Robert Rankin – Lord of the Ring Roads

Actual hardback

Actual hardback

No, this isn’t a revival of the paused Great Robert Rankin Re-read-athon, which I’ll get back to any year now. No, this is an actual shiny[1] new book from the great man. Not only is it a new Robert Rankin novel, in itself a matter for celebration, it’s the first in a new Brentford Trilogy, which is surely a matter for, err, oh bugger, I don’t know where I’m going with this sentence, so let’s just say that it’s a Very Good Thing indeed.

The only downside to perhaps dampen the celebration is that it’s billed as the first book in the final Brentford Trilogy. Let’s just hope that it ends up being one of those trilogies with more than the traditional number of volumes.

Oh, and there’s one more teeny tiny downside. The image you can see in this post is of the special hardback edition, limited to just 1,981[2] copies, each signed and numbered by the man himself[3], and (as you might have guessed), it’s sold out, so I’ve got it and you won’t be able to get it. Well, there will be a Kindle edition, but that won’t have the added value of having been signed, numbered, packed and posted by the author, will it?

But enough of that, and on with the book. Readers of earlier Brentford trilogies will no doubt be expecting Neville the part-time barman to be serving pints in the Swan, while dealing with the regulars and whatever mad scheme the brewery has come up with. Check. They’ll be expecting Norman Hartnell (not to be confused with the other Norman Hartnell, of course) to come up with some low-fi low-tech invention that does seemingly impossible things. Check. They’ll be expecting the great Professor Slocombe to be dispensing sherry and wisdom. Well, of course. They’ll be expecting the accidental heroes Jim Pooley and John Omally to (a) drink a lot and (b) fight ancient forces of evil hell-bent on doing something awful to disrupt life in Brentford. You betcha.

So, yes, it’s exactly what you should be hoping for, does what it says on the metaphorical tin, contains jokes[4], silliness, and all the usual sanity-sapping Rankin nonsense. It also has illustrations, drawn by the author, and you can’t ask for more than that, can you?

And it ends on something of a cliffhanger, so you’ll just have to get the next one as soon as it’s available, won’t you?

[1] Quite literally
[2] Commemorating the detail that The Antipope was first published in 1981
[3] I was a bit slow off the mark in placing my order, so mine’s number 184
[4] Many of them lurking in footnotes

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