Odd Man Out: The Last Straw is Ronald Biggs’ official autobiography, and is written by Ronnie with the help of his good friend Christopher Pickard. It is a totally updated and greatly expanded edition of Ron’s original best selling autobiography Odd Man Out, first published by Bloomsbury in 1994.
Keep on Running: A Story from the Great Train Robbery is Ron’s one and only novel that was orignally published in book form by Bloomsbury in 1995 and for the first time on Kindle on 8 August 2014 on what would have been Ron’s 85th birthday.
Odd Man Out: The Last Straw, published by M-press, has six totally new chapters and over 200 extra pages when compared to the 1994 edition, as well as a new introduction. The introduction and final chapter sum up Ron’s thoughts on his extraordinary life, a life that kept him as front-page news for nearly 50 years. Odd Man Out: The Last Straw is available in hardback and in two special leather bound, limited collectors’ editions. It is also available on Kindle.
Odd Man Out: The Last Straw is Ronald Biggs’ only official autobiography. It covers Ron’s entire life including the Great Train Robbery, his conviction and subsequent escape from HMP Wandsworth, and his life with Charmian, the first Mrs Biggs. Ron tells how he managed to outrun and outthink the posse of law enforcement officers and the media that chased him around the world as one of its most wanted men. From his time in Australia, to his discovery and arrest in Brazil in 1974, it is all included in the book. It covers the two attempts to kidnap him, and his son Mike’s rise to stardom.
For the first time Ron tells exactly what has happened to him since the early 1990s to today, including his strokes, his attempted suicide, the death of his partner and friends, the extradition attempts, the Rio carnival tribute, his decision to come back to the UK, and his much publicised return in 2001 after 13,068 days on the run.
Odd Man Out: The Last Straw covers Ron’s life in Belmarsh and Norwich, including his marriage to Raimunda and his meetings with fellow infamous inmates, including Jeffrey Archer and Ian Huntley. Ron explains what actually went on at the time of his release, from Jack Straw’s blocking of his parole, to his ‘compassionate’ release a month later when at death’s door. The new book also mentions certain events and people that could not previously be mentioned in the first book in 1994.
The book also has 32 pages of exclusive new photos from Ron’s private archives, many of which have never been published or seen before. They cover from his first mug shots to the current day.
Odd Man Out: The Last Straw is not only Ronald Biggs’ autobiography; it is also the most complete biography of one of the most famous names in British life of the last 50 years. A brand new 10,000-word timeline – part of which is available on this web site – covers not only the life and times of Ronald Biggs, but includes the most detailed timeline and facts ever published about the events surrounding the Great Train Robbery itself.
Odd Man Out: The Last Straw will stand the test of time as the most complete telling of the life and times of the man who was Ronald Arthur Biggs, and his part in the Great Train Robbery.
It is now possible to buy Ronnie Biggs’ autobiography Odd Man Out: The Last Straw in a number of countries through Amazon and other stockists listed on the Amazon web sites.
Here are the links to the book in a few key countries:
The book can also be ordered though the publisher in the UK, including the special leather bound collectors’ editions
Keep on Running is a novel that draws on the true events surrounding the Great Train Robbery. It gives a dramatic account of what may have happened to the three men at the track who were never caught or charged. It covers their lives before, during and in the years immediately after the robbery in August 1963. It also features the shadowy character known to people on both sides of the law as the Ulsterman, and provides a dramatic solution to the puzzle as to whether or not there was a shipment of jewels on board the train and, if there was, why the owner never came forward.
The book is Ronnie Biggs’ only novel, although he was very active in writing both poetry and lyrics, most famously for the Sex Pistols and Die Toten Hosen. He had also been involved in writing the screenplay for the film Prisoner of Rio.
Ron was invited to write a novel by Bloomsbury, the original publisher of his autobiography Odd Man Out. The invite came after that book had become one of Bloomsbury’s top sellers in 1994, and in fact, of all time. The publisher asked for a follow-‐up novel and suggested to Ron that he should base it around the Great Train Robbery, as that is what he was best known for and what his fans would want.
The novel is the result of a number of long brain storming sessions in Rio with Christopher Pickard, often over lengthy and fairly boozy lunches. Between them they sorted out a story line for the book and early on decided that if they were going to mix fact with fiction the story of the three that got away, and the mysterious Ulsterman, was an obvious place to start. And the novel is a mix of fact and fiction that allowed Ron to include certain aspects of the robbery and his life that he could not, or did not want to put in his autobiography.
Ron and Chris had great fun with Keep on Running as they developed the story, and so they were a little surprised that on publication in 1995 a number of newspapers decided that the story of the jewels being on the train was true, saying it was a topic often discussed by the legal teams at the time of the Great Train Robbery trial and appeal in 1964.
The Sunday Times, no less, reported on 5 November 1995 that: “The mystery deepened this weekend when Major Michael Argyle, the former Old Bailey judge who, as a barrister defended Biggs at his 1964 trial, also seemed to confirm that ‘several million pounds’ worth’ of diamonds had been among the proceeds of the robbery. Argyle, who retired as a judge seven years ago, said he had been told about the diamonds by a prosecution witness during his cross-‐examination at the Old Bailey Trial.”
If there were any jewels on the train involved in the Great Train Robbery, Ron and Chris certainly did not know about them. Likewise Ron did not want anything in the characterisation of the three central characters that could help identify the real people that got away. What can be revealed is that the novel’s central couple, David and Denise, were based on people that Ron knew. A couple that were considered among the best in the world in high end shoplifting, but who had nothing to do with the train robbery. It is also true that one of the three that got away was the man who coshed the driver.
Ron and Chris had hoped that Keep on Running would be the first of a series of novels based around the central couple of David and Denise. Sadly this never happened, despite the critical and commercial success of the book. They did, however, offer Bloomsbury a cookery book that was to be called Ronnie Biggs’ C(r)ookery Book for the Single Man on the Run. As so often happened with Ron, he was before his time, and celebrity cookbooks were not yet in fashion and so Bloomsbury passed on the option. Ron, by the way, was a very accomplished chef, so there was method in his madness.
Ron would hope that you enjoy the book as much as he did in writing it. The book stands as it was published in 1995, with only a few very minor tweaks, such as the prologue, to bring it up to date.
As somebody noted at the time: “With Keep on Running, Britain’s most lovable rogue has produced a gripping, imaginative and highly entertaining novel.”
You can’t say fairer than that, and Ron would hope that once you have finished the book you will agree.
The Kindle version of Keep on Running: A Story from the Great Train Robbery is available globally direct from your local Amazon or Kindle store.