his horn rings through the night, freezing all who hear it with fear, safe in their beds for now - but for how long? The bestial hornblower chooses his human prey as he sees fit, and as is his right. The hornblower lives in a world quite distant from the World War II battlefields and far from our hero's safe home back in England; a world where the Nazis have won, and have held the world tight in their grip for a hundred years. Our hero has found himself in this world, inexplicably. ...more
Oct 19, 2012 added it
Recommends it for: The Autumnwatch Team
Well this was strange. Another of the books hoovered up as I walked from bookshop to bookshop in Hay a few weeks ago. I picked it up for three disconnected reasons. Firstly the name of the author which had a mystery about it, I always find those single name writers normally either brilliant, like Saki or Bram, or horrendously up their own bottoms like, well that would be telling.
Sarban seemed to buck the trend...he was just weird.

Second reason it was the sub-title 'If the Nazis had won the
Jim Smith
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is intensely atavistic, sylvan folk horror. After raving about Sarban's Ringstones, The Doll Maker, Calmahain and Number 14, I put this one off for a time because of the science-fiction 'alternate history' appellation in its reviews not appealing to me, but rest assured this is baroque Gothic horror and concerns deep-rooted primal human fears of being hunted in dark woods more than the pulpish science-fiction worldbuilding I expected.

Another eccentric masterpiece of the weird and macabre
Mike (the Paladin)
This book is a little odd...I mean it's not that you haven't seen anything like it. It's just that as it's put together it's a bit...unusual.

This is a short book and can be read in one sitting if you're will to read for a few hours. I'd sayn it's sort of like The Time Machine/The Island of Doctor Moreau meets The Most Dangerous Game. Our "hero" is a young man who was in a German prison camp during the war (WW2). He's home but, he's not the same. His mother has observed that, "the Germans didn't
Nicholas Whyte
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it

The only thing I knew of this novel before reading it was that it has a “Hitler Wins” scenario. I hadn't realised that the framing narrative is set shortly after WW2 in our timeline, but the protagonist recounts a story of breaking out of a PoW camp in Germany and getting somehow zapped forward to a different mid-21st century where the Allies were defeated. It's a very short book, and the key point is that the future Nazis have bred genetically modified
2.5 stars

This brief riff on the "what if the Nazis won?" theme features a strong first half but narrative interest fades as Sarban's particular sexual obsessions come into play.

Sarban is always at his most intriguing and effective when he's at his least explicit (as in the stunning 'Ringstones', where a long, deliberately vague set-up and quasi-idyllic middle leads to a genuinely disturbing close that gives me the shivers every time I think of it); when he openly indulges his worst instincts
Aurélien Thomas
The story of a British naval officer, WWII prisoner of war, finding himself hunted like a fox by hounds in a future where the Third Reich triumphed. What else to say?

The Nazis victorious makes for a nice background rewriting of history (eg WWII renamed 'War of German Rights', Adolf Hitler hailed as the 'Immortal Spirit of Germanism'...) but, the book being nearly all about a human hunt, don't expect too much food for thought here! Sure, it's very vivid and thrilling, and the brutality and sheer
This is one of those classics that I somehow missed until I won a copy. I’m very glad it came to my attention. It’s a very interesting mix of alternate history (what if the Nazis had won their war?), time travel, and a retelling of the Wild Hunt. The story starts off slow, with hints of ‘something not quite right’ as Alan Querdilion reacquaints himself with an old friend years after WWII has come to a close. The two find themselves drinking and smoking by a late night fire when Alan relates his ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily Madison
Just take "The Most Dangerous Game" but add Nazis and any element you can think of that will unsettle the mind.
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia, war, bleak

I am not mad. No. But I have been. Not just unbalanced, or queer, but beautifully barmy; certifiable beyond the shadow of a doubt. I'm all right again now. Really alright, I believe. Only, having slipped into the other gear very suddenly once, I know how easily and swiftly it can happen, and sometimes an unexpected thing frightens me for a moment - until I've made sure that I am still on this side of the wall, so to speak.

Hans von Hackelnberg belonged to an age when violence and cruelty were
Ralph Jones
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 20th-century
Ever wonder how the world would be like if Nazis won the World War II? The Sound of His Horn by Sarban is about exactly that. A Royal Navy lieutenant, Alan Querdillon, finds himself transported about a hundred years into the future, where Nazis took over. Even though the world is like that, the main story is about Querdillon trying to get back to his own timeline. In order to do that, he has to escape a psychopath who hunts bird-women as a hobby.
Graeme Shimmin
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it
In The Sound of His Horn a British naval officer, Alan Querdilion, is somehow transported a hundred years into the future to a world where the Nazis won World War Two. He is trapped in a game reserve with other humans and hunted by the Reich Master Forester as he tries to escape back to his own world.

The Sound of His Horn is set in a different world than our own, a world where somehow the Nazis are victorious, but is it really alternate history? There's no point of departure. In fact, there's no
Umberto Rossi
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Strange, very strange. Basically it's a sort of nightmare. Is this uchronia? Is it science-fiction? Actually it's a sort of weird mix of surrealism, fantasy, sf and uchronia. To quote the Monty Python, and now something completely different. Surely not a book that one can easily forget. I don't want to get into the details of the plot; I only want to point out that there is a streak of sadomasochism in this novelette, and that the future world imagined/dreamt/hallucinated by the protagonist (or ...more
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
A long-obscured but brilliant book, sadly long out of print. A brilliant and darkly disturbing piece--- a British officer POW in WW-2 finds himself in a world a couple of centuries after the Nazis win the war. And there on a great estate in what was once the Ukraine, the Reichs Master-Forester and his guests have gathered for a horseback hunt of Slavic Untermenschen...
Timothy Jarvis
Jul 03, 2015 rated it liked it
An extremely odd dystopian novel/psycho-sexual nightmare. It doesn't quite work, but like the best bizarre fiction it's hard to shake...
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-sf
The most dangerous game in the high castle.
Eric Steele
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
It was... okay. Honestly, I thought it would be more inventive. The science fiction is never explained (I didn't think it would be, but that's all right) and the idea of a future Nazi hunting slaves for sport is a provocative one. But other than that it was just okay. No big twists. The characters were here then gone. I would have preferred a bit more emotion, but we only got the surface thoughts of people. Nice idea though.
Richard Anderson
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well-imagined fantasy novel about a future fascist Germany- worth looking for.
A good quick read but definitely the weakest of Sarban's outings. Its a sort of jacked up Most Dangerous Game set in a sketchily defined alternate future. All you really need to know is that the Nazi's won and its about 2047.

It doesn't partake of much of Sarban's real skill for depicting subtle weirdness although the setting is certainly unique. It gets a trifle sentimental towards the end by introducing a hardly believable romance angle. It in no way tries to explain how the protagonist gets
Bill Chance
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very odd, short novel. It’s an interesting amalgam – told as a story-within-a-story… it has time-travel science-fiction aspects, alternate history, a possibly unreliable narrator (one of my favorite literary devices), themes akin to a reverse Island of Dr. Moreau, a bit of an unlikely love story, while at the heart it is a “Most Dangerous Game” tale on steroids.

What’s odd about the book is that it is told in a slightly archaic, literary style (I had to use the dictionary quite a bit as I read)
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a deeply strange, horrible little book. Not bad horrible, just "deranged Nazi overlords hunting Untermenschen for fun in an alternate universe/somebody's nightmare/who knows" horrible. There are cat ladies (not the kitty-pic-posting kind, but genetically enhanced killer cat ladies) and dog-boys, and all sorts of cruelties that are all the more fascinating considering Sarban published this in 1952. The atrocities in this story, though outlandish and bizarre, are hardly worse than the ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I accidentally got the audio book instead of paper and I'm pleased that I did. The narrator set the mood very well and conveyed many varied emotions. The main idea of what life could be like if Germany won the war was dark and foreboding.
Michael Flanagan
The Sound Of His Horn is a classic Alternative History that was written all the way back in 1969 way before I was born. I have always been a fan of the "What If ?" genre and this one was an intriguing read.

The book sees the Nazis winning the war and our protagonist imprisoned in a POW camp. He escapes the camp and without giving to much away ends up 100 years in the future. This is where the fun starts. If you think Goering has issues what to you see the new the Reichsminister of the Forest.

Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with all Sarban's books there is something quite undefineable in the stories. Although loosley classed as fantastic fiction they are also literary in quality and the stories tend to stay with you long after you have finished. One of the best qualities of all of Sarban's work is the that the stories are not rushed. One needs to take time with them and let them slowly envelop you. Found this author some years ago now through the wondeful Tartarus Press and am pleased that they are now avaialbe ...more
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: horror fans, alt-history fans
Recommended to D-day by: Top 100 Modern Fantasy list
I found this disappointing I think because I was expecting a straight up alternate history story. The Sound Of His Horn does take place in an alternate history some 100 years after the nazis have won WW2, but there is very little exploration by the author of how this came to be. Instead it is just used as a setting for the main plot of sadistic nazis hunting slaves for sport. It is a short book and a strange one. It is very hard to classify: part science fiction part fantasy and all horror. I ...more
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"What the hell?" it can be a good summary of this book, but not in negative.
I was looking for a horror that was not the usual authors that are put in front, in the library, I love them , but I want to expand horizons and I found this. Sure is creepy, so mysterious and maybe sci-fi...maybe because at the end it doesn't provide a real explanation, it may have been a hallucination, but the digital clock make me think is not. Is a good book, with nazi-human's hunter-mad people.
A Shaskan
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Some interesting ideas here, but it becomes clear early on that the story is mainly a vehicle for some gratuitous sexual scenes. The book's actually kind of unintentionally funny, once you accept these scenes as the book's raison d'etre; nevertheless, however amusing they might be, they don't make this a good book.
Peter Greenwell
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a disturbing and odd little surprise this was. You could classify it as an alternative reality work but I think it works best as a fantasy. Did Alan dream all this or did it really happen? Whatever the case, it's a psycho-sexually charged poignant work, markedly unpleasant in its own captivating manner.

My sole quibble is that it should've been longer.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very short novel, which can be described as a dystopian treatise against hunting for sport disguised as a work of fiction. Sarban is a capable writer who weaves a compelling tale about Lieutenant Alan Querdillion trapped in a a future where the Nazis won and where humans are hunted for sport. Shocking premise, and well worth the read.
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A pseudonym used by John William Wall.

Other books in the series

Rædselskabinettet (8 books)
  • Night of the Vampire
  • Along Came a Spider
  • Årets bedste gys!
  • Suffer a Witch to Die
  • Lesson for the Damned
  • Devil's Peak
  • Bloddynastiet