The Ultimate Quest by William Lynhope
Published in 2001, The Ultimate Quest by William Lynhope offered readers a similar quest as the Maranatha-Et in Arcadia Ego puzzle did. Both armchair treasure hunts sent puzzlers on a search for the Holy Grail. Rubyfelixir (username on tweleve forum) first mentioned the many similarities between the two there.
It would seem both the Maranatha-Et in Arcadia Ego and The Ultimate Quest puzzles encouraged a journey. The journey taken would result in a changed person for the better. Both puzzles stated this. On Maranatha’s warning page, it was written; ‘For to know the Seal is like a death to your present self’. And as realized in the following sentences from The Ultimate Quest, what the Quest for the Grail would achieve during its hunt was clearly stated:
“The quest is a process of human fulfillment: of passing a number of tests before the Grail can be reached.”
“It is a journey that can change lives forever. A journey from ignorance to enlightenment. In the stories of old, the hero was asked the question: “Who is served by the Grail?” The answer was: “it serves everyone.”
In order to claim the prize of The Ultimate Quest (which was said to be ‘a priceless replica of the Grail cup’), a puzzler needed to answer five questions correctly (on the same occasion) and decode the method to contact the Grail Keeper. This was the original way. In 2008, after no one was able to successfully solve the puzzle, a sixth question was added and an email was provided for the Grail Keeper. Either way, the old or the new, would present a winner with the cup if successfully followed. But, no one was able to complete the journey and the hunt was suspended in June 2011.
The Ultimate Quest starts with an introduction describing a reunion of friends; between the Author, William Lynhope and Simon Perceval. It continues with Simon later sending William an envelope which contained a hand-written note and a key to the front door of his cottage. The note encourages him(basically the reader) to do what the two had discussed during their previous time together; to set out on a path of own discovery.
The next section shares Simon’s Story followed by ‘A Brief Historical Note’ (on the Grail). Then there is a page displaying another letter from Simon. This one is typed and was left for the author at the cottage once he decided to set out on the Quest.
The last twelve pages begin with a page entitled ‘The Ultimate Quest’. They include the five questions and depictions of various items needed to break codes or answer the questions correctly.
Even though the hunt is over (for now, it could be re-launched), it was never completely solved. Like Maranatha, it still offers intrigue and the challenge to learn. Any writing which encourages a person to expand his mind or explore new topics is still worth reading; the prize is knowledge itself.