Modern life getting you down? Feel like getting away from it all? Perhaps a week as a Roman legionary will put the colour back in your cheeks. Or maybe you'd prefer to pillage a village in the company of rampaging Vikings. Historical re-enactments may not be the most relaxing form of relaxation, but for many time travel beats Benidorm on all counts.
This is fertile ground for an author like Tim Moore. Previous books have seen him following the footsteps of the first Grand Tourist, the fortunes of Eurovision failures and the tyre tracks of the Tour de France. For Tim Moore, the world of re-enactments is a field just waiting to be harvested.
And what a strange world it is, where nothing is what it seems and everything is what it was. Enthusiasts drench their clothing in urine, mild-mannered coin collectors morph into bloodthirsty warriors, and everyone craves the magical fusion of past and present, a sensation known as "period rush".
Early on, Moore learns that authenticity is the Holy Grail of historical re-enactment. But authenticity, it seems, is an elastic concept. At one extreme, he shares supermarket burgers with an Iron Age blacksmith, at the other he spends time with an 18th-century retromaniac who extracts his own teeth.
Moore draws the line at home dentistry, but he does go to extraordinary lengths to recreate the past. During one memorable tableau, he's to be found coating his sandals with curried potato salad for that 'just back from ancient Rome' look. Unfortunately, his preparations have a 'just back from Wikipedia' feel about them. With one foot in the past and the other in his mouth, Moore blunders across the centuries like Mr Magoo on a skateboard.
Things start badly as he spends a solitary night in an Iron Age theme park with only a flock of savage sheep for company. Period rush is momentarily ignited with his first attempt at making fire from flint and straw. But his experiences among the Romans, Vikings, Tudors and American Civil War re-enactors only serve to confirm that Tim Moore's time is now.