Burgess's novel Any Old Iron was first published in 1989. Spanning some of the major events of the twentieth century, from the sinking of the Titanic to the Russian Revolution, Second World War, and the founding of Israel, it follows the fortunes of the Jones family as they become bound up with Excalibur, the sword of King Arthur. The family move to Manchester and there the novel's narrator falls in love with Beatrix Jones while studying at the University of Manchester.
Also known as The Sovereignty of the Sword, The Rage of the Brothers Griffiths, and The Smell of Fish.
This series contains a partially incomplete draft of the novel in english, and an uncorrected proof of the french translation, published by Grasset in 1993.