From School Library Journal
Adult/High School–A semi-retired rock-music critic in the midst of a midlife crisis, Dawes moved into a new home in the quiet suburbs of Brentford, England and discovered that one of his neighbors was Rat Scabies, drummer for the uber-important punk band The Damned. The two began to bond over afternoon tea and trips to the local pub, discussing everything from neighborhood gossip to music. As he got to know Scabies better, Dawes learned that the man was obsessed with a story of conspiracy and treasure that began in 19th-century France, in the town of Rennes-le-Château. The local priest suddenly transformed from a man of limited means into a multimillionaire. The general theory was that he had stumbled onto a fabulous treasure that may or may not have included the Holy Grail. Dawes didn't believe the tale at first, but with nothing better to do he dove into the odd books, videos, and Web sites trying to explain the source of the riches. The memoir turns into a combination travel narrative and buddy book, taking the men across Europe as they investigated different sites, uncovered clues, and attended bizarre conventions populated with occultists, psychics, and members of esoteric societies. But in the end, the book is really about a friendship, how it was built on a mutual obsession, and how the men finally moved on. Witty, funny, and often downright off-the-wall, this book contains just enough heart to make it a real reading pleasure.–Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale
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English music journalist Dawes, who has interviewed everyone from Nirvana and New Order to Guns n' Roses and NWA, also lived across the street from former Damned drummer Rat Scabies, considered the best punk-rocker this side of Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, who guarantees that this quirky account, salted with Monty Pythonesque antics, is not your typical travelogue. Because of Scabies, Dawes was drawn into a wild search for the Holy Grail, the mystery of which apparently centers around a remote French village in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Like all serious Grail hunters, Scabies compiled a list of things to do, including boning up on historical research and attending appropriate meetings. Lacking anything better to do and in the throes of a low-level midlife crisis, Dawes tagged along. Despite its rather off-putting title (which punk rockers of all stripes will unconditionally love), the resulting picturesque picaresque is rather sweet. Dawes has a droll humor and a winning style that make the book bounce along nicely. Very weird and goofy and quite irresistible. June Sawyers
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