The Last Temptation

Chapter 1 Blue is one colour the Danube never manages. Slate grey, muddy brown, dirty rust, sweatstained khaki; all of these and most of the intermediate shades sabotage the dreams of any romantic who stands on her banks. Occasionally, where boats gather, she achieves a kind of oily radiance as the sun shimmers on a skin of spilled fuel, turning the river the iridescent hues of a pigeon's throat. On a dark night when clouds obscure the stars, she's as black as the Styx. But there, in central Europe at the turning of the new millennium, it cost rather more than.

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