Janet and Ed intended to write a travelogue of their journey, as I have done with "Beetle drive", however the events they uncovered were so outrageous and controversial that they felt it better suited to a novel. The Long Road to Paris is a stonking read, made all that much better for knowing it is based on actual events!
In their own words: "It was our intent to write a travelogue of an around-the-world car race, the first of its kind in more than one hundred years. We began by interviewing JC Wilkerson, CEO of World Rallies Inc., and Kyle Vanderhorn, the official race reporter. Then Thurman Alston, one of the racers, approached us with an outrageous list of accusations, presenting a very different story from the sanitized official version. Thurman wanted to make these allegations public. The accusations were primarily aimed at Ed Talbot, the driver of car 23, a controversial alternative energy automobile which, it appears, has now been destroyed. The allegations were as follows:
First, that Ed leaked information to the CIA about the radical nature of the car’s technology, leading to the intervention of the U.S. and Russian governments, and indirectly to the murders in Siberia.
Second, that Ed’s irresponsible actions during the race were the reasons that the environmentally friendly technology in his entry has not been made available to the world and that he is to blame for some of the climatic change that will take place in the future.
Third, that Ed was lying about the innovation in the car. It was actually nothing new, and was, in fact, fully developed in Nazi Germany during World War II, and then held off the market by oil interests.
Finally, that his secret liaison with his navigator showed a reckless disregard for his wife and young daughter and affected his judgment.
While these accusations appeared to be absurd, we knew we had to sort out Thurman’s wild claims before we could write an objective report of the around-the-world race. We discovered that there was some truth among these charges; a story hidden within a story. We became intrigued with our findings. It turned out that the race was a minor part of the challenges Ed faced. Our research had turned up a convoluted love story that alone would have made it difficult for Ed to have followed a different course of action. You can decide for yourself whether a less disastrous outcome would have been possible if he had made different decisions."
The Long Road to Paris is available on Amazon, read a preview here: read.amazon.co.uk/kp/embed?asin=B004W3LBCW&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_QxlkybQ5MD9J1&tag=easterbyf-20
After chatting to Janet online for a few years now and comparing notes on our bugs and travels I will finally get to meet her, Ed and Stewball in September. Naturally we will be meeting on the road, on the Odyssey Italia Rally around Corsica, Sardinia and Tuscany.