'Lost' Ian Rankin novel to be revamped and republished after nearly 30 years

Best-selling author Ian Rankin is to revive a "lost" novel which sold less than 1000 copies on its original release less than 30 years ago.
Westwind was the fourth novel to be published by Ian Rankin back in 1990.Westwind was the fourth novel to be published by Ian Rankin back in 1990.
Westwind was the fourth novel to be published by Ian Rankin back in 1990.

He has re-visited and revamped espionage thriller Westwind after a fan told him how much he had enjoyed reading the original book, which plays out against a backdrop of mounting tensions between Britain, Europe and the United States.

Rankin admitted he had hardly any recollection of the book, published three years after the first Inspector Rebus novel, Knots and Crosses, when he re-read it.

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The Fife-born author will be writing a new introduction to Westwind, which was set in Britain and American "in the near future" when it was originally published.

Rankin's publisher, Orion, said the tale of spies, satellites and a global conspiracy of sinister surveillance was “strikingly relevant in today’s political climate”.

The publisher said "several aspects" of Rankin's original manuscript for Westwind, his fourth novel, were being altered for the new version, which is due for release in November.

Its new synopsis reads: "In Europe, the Americans are pulling out their troops in a tide of isolationism. Britain, torn between loyalties to America and the continent, is caught betwixt and between. In America, a space shuttle crashes on landing, killing all but one of the crew on-board: A British man named Mike Dreyfuss, who will become vilified by the US press and protesters.

“Halfway across the world, Martin Hepton, an English ground control technician watches as they lose contact with the most advanced satellite in Europe. A colleague of Hepton's who suspects something strange is going on is signed off sick, and never comes back. But there is much more at stake than anyone realises - and many more people on their trail than they can possibly evade."

Rankin told his Twitter followers today: "I have Twitter to thank for the Westwind reissue - a while back someone told me they’d read it and it wasn’t half bad. So I dug it out and read it myself. And they were right.

"When I read it after such a long gap it felt like it had been written by someone else entirely - I recalled almost none of it!"