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Forbidden Line

Forbidden Line by Paul Stanbridge
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“A work of enormous scope and ambition from a writer who combines style, wit… and a rare sense of the ridiculousness of the human condition. Incomparable.” (Alex Pheby, Wellcome Book Prize-shortlisted author of Playthings)


Forbidden Line, the debut novel by Paul Stanbridge, is a monster. A unique retelling of Don Quixote and the fourteenth century Peasants' Revolt – it’s also a gleeful hybrid of science, pseudo-science, absurd theory and ingenious philosophy. Above all, it's a story about love, companionship, and two friends: Don and Is.


This profoundly odd couple career around Essex and London, insulting drinkers, abusing drivers, curing plague, and fighting each other and everyone around them. They are on a quest (as far as Don is concerned) to reveal the truth about history and to uncover the secrets of the hyperfine transition of hydrogen. But Is, like the rest of us, isn’t really sure what Don is talking about. All he wants to do is get through to the next day – and back to his family. Both of which turn into extremely tricky propositions, as Don takes him ever deeper into danger, and the very structure of reality begins to turn against them both…


Forbidden Line is a fiercely clever novel; it will make you question everything, and it will make you glad to be human. It is a dazzling achievement.

Galley Beggar Press; December 2016
549 pages; ISBN 9781910296769
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Title: Forbidden Line
Author: Paul Stanbridge