'Talisman' is a roller-coaster intellectual journey through the back streets and rat runs of history to uncover the traces in architecture and monuments of a secret religion that has shaped the world.
Graham Hancock is a journalist (has worked for The Sunday Times) and the author of a number of books including FINGERPRINTS OF THE GODS.
Robert Bauval is the author of THE ORION MYSTERY. He has co-written books with Graham Hancock.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
First, it is a large book and quite heavy reading. Many different people, times, places, from 3000BC to present. It's a massive subject, and Bauval & Hancock have tried to tie together events right through, so its probably not surprising its so huge. I was pretty up on the subject already but still found it heavy going, and maybe because of the ease of Internet researching, it has a bit of a cut'n'paste feel about it.
I think there is a lot of info missed out, perhaps deliberately, to limit the subject.
Its also pretty much a summary of several other books such as those by Robert Lomas on the freemasons. Bauval does add some of his own new interpretations that seem accurate. The "Picatrix" text is also interesting.
So, all in all, I wasn't convinced of a direct link back to Gnostic Alexandria, but more a general survival of ideas of free thought through the dark ages of Christian suppression. I was however convinced that the secret societies were a direct result of repressive monarchs and religion, and that almost everyone of influence was connected to freemasonry in the 18-19th centuries.
On the subject of modern freemasonry, there is no doubt now about the direct influence on city plans, buildings, & policy, which continues today.
So, in summary, lots of good info if a bit selective, not Pseudo-History, but a difficult book to read
review of Talisman by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, Penguin/Michael Joseph
Talisman, by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval
Penguin/Michael Joseph, £20
Review by Colin Wilson
Three years ago I attended a conference in Cagliari, in Sardinia, where writers like Erich von Daniken and Alan Alford explained their latest researches into the origins of civilisation. But the most remarkable event of that weekend was a talk by Robert Bauval about the discoveries that were the basis of his work-in-progress, Talisman.
Bauval is a speaker of amazing vitality and enthusiasm, and even though he was the final speaker of a long day, and we were all thinking longingly about dinner and Sardinian wine, we forgot that as Bauval produced an amazing fireworks display of ideas. And when dusk began to fall in the courtyard the of the conference centre and the chairman suggested bringing the talk to a close, there was a groan from the audience. At which point, the conference organiser, Sylvano Salvatici, suggested that those who wanted to hear more should go to a hall upstairs, while those who wished to leave could do so. Virtually whole whole audience of three hundred or so trooped upstairs, where Bauval spent another ninety minutes completing his exposition.
Ever since then I have been waiting to read the book. And when it arrived a month ago, a vast tome of 562 pages, I settled down to it immediately.
It is certainly one of the most remarkable works published in the 21st century, and throws a totally new light on the history of the past 2,000 years.
What Bauval told us that day in Cagliari was this.
The first section of this very weighty work is devoted to forms of Christianity which competed with Catholicism from the first centuries AD to the middle ages. Hancock and Bauval make a convincing case that a continuum exists between Gnostic thought in early Christian Egypt and the Cathars of 12th / 13th Century Languedoc via sects in Armenia, Turkey and the Balkans.
And while other books about the Cathars have placed the Albigensian Crusade in a political context (French King stirs up trouble to extend France southwards), Hancock and Bauval present it as a clash of cultures, values and religion.
Talisman presents both a very detailed and a very accessible explanation of what the Cathars actually believed. For that reason alone I found the book worth buying. Had the authors stopped their narrative in the early 14th century then Talisman for me would have been a hands down winner.
Where it loses its way is in the second half of the book, where Hancock and Bauval try to explain how Hermetic thought carried on through the middle ages and rennaissance. The second half does however include some some fascinating nuggets of information, for example the obsession French revolutionary leaders had with ancient Egyptian religion and symbolism and how they wove it onto their 'Cult of the Supreme Being', which was to replace Christianity.
Unfortunately the final few chapters seem almost rushed as if the authors wanted to finish up and move onto other projects.Read more ›