Man Overboard

Tim Binding

04 July 2013
256 pages


Lionel 'Buster' Crabb became renowned during the Second World War for his amazing feats of underwater daring. After the war he was celebrated for embodying a particular English ideal – a love for King and Country – that seemed to be dying out. Then, in 1956, during a visit to Britain by Nikita Khrushchev, who had arrived by ship, Commander Crabb disappeared. Some thought he had perished while attempting to inspect the Soviet vessel; others that he had been kidnapped and forced to work for the USSR. Out of this mystery Tim Binding has spun a wondrous piece of fiction. It is the story of a man who has made deep personal sacrifices for the sake of higher ideals and who must, towards the end of his days, measure their meaning and their worth.

Praise for Man Overboard:

‘Such an arresting subject for a novel that one wonders why no one ever thought of it before . . . Binding fashions a convincing picture of a restless postwar world . . . a consistently entertaining and resourceful novel’ D J Taylor, Guardian

‘His triumph is to have created a marvellous, anachronistic hero in a novel which not only tries to explain a famous mystery, but takes a hard look at what Britain lost when the war was won’ Daily Mail

‘The dialogue is always a comic delight . . . Man Overboard is one half James Bond story (except more soulful), and one half Ealing Comedy. As such, it is pretty irresistible’ Daily Express

‘Tim Binding has written a historical novel which with a very light touch dramatizes the faint but inescapable foreignness of the past without turning it into a costume drama; its poignancy is the product of conviction. Binding wields a range of linguistic fire-power often missing from contemporary fiction, as much at ease with the visionary set piece as with bar-room banter . . . [Man Overboard] is a remarkable feat of compression, representing a significant artistic advance’ Sean O’Brien, TLS