Newly minted MBA Derek Vortimer wanted a management job in a big company. But following his job interview he is kidnapped and wakes up in Sultania. but before he can settle into his new job of modernising the country, one crisis after another intervenes. He is kidnapped again by semi-intelligent apes created by mad scientist Dr Grozny, escapes despite the well-meaning intervention of two friends whom he rescues, only to be plunged into further crises including two battles. He needs all his wits, his newly acquired skill as an MBA, and the advice of his mysterious patron Mr Codd, to overcome these problems, which include the often alarming attentions of three strong-willed women.
Had Derek Vortimer known what was to follow he would not have gone near the place. What he wanted was to be Chief Financial Officer of a profitable business. What he got was quite different, but certainly more exciting.
A Mr Edmund Codd rang the day after the award ceremony and congratulated him for having gained Honours in an MBA class. (Master of Business Administration.)
Mr Codd explained he needed a young and brilliant graduate and there was a job available. A position with high pay, and limitless possibilities and he would learn about it if he came to Mr Codd's office the following morning at 10 o'clock.
By a quarter to ten Derek was outside the address he had been given, and got his first surprise. The street he had come to was lined with gleaming, high rise office buildings. The footpath was crowded with prosperous looking people.. Expensive cars glided along the streets. Everything was bustling and businesslike.
Only one building did not match the rest, it was shabby, a mere four stories high, and at least a hundred years old, but the street number over the entrance was that given to him by Mr Codd.
He was disappointed but entered and found a notice board with a list of tenants. Mr Codd's office was on the third floor.
A creaking lift struggled up to the third floor and opposite Derek, when he stepped out, into a drab passageway were, two hands painted on the wall, each with a pointing finger. One indicated right, one left. Over the one pointing to the right was Mr Codd's name. A few steps further on was his door with the name Edmund Codd - Agent. painted on the frosted glass of the top half. Lower down, near the door knob, was a smaller sign. Enter without knocking . A strange rattling noise was heard through the door.
Derek entered and found the source of the noise. He faced a woman sitting at a large oak desk. And it was she who had been making the rattling noise by typing away on a black 'Remington' typewriter.
It was a museum piece, he had never seen such a thing before. The typiste may have been from a museum too. Her hair, streaked in grey, was done up in a bun at the back and held in place by two pins with turtle shell knobs. Her long-sleeved white blouse had lace cuffs and was fastened at the neck by a cameo brooch.
She looked up at him. 'Yes?'
Derek stammered, but said. 'Mr Codd, he asked me to call and see him.'
She opened a note book which lay on the desk and examined it. 'You are Mr Derek Vortimer, am I correct?'
Derek admitted to being that person!
He sat on an uncomfortable chair as directed, but was astonished when the lady stood up and went into another room. She had on an ankle length black cloth skirt which ended just above a pair of lace up black boots. He had been in many offices but had never seen a receptionist dressed like this. What sort of job was he being offered?
She returned and held the door open for him. 'Mr Codd will see you straight away.'
The man also sat behind an oak desk which was covered in documents tied into bundles with red tape. He rose as Derek entered and leaned over to shake his hand. His hair was snow white and carefully parted in the middle. Black suit, stiff white collar A large, ruby stickpin was the centrepiece of a black bow tie. He had blue eyes which beamed at Derek.
'Ah, Mr Vortimer,' 'What a pleasure to meet you at last. I have followed your progress through school and university with the greatest of interest. Your reports are all here, uniformly excellent.' He held up a manila folder containing papers. 'And now a crowning achievement for a twenty two year old, your degree, of which I have a copy. Well done! Well done!'
Derek was astonished. He had no idea that someone he had never met was taking such an interest in his affairs. Perhaps the man was a loony, and would be hard to get rid of.
'Have you been spying on me?'
Not spying my boy, not spying! Supervising, studying! Watching your splendid progress from afar. I have your school photographs here, all of them.' He held up the folder again. I have been watching you blossom into manhood.'
Derek was astonished to hear of such prying into his affairs. 'Why have you done all this, what's the point?'
'The point is we need people of your intelligence and capacity. I was present in the audience when you and all the other clever young students received their degrees, and when I saw you take yours from the chancellor there were tears in my eyes. I knew it was time to act.' He opened the folder to study one of the documents.
In spite of his amazement Derek took advantage of the moment to look round the office. He was astonished to see some leather bound volumes on a shelf. They were business directories dated from 1895 to 1930. In spite of what the proprietor had said he was rapidly losing hope of getting anything worthwhile out of this rackety old office. The man was a nutter!
'What job are you offering?' he asked, to distract Mr Codd from his papers.
'Excellent question!' cried Mr Codd. 'Excellent! The position I have in mind for you is the management of a small country.'
This was a let-down and Derek was irritated. 'A small country what? A pub? A general store? A stock and land agency?'
'No, no, Mr Vortimer, you mistake me! I speak of a country that is having difficulty making its way in the modern world. You would be in charge, you would be the manager'
'What country? What are you talking about?'
'The country's name is Sultania, and I am proud to be its agent in this city.'
'Sultania!!' Derek thought the conversation was becoming more bizarre by the minute. 'Thank you Mr Codd, but I feel I should look around a bit more before deciding on my career. and there will be other offers.' He thought it would be best to leave before the man started raving.