Asterix, the indomitable pint-sized Gaul forever outfoxing the Romans, returns for his 37th comic adventure this time battling his way across Italy in a chariot race.

The beloved character, who has been entertaining readers with his exploits alongside oversized Obelix since 1959, has become a mainstay in the publishing industry, with more than 370 million albums sold worldwide.

As well as being translated into more than 100 languages, the books have inspired a dozen movies and cartoon series, making it a global phenomenon.

The original books, written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo, built up a mass following in the 1960s and 70s, with many childhood readers from those days still snapping up the titles half a century on.