A metaphorical and rather dark satire on monarchy and the modern world, the movie business, the art world and PR set in the long forgotten Balkan enclave of Ruritania.
The country is in crisis. The oligarchs have left it in a financial mess and in echoes of the Czech Republic, the new president, an abstract painter and his pony-tailed economics minister, have little experience of affairs of state.
They need dollars and tourism, fast so they decide to resurrect the monarchy – only to discover that someone else, someone more sinister, has had the exact same idea.
Unfortunately the object of their machinations (the young female descendent of the now defunct royal line) has no desire whatever to be put on a pedestal. So they follow a trail that leads them to a certain unsuspecting Englishman, a tour guide, about to lead the first tour group ever into Ruritania.
In a tale of crossed wires and rising panic, the unsuspecting Christopher Wainwright gets mistaken for an invader, imprisoned in a castle by a Maoist 12 year old girl and falls in love but it doesn’t end there…
James Dunford Wood is an entrepreneur, but he has long been addicted to travel. From crossing the Sahara to climbing Kilimanjaro, from Timbuktou to Kabul, James spent his early years roaming the world. After University at Bristol he got a job as an occasional tour leader, taking bus loads – sometimes train loads – of American and Australian tourists (and nuns on several occasions) on whistle-stop tours of Europe’s cultural highlights. It was these experiences that inspired him to write ‘Continental with Juice’. James lives in London with his wife and four children.
There is an unquestionable market for books in the Ruritanian Romance genre. The Prisoner of Zenda was first published in 1894 and amassed such a following, it went on to inspire a great many titles, including the Graustark novels by George Barr McCutcheon. It has had many adaptations and homages paid to the original story and Continental With Juice has certainly earned a place sitting alongside the very best.