Cornelius Murphy is a big-haired seventeen-year-old tall school leaver, devoted avoider of regular employment and Stuff of Epics.
And together with his diminutive companion and bestest friend Tuppe (the stuff of epics to a slightly lesser degree) they set out in a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado to travel the length of the British Isles in search of the missing chapters from a great and wonderful tome: The Book of Ultimate Truths. Penned by self-styled Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived, Hugo Rune.
Although few people remember Rune today, in his time he was lionised by society for his many achievements. He spoke seventeen languages, played darts with the Dalai Lama and shared his sleeping bag (on separate occasions) with Albert Einstein, Lawrence of Arabia, George Formby and Marilyn Monroe. He was worshipped as a god by an East Acton cargo cult and once scaled Everest in a smoking jacket and a pair of plus-fours to win a bet with Oscar Wilde.
He travelled to Venus in the company of George Adamski, reinvented the ocarina and was yearly burned in effigy by the Chiswick Townswomens' Guild. He was an expert swordsman, a world traveller, a poet, a painter, a guru unto gurus and a passionate hater of Bud Abbot. He won a first at Oxford, squandered three fortunes, made love to a thousand women, imbibed strange drugs and almost pipped Einstein for the Nobel Prize. He was barred from every Chinese noodle parlour in West London and died penniless in a Hastings boarding house in his ninetieth year.
He penned nearly eight million words, wrote the songs that made the whole world sing and knew all the answers to all the big questions. And he was, as his acolyte Aleister Crowley once said, One Hell of a Holy Guru!
His greatest work The Book of Ultimate Truths explains in terms understandable to the layman just what life is all about. Why there are always two small screws left over when you reassemble that broken toaster. Where all the yellow-handled screwdrivers go to.
The truth about the A-Z street directory and the Forbidden Zones that lie hidden all around us. The spontaneous generation of crowds. Where the flat hedgehogs upon country roads really come from. The real deal about Time, the Creation of the Universe and pretty much everything really.
Throughout his long life he was constantly under attack from the Forces of Darkness that sought to stop him revealing these Ultimate Truths. And now Cornelius and Tuppe must battle these same Dark Forces if they are to seek out and publish the missing chapters of Rune.
The going won't be easy, as they encounter demonic Scotsmen, mad monks and cake-obsessed evil fairies, but it will be a lot of fun and The Book of Ultimate Truths must be republished. The survival of Mankind depends upon it.
The Book of Ultimate Truths is the first instalment of a three part Epic Adventure to out-Epic- that have gone before.
The further adventures of Cornelius, Tuppe and Hugo Rune can be found in Raiders Of the Lost Car Park and The Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived.
©1993 Robert Rankin (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"Stark raving genius... alarming and deformed brilliance" (Observer|)
"He becomes funnier the more you read him." (Independent)
"Everybody should read at least one Robert Rankin in their life." (Daily Express)
"One of the rare guys who can always make me laugh." (Terry Pratchett)
"To the top-selling ranks of humorists such as Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, let us welcome Mr. Rankin." (Tom Hutchinson, The Times)
a very entertaining book, only made better by having the author read it himself. no quibbling pronunciation or accents when you can hear the whole story exactly the way the author intended. definitely recommend.
I tried really hard to like this book, and gave a few hours listening to it, but it just didn't entertain me at all so I had to give up. It came up as a recommendation after reading "The Portable Door" series. These books couldn't be more different in writing style. Tom Holt writes with a fluidity and ease, whereas Robert Rankin seems utterly desperate in his efforts to be quirky and to make you laugh, and the result is a narrative and characters that seem utterly forced and unreal. Great fantasy writing should convince you that the unusual world created is entirely possible, yet Rankin's world seems entirely impossible all the way down to the character naming. I will not be attempting another of his books.
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