Part 1 of Sword of Honour.
What fun - a bit like a cross between MASH, PG Wodehouse and Brideshead!
An upper class British Catholic divorcé leaves his home in Italy at the start of WW2 to try to join the army, and eventually succeeds.
The story is populated by quirky characters and strange coincidences, with glimpses of poignancy. Most of the characters are in a perpetual state of genial incomprehension and incompetence.
Waugh served in WW2 and if his experience was anything like what was described, it's amazing that we won. However, there are clearly some parallels, as the book is peppered with mentions of specific dates and events (helpfully explained in footnotes, in my edition).
Apthorpe's too literal "thunderbox", the old colonel that should have retired but no one quite wants to tell him he's not needed any more, bizarre and nonsensical bureaucracy, all beautifully written.
And best of all, there are two sequels - let's hope they're as good.