I really like Tom Sharpe. But after reading the South African novels and then jumping ahead to Blott on the Landscape (a classic), I was disappointed in this one. I have a difficult time with novels wherein the protagonist an unlikeable jerk. I had no empathy for him whatsoever. The book had a contrived setup for the main plot device (the hostage situation), which took up half the book. The foreign student was poorly developed and her mid-narrative personality shift was quite hard to swallow. The only saving grace in the book was Wilt's wife, who has a force of character that stole the show. She should have been the protagonist. For your own sake, read this only if you're a Sharpe fanatic.