A plane crash dumps Prohaska into Austrian high society and the circle around Archduke Ferdinand. Assignment to the Danube flotilla gets him involved in the Austrian-Serbian pig wars; he is then drawn into Serbian anarchist plots and Montenegrin tribal vendettas. Failing to avert Ferdinand's assassination, he is whisked off to the Far East, where he takes part in the siege of Tsingtao and faces typhoons and piracy. He returns on a liner carrying pilgrims to Mecca, which leads him into adventures ashore in Turkish Arabia.
This is too fast-paced for much reflection by Prohaska, while the other characters come and go so rapidly they are just glimpses. The plot never settles down for long in one place, but the historical details and settings are nicely worked into the stories; many of them were also new to me.
Biggins' gentle, wry humour is the same, but The Emperor's Coloured Coat is more light-hearted than the other Prohaska novels; it draws something from the "Boy's Own Adventures" of the period it is set in.