This was a most intriguing and frustrating book. I was fascinated by the way the development of communication paralleled Serge's strange life story but felt at times that he was as much a cypher as any of the signals and codes the book describes. Inspite of this, I enjoyed the book for the brilliance of its descriptions and its chilling even eerie view of life.
And in the background of these iterations, like a relic of an old order, the sun: intoxicated, spewing gas and sulphur, black with cordite smoke and tar. As the summer months draw on, it seems to sicken. Rising beneath him on early-morning flights, its light's infected by the ghostly pallor of the salient's mists, driven a nauseous hue by green and yellow flashes. It darkens, not lightens, as each day progresses and the puff-balls, vapour clouds and tracer-lines build up. Its transit through the air seems laboured, as though the whirring mechanism that dragged it along its tracks were damaged and worn out.