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Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail: Can a Punk Rock Legend Find What Monty Python Couldn't?

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Christopher Dawes lives in a quiet English village. His neighbor is Rat Scabies, former drummer with the Damned, best noted for setting his drums on fire while still playing them at a live concert. Life with Rat as a neighbor isn't run-of-the-mill, but things turn even stranger when Rat announces that he (and Christopher) are going on a search for the Holy Grail. The saga Christopher Dawes lives in a quiet English village. His neighbor is Rat Scabies, former drummer with the Damned, best noted for setting his drums on fire while still playing them at a live concert. Life with Rat as a neighbor isn't run-of-the-mill, but things turn even stranger when Rat announces that he (and Christopher) are going on a search for the Holy Grail. The saga begins in Rennes-le-Chateau in France, where in 1891 a local priest discovered a treasure whose mystery remains unsolved. Once Christopher and Rat have written a list of things to do ("Buy metal detectors!"), they need only unravel a tale involving the Cathars, the Knights Templar, the Man in the Iron Mask, and Louis XIV—and along the way, visit Paris, Rome, Glastonbury, and Tintagel—and perhaps join the Masons (Rat thinks they know something). The legend of the Holy Grail is far from unknown, but this is the first time the quest has been given the punk rock treatment. Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail is a psychedelic, Pythonesque road trip, a testimony to the sometimes odd nature of friendship, and a rich historical yarn.


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Christopher Dawes lives in a quiet English village. His neighbor is Rat Scabies, former drummer with the Damned, best noted for setting his drums on fire while still playing them at a live concert. Life with Rat as a neighbor isn't run-of-the-mill, but things turn even stranger when Rat announces that he (and Christopher) are going on a search for the Holy Grail. The saga Christopher Dawes lives in a quiet English village. His neighbor is Rat Scabies, former drummer with the Damned, best noted for setting his drums on fire while still playing them at a live concert. Life with Rat as a neighbor isn't run-of-the-mill, but things turn even stranger when Rat announces that he (and Christopher) are going on a search for the Holy Grail. The saga begins in Rennes-le-Chateau in France, where in 1891 a local priest discovered a treasure whose mystery remains unsolved. Once Christopher and Rat have written a list of things to do ("Buy metal detectors!"), they need only unravel a tale involving the Cathars, the Knights Templar, the Man in the Iron Mask, and Louis XIV—and along the way, visit Paris, Rome, Glastonbury, and Tintagel—and perhaps join the Masons (Rat thinks they know something). The legend of the Holy Grail is far from unknown, but this is the first time the quest has been given the punk rock treatment. Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail is a psychedelic, Pythonesque road trip, a testimony to the sometimes odd nature of friendship, and a rich historical yarn.

30 review for Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail: Can a Punk Rock Legend Find What Monty Python Couldn't?

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Like The Da Vinci Code, except true, and funny, and factually accurate, and sweet, and not shit. Nothing like The Da Vinci Code.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lea

    This kind of thing is right up my alley, so I knew going into it that I'd probably enjoy it. I didn't expect it to be so funny! Christopher Dawes gets drawn into the mystery of Berenger Sauniere and Rennes-le-Chateau (for those who aren't familiar with the story, there's supposed to be a treasure -- possibly even the HOLY GRAIL ITSELF! -- hidden somewhere in Renne-le-Chateau in France) by his neighbor, former drummer for The Damned, Rat Scabies. Scabies himself seems like either the greatest neig This kind of thing is right up my alley, so I knew going into it that I'd probably enjoy it. I didn't expect it to be so funny! Christopher Dawes gets drawn into the mystery of Berenger Sauniere and Rennes-le-Chateau (for those who aren't familiar with the story, there's supposed to be a treasure -- possibly even the HOLY GRAIL ITSELF! -- hidden somewhere in Renne-le-Chateau in France) by his neighbor, former drummer for The Damned, Rat Scabies. Scabies himself seems like either the greatest neighbor EVER . . . or possibly the neighbor from hell. Or possibly both, on alternating days. He invites himself over, refuses to take "no" for an answer, and generally stirs shit up, while Dawes just sits back and goes along for the ride. And what a ride it is. The pair wander about England, Scotland and France in their quest to solve the mystery, making friends, wreaking havoc, and drinking lots and lots of wine. And for not being professional researchers (well, okay, Dawes IS a writer, so I'm sure he knows a thing or two about research) or treasure hunters, they come up with some very interesting ideas and new information. Their conclusions are interesting, as well, and actually make a lot of sense. Another reviewer mentions that having some illustrations would have added to the book, overall. I agree completely. I would have liked to have seen pictures of the guys and the friends they made along the way, photos of the various sites they visited, and maps of the routes they took. It really would have added to the story. The only real quibble I have with the book was the ending. Something like this can never really be "finished", of course -- the mystery, not the solution, is the point. But there were so many questions that were raised and then left unanswered -- the author wrote at length about the crossroads he was at in his life, and how searching for his personal holy grail while outwardly seeking THE holy grail was a way for him to determine what he wanted out of life and where he was headed, but he never really reaches any conclusions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Oh my god, it was fabulous! Way more fun than The daVinci Code. And it had Rat Scabies in it. And the fact that Scabies was apparently using the cover of the Dan Brown book to roll joints just made it all that much more hilarious. This one made me happy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alytha

    I have a rather special book review for you today, Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail by Christopher Dawes. I read an article in the Fortean Times about this book about 5 years ago, and it has always been hanging around in the back of my mind until I finally looked it up and bought it a couple of weeks ago. How to describe this book...well, looking at the cover, you'd think a colourblind teenager on acid, with inexplicable access to photoediting software must have been involved, but fortunately it ge I have a rather special book review for you today, Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail by Christopher Dawes. I read an article in the Fortean Times about this book about 5 years ago, and it has always been hanging around in the back of my mind until I finally looked it up and bought it a couple of weeks ago. How to describe this book...well, looking at the cover, you'd think a colourblind teenager on acid, with inexplicable access to photoediting software must have been involved, but fortunately it gets much better than that. In short, this is the (mostly, probably) true story of how Rat Scabies, ex-drummer of the British cult punk band The Damned (sorry, never heard of them, so I'll just quote that), and unemployed music journalist Chris Dawes set out to find the Holy Grail. It starts with Scabies, who moved in opposite Dawes, getting the latter hooked on the Rennes-le-Château mystery, which he himself got hooked on through his historian/librarian parents. For those unfamiliar with this mystery, here's the very short version: In the early 20th century, a priest called Bérenger Saunière got a posting in the tiny village of Rennes-le-Château in the south of France. Allegedly, he found a treasure (possibly the, or linked to the Holy Grail) while redecorating his church, because he proceeded to redecorate it, stuff it with all kinds of religious and mystical imagery, build a villa (where he had wild parties with the stars of the time) and a tower, and help out the poor people in his parish. It is said that he found two ancient coded parchments in the altar pillar, which led the way to the treasure. The whole thing has been explained in a quite demystifyingly realistic way here. Rat and Chris start getting into all this as they're bored and don't have anything else to do. (Maybe a bit of midlife chrisis too). They get on the whole Rennes/Holy Grail/Cathars/Merovingians circuit with books, society meetings and videos, and finally Rat more or less drags Chris to Rennes with him. They start exploring the village, and the nearby landscape, meet the various "Rennies" who range from harmless nutters through interesting, highly intelligent people through New Agers through creepy people, and get dragged in more and more. Although at the beginning they're in just for fun and don't actually believe in any of it, at least Chris starts discovering a spiritual dimension. There are coincidences that can hardly be explained, ghosts, blue apples, weird stones with "charges", curious geometry in the landscape, and much more. In the end, Dawes becomes the driving force behind their expeditions. He concludes that, although the whole story has been believably debunked, it is far too complex not to have some hidden truth somewhere, and it leads him to some kind of epiphany, that he has to do something to get his life out of the standstill he has gotten into. I really loved this book. I'm an faithful reader of the Fortean Times, and very interested in all kinds of weird stuff, which I approach from an open, but sceptical angle, much like these two. I liked the slightly irreverent tone, which is a nice change to the over-the-top optimistic and flower-powery way books about this kind of mystery are often written. (In the course of the book, Rat quite literally smokes the cover of The Da Vinci Code. A fitting fate for this novel). It was also interesting to see how these two light-hearted, fun-seeking sceptics ran into things they couldn't really explain, and found something spiritual in it. Fortunately, the style stays the same, and doesn't go into the above-mentioned over-awed new-age thing. The text is loaded with pop/geek-culture references ranging from Monty Python to Groundhog day, which gives it a nice geeky feel. One small point of criticism: I would have really liked some photos in this book, especially as a friend of Rat and Scabies, who travels with them a lot, is a professional photographer. A lot of the places they visit are quite famous though, and pics can be found online, but it would have been a nice addition. So if you're interested in an exploration of a mystery that manages to be at the same time light-hearted and spiritual and serious, go grab this book! (Chris Dawes needs the money, too)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sheba

    Good buddy adventures are few and far between, so I really enjoyed reading Dawes's take on how he happened to become very good friends with his quirky-odd neighbor, the legendary Damned musician Rat Scabies, and what prompted them to set off on an adventure of a lifetime. Their preoccupation with the legend of buried treasure and how it ties into several religious mysteries was refreshingly creative. This isn't a "man conquers mountain/sea/hurricane" tale of heroism, but an intriguing, somewhat Good buddy adventures are few and far between, so I really enjoyed reading Dawes's take on how he happened to become very good friends with his quirky-odd neighbor, the legendary Damned musician Rat Scabies, and what prompted them to set off on an adventure of a lifetime. Their preoccupation with the legend of buried treasure and how it ties into several religious mysteries was refreshingly creative. This isn't a "man conquers mountain/sea/hurricane" tale of heroism, but an intriguing, somewhat dorky, investigation with a multi-century, multi-character narrative. Like Dawes, you'll find yourself considering the inanities of the details and will likely also be pulled in by Scabies's charm. It helps that the complexity of their adventure is presented by a self-described self-deprecating slacker who is just naive and open enough to keep the plot moving forward with humor.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Azran Ariff

    A believable story of two friends looking for the Holy Grail. Nutty and geeky with a little bit of punk. An ordinary Grail quest for ordinary people like us.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    Funny but not hilarious, and less wacko than the title and cover make think. Enjoyable nonetheless.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Richard Bartholomew

    In 1967 Éditions Julliard published a book called L'Or de Rennes, by a left-wing aristocrat named Gérard de Sède. The work was in part based on claims by a restaurateur named Noël Corbu, who alleged that François-Bérenger Saunière, a priest who had lived in his Languedoc village of Rennes-le-Château some decades previously, had profited from documents pertaining to ancient treasure hidden somewhere in the vicinity. This was not the first time a version of Corbu's story had been aired publicly, t In 1967 Éditions Julliard published a book called L'Or de Rennes, by a left-wing aristocrat named Gérard de Sède. The work was in part based on claims by a restaurateur named Noël Corbu, who alleged that François-Bérenger Saunière, a priest who had lived in his Languedoc village of Rennes-le-Château some decades previously, had profited from documents pertaining to ancient treasure hidden somewhere in the vicinity. This was not the first time a version of Corbu's story had been aired publicly, though, and de Sède’s telling also incorporated a hoax concocted by one Pierre Plantard concerning his supposed lineage going back to King Dagobert II and a secret society called the "Priory of Sion". A short time later, de Sède's opus came to the attention of Henry Lincoln, a British writer (credits include some stories for Troughton-era Doctor Who) who afterwards brought the supposed "mystery" of Rennes-le-Château to the attention of British television audiences via documentaries for the BBC. In the early 1980s Lincoln co-wrote The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, a notorious farrago that linked the story to further speculations about a secret bloodline of Jesus Christ (the book was denounced by the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham "as amateurish, ignorant and grotesque" – an assessment that Corgi decided to appropriate as a blurb for the paperback edition). Some aspects of Holy Blood were in turn later borrowed by Dan Brown, although a copyright case brought by Lincoln’s co-authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh (Lincoln was uninvolved) failed in the high court. Consequently, Rennes-le-Château is today a very familiar name to anyone who is interested in conspiracy theories and crypto-history. There is an entire industry of books, fanzines, lectures and specialist tourism focusing on the village, as well as a "Saunière Society". Long-time enthusiasts include a man named John Miller, whose son is a punk rock musician known to the British public as "Rat Scabies". In the early 2000s Scabies was living in Brentford opposite an underemployed music journalist named Christopher Dawes, and the two men decided to probe the story for themselves. The result is an amusing gonzo exploration of the whole Rennes "scene", with Dawes starting out as an ironic and detached observer but slowly being drawn into the milieu. Dawes and Scabies first visit Rennes-le-Château with a French friend, and a later return as part of a tour group led Henry Lincoln himself, described as having "the genial enthusiasm of an esoteric Michael Palin" – one odd detail is that due to some neurological condition, Henry is apparently obliged to forego footwear. Dawes describes visiting various caves and churches in area, and there’s an incident where they and Hugo Soskin (Henry's son - Lincoln is a pen-name) narrowly avoid being arrested for trespassing while creeping around Saunière’s garden by night on a quest to have a smoke on the roof of a pseudo-medieval tour the priest had built. Various characters they meet include the singer-songwriter Alain Féral, who used to illustrate Rennes-le-Château fanzines and who moved to the village in the 1980s, and in Paris there is an encounter with the cult rare book dealer and guitarist Martin Stone (aka "Mad Dog"). Part of the Rennes myth involves the Knights Templar, and there is a significant spin-off to the "mystery" involving Scotland, which used to host a Templar headquarters in what is now the village of Temple. According to the story, persecuted Templars allegedly fled to Scotland and put themselves at the disposal of Robert the Bruce, and this background has inspired extravagant interpretations of the ornate and curious sculptures that adorn Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh. A nearby conference centre called Newbattle Abbey is a favoured destination for Saunière Society events and modern Templar cosplayers, and Dawes and Scabies witness a ceremony in which Henry Lincoln is made an honorary member of the Scottish Knights Templars, the first since Michael Bentine ten years previously. Scabies can’t resist whispering a Two Ronnies reference as four candles are lit. A more tenuous association is made at the end of the book, with a trip Syon House in west London – this manor house has no link to the Rennes-le-Château story, but Scabies thought the name was suggestive and Dawes appreciated the irony that a tourist spot a bus ride away from home might be important to their investigations. However, he confesses that "I wasn’t sure what we achieved by our visit" – an assessment that I think sums up the whole adventure.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fishface

    What a loopy story this was! The true tale of how Rat Scabies, punk rock drummer formerly with The Damned, moved in across the street from the author and unexpectedly took him on a real, live Grail quest. The author describes how Ratty's box of books on the subject led them from pillar to post looking for something that it turned out not a few, but hundreds of other people were looking for too. What we really find out about as the quest proceeds is a very strange subset of humanity -- and many o What a loopy story this was! The true tale of how Rat Scabies, punk rock drummer formerly with The Damned, moved in across the street from the author and unexpectedly took him on a real, live Grail quest. The author describes how Ratty's box of books on the subject led them from pillar to post looking for something that it turned out not a few, but hundreds of other people were looking for too. What we really find out about as the quest proceeds is a very strange subset of humanity -- and many of the more interesting corners of France. A really intriguing travel book full of odd characters and interesting places.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kay Smillie

    Forget about Dan Brown's best seller, this is the real search for the holy grail with vast quantities of red wine quaffed on the path. Trips to France and Scotland. Brief mentions of Brentford FC. One of those drinking bird things my late aunt also had. Neighbours, Rat Scabies and Christopher Dawes becoming close friends. Ghosts. Blue lights. Oh, and the search for the truth about the holy grail. Did they find it? Not telling but this is a wonderful tale. Ray Smillie

  11. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    I thought, after several books of unremittingly serious content, that I ought to read something funny and light. I even thought, based on the cover blurb, this would be an absurdist novel which might just fill the bill. Actually, it was better than that - although it also had some unexpected links to scholarly and otherwise grave works in which I'd been immersing myself... For a start, the conceit that the legendary drummer of the legendary punk band The Damned, Chris Millar, a.k.a. Rat Scabies, I thought, after several books of unremittingly serious content, that I ought to read something funny and light. I even thought, based on the cover blurb, this would be an absurdist novel which might just fill the bill. Actually, it was better than that - although it also had some unexpected links to scholarly and otherwise grave works in which I'd been immersing myself... For a start, the conceit that the legendary drummer of the legendary punk band The Damned, Chris Millar, a.k.a. Rat Scabies, should be a Holy Grail conspiracy specialist, à la The Da Vinci Code, seems pretty strange. However, told from the point of view of his friend and neighbour Christopher Dawes, it makes a degree of twisted - if thoroughly suburban - sense. Throughout the narrative of this book, Dawes and Scabies mount a number of expeditions to Rennes-le-Chateau in southern France, and various other places frequented by fellow Grail-enthusiasts, all of them folk about whose ability to function in their day-to-day lives one cannot help but ask unanswered, and maybe unanswerable, questions. The result is an amusing, and well-written,comedy of eccentric characters. It was slightly disturbing to find some of the rather mournful subjects I'd been reading about previously - the Albigensian "Crusade" and the massacre of the Knights Templar by Philippe le Bel of France for two - as the backdrop for some completely bonkers speculation, but Dawes's treatment is sufficiently deft to prevent the story from veering into either the portentous or the completely trivial. I am reminded that I've neglected my favourite novel of conspiracy, Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum" for far too long.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vin

    Rat Scabies is the drummer for British punk band, The Damned. And he happens to live in front of music journalist Christopher Dawes. He also happens to be a Grail hunter. This book is basically about the author and drummer running around France and visiting all the hot spots in the Mystery of Rennes le Chateau which consists of slightly more than just the town itself. The Rennes thing, and I won't get too into it, has something to do with the Knights Templar, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Pr Rat Scabies is the drummer for British punk band, The Damned. And he happens to live in front of music journalist Christopher Dawes. He also happens to be a Grail hunter. This book is basically about the author and drummer running around France and visiting all the hot spots in the Mystery of Rennes le Chateau which consists of slightly more than just the town itself. The Rennes thing, and I won't get too into it, has something to do with the Knights Templar, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, Priory of Scion, and a few other things from The Da Vinci Code that are set in France as opposed to Italy. In all fairness, the book is about the author's own growing interest in it. I'd be hard pressed to imagine saying no to hanging around the French country side drinking wine with a punk legend. It wouldn't matter to me that I don't really give a rat's ass about the whole Renne mystery. And that's the problem with the book, unless you're interested in it then it's really a hard to get through. I was on an airplane and had little choice in the matter. It was either that or US magazine. Some parts are funny, but they are very few and far between and really only amount to a paragraph or two. I did have my own religious experience while reading it. Apparently January 17 is important to Renne mystery enthusiasts for a number of reasons. I couldn't help but rememeber that January 17 is the date Jason Newsted left Metallica. Coincidence? probably. But perhaps it was synchronicity as one person the author ran across would probably suggest.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    I strangely LOVED this book, strangely because it is nothing I would ever really think about reading, and in fact only picked it up because it was about Rat Scabies, and I can never resist a book about a rockstar. While I never read the Da Vinci code, the movie didn't hold my interest and the only attention I've ever paid to secret societies was that episode of the Simpsons when Homer joins the Stonecutters. Somehow this book though drew me in right away. The author, Christopher Dawes (who used I strangely LOVED this book, strangely because it is nothing I would ever really think about reading, and in fact only picked it up because it was about Rat Scabies, and I can never resist a book about a rockstar. While I never read the Da Vinci code, the movie didn't hold my interest and the only attention I've ever paid to secret societies was that episode of the Simpsons when Homer joins the Stonecutters. Somehow this book though drew me in right away. The author, Christopher Dawes (who used to write for Melody Maker and interviewed loads of rockstars in the 90's) lives across the street from Rat Scabies, former drummer of The Damned. They become friends, and Scabies eventually fills him in on the mystery of Sauniere, a 19th century priest in the south of France who had a mysterious fortune, that was perhaps tied to two documents the priest discovered in the church. Scabies and Dawes become increasingly interested in the mystery, and take several trips to Rennes-le-Chateau and other locations of importance to the priest's story to do some investigating of their own. While the mystery and all the conspiracy theories and esoteric ideas that go along with it make up the bulk of this book, it is also a buddy story, complete with arguments, accidents, and loads of booze. A quick, light read, and definitely recommended for anyone looking for a good diversion.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    In which Christopher Dawes, a mild-mannered music journalist, somewhat improbably discovers that he's been living across the street from one of his boyhood idols, Rat Scabies (real name: Chris Millar), the former drummer for the seminal English punk band, The Damned. Even more improbably (this is nonfiction, believe it or not), it turns out that Scabies' father, an antiquarian bookseller by trade, is something of an amateur expert on Rennes-le-Chateau, being both a crony of Henry (HOLY BLOOD, HO In which Christopher Dawes, a mild-mannered music journalist, somewhat improbably discovers that he's been living across the street from one of his boyhood idols, Rat Scabies (real name: Chris Millar), the former drummer for the seminal English punk band, The Damned. Even more improbably (this is nonfiction, believe it or not), it turns out that Scabies' father, an antiquarian bookseller by trade, is something of an amateur expert on Rennes-le-Chateau, being both a crony of Henry (HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL) Lincoln and a past president of the UK branch of the Sauniere Society, an enthusiasm he's managed to pass on to his son. Consequently, Scabies decides, more or less on a whim, to rope Dawes into helping him look for the Holy Grail. His method, to the extent he can be said to have one, consists primarily of careering around southern France half-drunk and freaking out the locals, which, when one thinks about it, is probably not that far removed from the approach previously used by King Arthur. This book is not only hilariously entertaining but it proves once and for all that THE DA VINCI CODE isn't entirely useless, as Scabies discovers at one point when he runs out of rolling papers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    A fast, funny read. Adroitly combines history, theology, conspiracy theories, and music fandom and journalism into an interesting buddy adventure that is all true. But it's more than that. Dawes questions what he believes and why. It's a look at male friendships and our relationships with our heroes. It spoke to me as punk rock fan, history buff, Anglo and Francophile, and general geek. Dawes approached a very dry subject with wit and humor. It put the Dordogne on top of my travel bucket list. I A fast, funny read. Adroitly combines history, theology, conspiracy theories, and music fandom and journalism into an interesting buddy adventure that is all true. But it's more than that. Dawes questions what he believes and why. It's a look at male friendships and our relationships with our heroes. It spoke to me as punk rock fan, history buff, Anglo and Francophile, and general geek. Dawes approached a very dry subject with wit and humor. It put the Dordogne on top of my travel bucket list. It's a well written and researched book that is very enjoyable and entertaining...something at which that fictional novel (rhymes with VaDinci Mode), exploring the same topic, failed, IMHO. It might make my reading of Holy Blood, Holy Grail a slow, near-tedious slog through minutia in comparison.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    What did I learn from this book? That good ol' Ratty isn't the bastard that I thought he was. ;) Well, as a person, anyway. Maybe as a musician/businessman, he still is, but that's besides the point. Chris Dawes is a great writer. His style is quite personable; he knows how to spin a yarn, too. Rat, I'm sure, helped with that. Being a slight Grail nerd, I really got into the factoids that Dawes was discovering. You truly do get bit by the bug. Some of those bits weren't new to me, but it was like l What did I learn from this book? That good ol' Ratty isn't the bastard that I thought he was. ;) Well, as a person, anyway. Maybe as a musician/businessman, he still is, but that's besides the point. Chris Dawes is a great writer. His style is quite personable; he knows how to spin a yarn, too. Rat, I'm sure, helped with that. Being a slight Grail nerd, I really got into the factoids that Dawes was discovering. You truly do get bit by the bug. Some of those bits weren't new to me, but it was like listening to an old friend tell you how excited they were about something you'd tried to get them into. "I KNOW!! DOESN'T that ROCK!?!" is what kept going thru my mind. Like I was there, patting Chris and Ratty on the back, and all that. ;) Definitely a keeper for my shelf, I've also sent it along to other music nerdy-history geek friends, for laughs and trivia sharing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Spiros

    Christopher Dawes, a fitfully employed Rock journalist, moves to suburban Brentwood, Sussex. He discovers that his neighbor is Christopher Millar, better known as Rat Scabies, drummer for the Damned, one of England's seminal, Year Zero punk bands. Amongst Scabies' manifold peculiarites is an obsession with the mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau, a tiny village in the south of France which is central to the history of the Cathars, the Albigensian Crusade, and much in the way of Holy Grail speculation Christopher Dawes, a fitfully employed Rock journalist, moves to suburban Brentwood, Sussex. He discovers that his neighbor is Christopher Millar, better known as Rat Scabies, drummer for the Damned, one of England's seminal, Year Zero punk bands. Amongst Scabies' manifold peculiarites is an obsession with the mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau, a tiny village in the south of France which is central to the history of the Cathars, the Albigensian Crusade, and much in the way of Holy Grail speculation. Gradually, Dawes gets seduced by the Mysteries, and the two make journeys to Languedoc in Quest of the Grail. Fun stuff, redolent of "Withnail and I" and Kinky Friedman's Greenwich Village Irregulars novels.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    I loved this book but maybe that is because of my personal experience visiting the South of France, very near to Rennes-le-Chateau which is at the center of this punk rock mystery. As soon as my husband and I arrived there to visit a friend we were told emphatically to read this book as part of our homework as we would be visiting the mysterious church on the hillside town of Rennes-le-Chateau the following day. We stayed up nearly all night getting caught up in this story about Rat Scabies', fo I loved this book but maybe that is because of my personal experience visiting the South of France, very near to Rennes-le-Chateau which is at the center of this punk rock mystery. As soon as my husband and I arrived there to visit a friend we were told emphatically to read this book as part of our homework as we would be visiting the mysterious church on the hillside town of Rennes-le-Chateau the following day. We stayed up nearly all night getting caught up in this story about Rat Scabies', former drummer with the Damned, quest, no obsession, to solve the truth behind the priest who in the late 1800's discovered a treasure, rumored to be the Holy Grail. It is a saga that takes the reader from England to France, from the middle-ages, and back again. It is a fun, thrilling read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ade Couper

    Now this was great fun ; it's the tale of how 2 good mates (1 of whom is Rat Scabies , former drummer with The Damned) decide to try & solve the mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau , a small French village which some say holds the secret of the Holy Grail..... They look at a lot of the theories surrounding Rennes , together with trips to Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh , Paris & Lyon . However , what comes across is the story of 2 blokes (both occasionally herbally over-refreshed....)enjoying each other Now this was great fun ; it's the tale of how 2 good mates (1 of whom is Rat Scabies , former drummer with The Damned) decide to try & solve the mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau , a small French village which some say holds the secret of the Holy Grail..... They look at a lot of the theories surrounding Rennes , together with trips to Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh , Paris & Lyon . However , what comes across is the story of 2 blokes (both occasionally herbally over-refreshed....)enjoying each other's company through their mid-life crises....! This is both heart-warming & very funny . You're not going to find the Holy Grail using this as an instruction book , but you'll find yourself smiling. A lot. Definitely worthy of your attention.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    A fun book to read. If I could give it a 3.5 star review I would. I do feel that the book needed illustrations however. I know it's strange to rate a book down for such a thing but throughout the book Dawes mentions so many cool locations and so many historical figures that a photo section would really help you not only take it all in but keep track of of the lunacy as the drummer of the Damned leads you through "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" territory. Dawes also mentions that one of his fellow trave A fun book to read. If I could give it a 3.5 star review I would. I do feel that the book needed illustrations however. I know it's strange to rate a book down for such a thing but throughout the book Dawes mentions so many cool locations and so many historical figures that a photo section would really help you not only take it all in but keep track of of the lunacy as the drummer of the Damned leads you through "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" territory. Dawes also mentions that one of his fellow travelers was snapping photos throughout many of their journeys. I would have liked to have seen them. Still, RSATHG is a fun, fun and as entertaining a quest story as any. Give it a look.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    An enjoyable and fairly swiftly read book which merges the worlds of Punk Rock and conspiracy theory rather neatly and makes for a fun read. I am partialy aware of tales involving the 'priory of sion' and the Rennes Chateau mystery due to prior books such as 'The Templar revelations' and of course the Da Vinci code..some of the information within this book therefore I was aware of however Scabies and all do shed further theory onto the mystery. It's a book much more about friendship in truth thoug An enjoyable and fairly swiftly read book which merges the worlds of Punk Rock and conspiracy theory rather neatly and makes for a fun read. I am partialy aware of tales involving the 'priory of sion' and the Rennes Chateau mystery due to prior books such as 'The Templar revelations' and of course the Da Vinci code..some of the information within this book therefore I was aware of however Scabies and all do shed further theory onto the mystery. It's a book much more about friendship in truth though and the sort of unorthodox nature of many friendships and quests undertook.

  22. 4 out of 5

    James

    When my wife went into labor, I grabbed this off the nightstand and tossed it into the bag of stuff they told us to bring to the hospital. It turned out this was an amazing bit of foresight as I was to spend the next 30 hours or so propped in a very uncomfortable chair waiting for my daughter to be born. The story sucked me in and I literally consumed the book overnight. I finished the book just as my daughter was being born. I didn't put the book down, I just kept on reading and I will never he When my wife went into labor, I grabbed this off the nightstand and tossed it into the bag of stuff they told us to bring to the hospital. It turned out this was an amazing bit of foresight as I was to spend the next 30 hours or so propped in a very uncomfortable chair waiting for my daughter to be born. The story sucked me in and I literally consumed the book overnight. I finished the book just as my daughter was being born. I didn't put the book down, I just kept on reading and I will never hear the end of it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A buddy road trip flick (except for the fact that the main characters keep gallivanting back home every couple of sections), with The Crazy Friend Who Attracts All The Weirdos and the Normal Friend Who Just Goes Along For The Ride, mixed with a healthy dose of esoteroticism (we-ell, there has to be a word for folks who get off on this sort of thing, right?). A bit weak and rambling in places, it is nevertheless bolstered by a crew of colorful characters, weird happenings, and sheer silly. Frankl A buddy road trip flick (except for the fact that the main characters keep gallivanting back home every couple of sections), with The Crazy Friend Who Attracts All The Weirdos and the Normal Friend Who Just Goes Along For The Ride, mixed with a healthy dose of esoteroticism (we-ell, there has to be a word for folks who get off on this sort of thing, right?). A bit weak and rambling in places, it is nevertheless bolstered by a crew of colorful characters, weird happenings, and sheer silly. Frankly enjoyable.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Linda Wood

    This book just jumped out at me in the library about 3 yrs ago I read it and loved it then took it back. somehow last year I found myself in the little bookshop at Rennes le Chateau and there it was again so I bought it and just re read it. This book is funny ,interesting ,esoteric , magical and in short great fun. It is like the holy blood and the holy grail crossed with an idiot abroad and best of all it probably gives you more real information about the Rennes mystery than many of the more seri This book just jumped out at me in the library about 3 yrs ago I read it and loved it then took it back. somehow last year I found myself in the little bookshop at Rennes le Chateau and there it was again so I bought it and just re read it. This book is funny ,interesting ,esoteric , magical and in short great fun. It is like the holy blood and the holy grail crossed with an idiot abroad and best of all it probably gives you more real information about the Rennes mystery than many of the more serious and weighty tomes out there. give it ago really it will be your unexpected pleasure.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was not as funny as I had hoped, but it certainly had its moments. It was very informative, however you should be interested in the subject at hand or it may bore you to tears. Luckily I was, yet I was still left waiting for the story to the pick up pace thoughout a good portion of it. It is basically a good book, but not much more.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Val Wineyard

    Written by a music journalist about a rock legend, describing their trip to Rennes-le-Chäteau, it seems at first hilarious and then hidden depths emerged; the concept the the "red mini phenomenon" - terrific! The book says a lot, in its light-hearted way, about how and why we "believe" - and the book says a lot about male friendship, too.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steven Davis

    I got this book when Rat was in town producing my bands second album. Uncle Rat autographed and all. In all honesty, I'll give it another shot, 'cause upon the initial reading I didn't finish it. I haven't much interest in the scavenger and the places their searches took them. So, I will update my review in the near future.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Fluffy Bunny

    fun for a one-joke wonder perfect airplane fare luckily my memory is rotten so even though I read the Da Vinci Code I could not remember the details this book, unlike Dan Brown's made me go online and I'm going to look into book on Merovigians any recommendations?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve Switzer

    Hilarious account of rat scabies and I (the narrator) and their crazy quest to discover the lost treasure of rennes le chateau On the way the author finds himself if not actually king arthurs grail Not sure why but I couldn't put this down it was incredibly readbable Enjoyed it so much

  30. 4 out of 5

    kate

    LOVED this book. It's a perfect antidote to too much heavy Manly Hall and Holy Blood, Holy Grail type stuff, especially if you're also into early punk/the Damned/Rat Scabies anyway.

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