The Naming of the Dead

[no spoilers] I just finished Ian Rankin's latest Inspector Rebus story. I think this is probably Rankin's best Rebus, yet: Set during the 2005 G8 summit in Edinburgh, it feels entirely authentic and credible. We get to meet plenty of old acquaintances who have advanced in their respective lives in interesting and sometimes surprising ways. Even DI Rebus is not far from retirement, but he still has what it takes - to keep us captured. Exceptionally, and aptly keeping in tone with the title, this story has a certain depth to it without ever lacking in humour. There is even a literary side to it, what with the central rĂ´le that my dearly beloved Ozymandias plays in the whole setup, incidentally without ever being fully quoted:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Perhaps you can imagine what Rebus' paraphrasing looks like - better still, read it up yourself. I am not sure Rebus did: he thought Ozymandias hailed from Australia.

No comments: