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A mighty book by Robert Rankin, written just before he went shit and stopped caring. It contains within itself excerpts from another book with the same title, the magnum opus of one Hugo Rune.

Tracking the adventures of Cornelius Murphy -- the tall boy, and very much the stuff of epics -- and his diminutive friend, Tuppe -- also the stuff of epics, albeit to a lesser degree -- employed by the mysterious Arthur Kobold to seek out the manuscript for The Book Of Ultimate Truths.

The Book explains all the world's most unfathomable mysteries and exposes the most hidden conspiracies: why there's never a biro about when you need one, where the road-splattered remains of hedgehogs come from, and especially what to do with the two small screws left over from when you last fixed the toaster.

The Book Of Ultimate Truths is a delight to read, especially compared to its sequel, Raiders Of The Lost Car Park and pretty much everything Rankin's done subsequently. The plot has Cornelius and Tuppe racing about after an obscure series of clues and false leads, being variously pursued by and manipulated by their employers, who don't have their best interests at heart, and other occult agencies of despatch: the demonic Campbell for one, the Train Of Trismegistus for another.

It's got the occasional deus ex machina plot twist, but that doesn't matter: they're at least built up a bit, rather than tossed in willy-nilly as in his recent stuff. And it's funny. Helluva funny, in fact. The prose and plotting is involving and well-readable, even rivalling Rankin's own The Brentford Triangle. It's a bit dafter and more scatty than that book, but it keeps clear of the stream-of-consciousness babbling that makes up much of, say, Apocalypso or The Garden of Unearthly Delights.

And, of course, selected excerpts from Rune's meisterwork itself really do showcase the sort of inspired silliness Rankin does best.

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