The Ultimate Quest
The adage of never judging a book by its cover was never truer than with The Ultimate Quest by William Lynhope. The forest scene daubed in primary colours creates an expectation of something similar on turning the page.
The harsh reality of the interior is 50 pages of unremitting grey text as a grey man meets with a grey lawyer and his blonde assistant. Make it through the story to the clues that supposedly lead to the Holy Grail and you’re rewarded with grey photos of a Michelin road map of France and a copy of The Burlington Magazine. My excitement is barely contained!
Published in 2001, The Ultimate Quest is the search for the Grail. The first person to locate the Grail Keeper and answer his questions three (no, five!) would receive a “priceless” replica of the Grail itself. In 2011, the publishers admitted defeat and closed the competition, never revealing the solution.
The puzzle is a combination of code-breaking and cryptic clues. A little searching on the Internet reveals that nobody has much idea of the solution and the pieces that have been decoded hint at a level of ambiguity that probably renders the puzzle impossible.
This 2012 interview with the author suggests he is something of a strange chap and believes he really has been given an important and secret message that he has to share cryptically with the world, but only with those who are worthy. Or perhaps this is just some infuriating marketing scheme to try to keep up interest in the book.
Whatever the truth of the puzzle or its author, the book is one to avoid.