A dizzy and highly enjoyable caper after the Holy Grail with music journalist Dawes and Rat Scabies, drummer for the seminal punk band Damned.
Dawes and Rat were London neighbors and at loose ends: neither had much going on the employment side, and both had developed an interest in the strange tale of Bérenger Saunière, priest of Rennes-le-Château in the late 19th century, who discovered some parchments in his church and, without even a trail to follow, became a wealthy man. It’s been conjectured that Saunière’s find had something to do with the Grail, and so Dawes and Rat embark on their own quest. Their quarry is as slippery as “oil-wrestling a squirmy octopus,” but it leads them on a host of squirrelly adventures involving people who traffic in extraterrestrials, ascended masters and indigo children. There’ll be historical guesswork; religious mythology; folklore; occult jiggery-pokery; geographic and geometric oddities, and weird sciences like paleography and cryptography. Dawes has enough stories up his sleeve to raise the hair on your neck, but he’s also a good historian, capable of giving a concise chronicle of the Cathars, walking you through the initiation ceremonies of the Knights Templars, or explaining why the Merovingians were known as the “sorcerer kings.” It all makes for a rich broth as Dawes and Rat go where King Arthur, Adolph Hitler and Monty Python failed before them. But failure hardly matters, for there are enough ghosts (Dawes gets to experience a couple of them at close range), from Renaissance painters to Nazi treasure hunters, to keep Grail enthusiasts happy.
“The Holy Grail is so precious, so important, so knee-bendingly sacred, that only those with a pure heart have the faintest hope of getting anywhere near it. Which probably ruled me out.” True, and that goes for Rat too. But it doesn’t mean they can’t try, and get a glittering horde of stories to tell.