In a hotel room in German East Africa, American farmer Walter Smith dreams of Theodore Roosevelt. As he sleeps, a railway passenger swats at flies, regretting her decision to return to the Dark Continent–and to her husband. On a faraway English riverbank, a jealous Felix Cobb watches his brother swim, and curses his sister-in-law-to-be. And in the background of the
world’s daily chatter: rumors of an Anglo-German conflict, the likes of which no one has ever seen.

In An Ice-Cream War, William Boyd brilliantly evokes the private dramas of a generation upswept by the winds of war. After his German neighbor burns his crops–with an apology and a smile–Walter Smith takes up arms on behalf of Great Britain. And when Felix’s brother marches off to defend British East Africa, he pursues, against his better judgment, a forbidden love affair. As the sons of the world match wits and weapons on a continent thousands of miles from home, desperation makes bedfellows of enemies and traitors of friends and family. By turns comic and quietly wise, An Ice-Cream War deftly renders lives capsized by violence, chance, and the irrepressible human capacity for love.

  1. Emulation – 1914: British and German colonists attempt to bring war madness to East Africa
  2. Choosing Sides – 1914: war in Europe means British and German colonists must choose sides in East Africa
  3. Struggles – British and Germans forces struggle for control in East Africa leaving colonists exposed
  4. Impact – Gabriel Cobb and Temple Smith begin personal searches in East Africa.
  5. Searching – Felix and Temple continue their personal searches in East Africa.