Stanbridge paperback copy.jpg
Stanbridge paperback copy.jpg



Published 1 December 2016

This is the special, limited edition run of 500 copies. To buy the paperback version, click here.

Read the first chapter here

  • Winner of the inaugural Republic of Consciousness First Novel Award, 2017
  • Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, 2017
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FORBIDDEN LINE is a monster. It’s fat, uncompromising and gloriously eccentric. Which is as it should be – since it’s a retelling of Don Quixote combined with a recreation of the Peasant’s Revolt; a gleeful hybrid of science, pseudo-science, absurd theory and profound, ingenious philosophy.

Don and Is career around Essex and London, tilting at windmills, abusing petrol station assistants, fighting with each other and everyone around them. They are on a quest – as far as Don is concerned – to reveal the truth about history (or the lack of truth) and to uncover the secrets of the hyperfine transition of hydrogen... But Is – like most of us – isn’t really sure what Don is talking about. And all he really 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 (as well as the narrative of Forbidden Line itself) begins to turn against them both...

Forbidden Line is a challenging, dazzling intellectual achievement. It’s also book about love and companionship, a novel simultaneously touching and hilarious. Above everything else, it’s a pleasure to read – even if it also makes you feel like you’re on a careering train, with all the stops and destinations rubbed off, and no idea where you’re heading...

There’s never been a book quite like Forbidden Line. Never anything close.

‘Hefty and highly entertaining... A novel that bursts with invention.’ (Times Literary Supplement)

‘Like Don Quixote on acid... Everyone needs to sit up and take notice of Forbidden Line. It leaves the doughy train of contemporary realist fiction way behind.’ (Giles Foden)

‘What grips at once is Stanbridge’s beautiful, stately, and richly rewarding prose. He never lets up, never falters… It’s breathtaking, magisterial, uniquely demented and hilarious – a lavish comic masterpiece.’ (David Collard, Salvete)

‘Galley Beggar Press has a reputation for spotting exciting new fiction, and this rollercoaster retelling of Cervantes’ Don Quixote is no exception.’ (Andrew Cowan)

‘A marriage of Chaucer and Douglas Adams… A work of extraordinary erudition.’ (Republic of Consciousness Prize, 2017)

PAUL STANBRIDGE grew up in Essex. He has worked as a pensions administrator, bookseller, receptionist, waiter, archival catalogue editor, chef, barman, ministerial drafter, learning mentor and builder. He has also written a doctoral thesis examining creative method in literary modernism and divides his working time between music and writing. Forbidden Line is his first novel.