One morning last week, two hours before dawn, the boom of a gun broke the almost rural silence of Tirana, the small capital perched in the mountains of the tiny Kingdom of Albania. Boom followed boom until 101 had shaken the sleeping town. A son and heir had just been born to King Zog I and his Hungarian-American consort, Queen Geraldine. The man-child was named Skander after the great Albanian patriot who in the 15th Century stood off the Turks during some 30 years of hard fighting.

Less than 50 miles across the narrow...

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