Robert Rankin – The Sprouts of Wrath

It’s time for another episode in my sanity-challenging Robert Rankin Re-read-athon in which our Brentford heroes once again come up against a seemingly unstoppable horror bent on world domination and destruction: the Olympic Games. Oh, wait. Sorry, that’s not strictly accurate. I may be letting my personal wossnames take over. Anyway, following a mysterious disaster which utterly destroys the newly built Olympic Stadium in Birmingham, everyone is surprised to find that the games will now take place in Brentford, following the traditional level of financial incentives[1]. Well, not exactly in Brentford, more over Brentford, courtesy of some highly advanced, not to mention unlikely technology.

But it wouldn’t be the fourth book in the Brentford Trilogy[2] if it was as simple as that, would it? Dark Forces are working behind the scenes, there’s an appearance of the famous[3] Brentford Griffin[4], a guest role for the notorious Hugo Rune, and the unconventional policeman Inspectre[5] Hovis is in the borough, which can only mean more trouble, mostly for the rest of the police force.

Worst of all, the brewery plan to sell of the Flying Swan and get rid of Neville the part-time barman!

Can Pooley and Omally save the world, and more importantly, the Swan? Will the games go ahead? Will Pooley finally win a bet and keep the money? All these questions might be answered.

This book was first published in 1988, and apparently didn’t sell very well at the time, but we republished by Corgi in 1993, when it must have done moderately well, as it was reprinted the same year.  In case you’re wondering, yes indeed, the title and that of its predecessor are indeed inspired by John Steinbeck, and yes, sprouts are a recurring theme, as we will soon see. Like the first three, it’s nicely silly and well worth a read.

[1] Though a more cynical person might suggest that in this instance the incentives flow in the opposite direction to the traditional method of getting  such events to be staged in a particular place. (Allegedly, etc)
[2] There’s no use complaining about the size of the trilogy now. It’ll only get bigger later…
[3] It’s on the internet, even!
[4] Absolutely not a hoax that Robert Rankin had any involvement in. Probably.
[5] He insists on the spelling