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The Illuminatus! Trilogy [Paperback]

Robert Shea , Robert Anton Wilson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Jun 1998

It was a deadly mistake. Joseph Malik, editor of a radical magazine, has snooped into rumours about an ancient secret society that turned out to be still alive and kicking. Now his offices have been bombed, he's gone missing, and the case has landed in the lap of a tough, cynical, streetwise New York detective.

Saul Goodman knows he's stumbled onto something big - but even he can't guess how far into the pinnacles of power this conspiracy of evil has penetrated. Brimming with sex and violence - in and out of time and space - the three books of The Illuminatus! Trilogy are only partly works of the imagination. They tackle all the important cover-ups of our time - from who really shot the Kennedys to why there's a pyramid on the one-dollar bill - and suggest a truly mind-blowing reality.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Illuminatus! Trilogy + Prometheus Rising + Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati: Vol. 1: v. 1
Price For All Three: £43.27

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Product details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson; First Thus edition (25 Jun 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854875744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854875747
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The ultimate conspiracy book . . . the biggest Sci-Fi cult novel to come along since Dune. (Village Voice)

An epic fantasy . . . a devilishly funny work, loaded with humour, puns, up-level ironies that make you

burst out laughing.

(New Age Journal)

Book Description

Filled with sex and violence - in and out of time and space - the three books in this trilogy are only partly works of the imagination. They tackle the cover-ups of our time - from who really shot the Kennedys to why there's a pyramid on a one-dollar bill - and suggest a mind-blowing truth.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not High Literature, but a Beacon of an Age 27 May 1998
By A Customer
I pity the conspiracy buffs, the humourless sci-fi mavens, and the Lit Crit who accidentally stumbled across this book. What is this book? I suppose if you took Leary, Pynchon and Hunter Thompson, put them in a blender, set them on 'frappe' and then poured them into a mould designed by Kurt Vonnegut, you might end up with this book. But that would be cloyingly trite of you. It's not a portrayal of reality, or a science fiction book, or a great literary achievement. It's more an encyclopoedia hallucinagenia, or maybe a thesaurus of the eschaton. All I know is that it's the fifth month of the twenty-third anniversary of the book's copyright date and that the thorazine is helping me cope with it. Heute die Welt, morgen das Sonnensystem!
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling 23 May 2004
I first read Illuminatus at age 18 in 1988. I bought it after reading an interview with KLF in a music magazine & did not know what to expect. At first I found it fairly heavy going - at that age I had never read a novel which 'jumped' aruond so much. I eventually got used to the style and started to enjoy the complex, intriguing & entertaining plot. Many of the references were unfamilier to me & I think much of it went over my head. I got to the end,entertained, if slightly confused.
I put it out of my mind then stumbled upon my copy again when I was around 25. I decided to give it another go - remembering my experience from my first reading & only slightly recalling the plot.
Another 7 years of life between first & second reading ensured
the text revealed more to me than on first reading. Just as entertaining as first read, but this time around more "oh yeah..I know what they're talking about... I think".
I read for the third time around 2 years ago - and got more out of the book on the third reading.
I will probably go back to it in another three or 4 years.
This is a huge(ish), dense, compelling & entertaining novel. As a result of this, it is one of the few books I have read that reveals more of itself each time you go back to it..........a highly recommended mind trip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An illuminating and exhilarating mental trip 31 Mar 2010
Illuminatus! Is a vast rambling trilogy that was written by Shea and Wilson largely under the influence of mind-expanding drugs. It is an attempt to draw in and make sense of every one of the hundreds of urban myths and conspiracy theories that are the common currency of the internet and the intellectual undergrowth of the United States. One need look no further than the back of a US one-dollar bill, decorated with the Masonic motif of an Eye in a Pyramid (the title of the first book in the trilogy) to indicate the kind of conspiracy with which the book deals.

All of this would be amusing and entertaining but might quickly pall were it not for a brilliant "chance" meeting the authors had in the Southern California literary underground, while they were writing their book, with Kerry Thornley, a self-confessed doper and drop-out who invented the religion (or anti-religion) of Discordianism which worships the goddess Eris or Discordia and seeks to promote chaos and anarchy as the political movement of the future.

The addition of the "teachings" of Discordianism to their drug-fuelled text lifts Illuminatus out of the ordinary to a realm where, despite the sometimes schoolboy humour, they often succeed in touching on some very deep philosophical and social questions and re-examining them in a new and fascinating light. Most people will find most of the book barmy, but to me it is barmy in an illuminatingly positive and constructive way.

If Robert Persig's Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance re-cast urban existence by looking at it through the paradoxical prism of Zen Bhuddism, then Illuminatus! is Zen and the Social Contract - it re-evaluates modern society by exposing its internal contradictions.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Illuminatus! is more than a novel; it's a head trip, a philosophy course, a mirror, a funhouse; a work that should be read at least five times, because every journey through is a different trip. Equal parts mock conspiracy story, detective novel, science fiction epic and hidden treatise, what you get out of it tells you more about yourself than about the authors. On top of all that, it's just plain old damn funny. Keep your eyes open for the parodies of James Joyce, Ayn Rand and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and avoid the fnords at all costs.
Whether you're nostalgic for the 60s or lost in the compassless haze of the 90s, you need to read this book, and get to know the philosophies of its authors. There's more education between these covers than between the start and finish of any university, but it's all achieved painlessly and, by the end, you'll look at the world and yourself in a different way.
Finally, this is one of those rare books that has become less satire and more prediction in the twenty-three years since its publication. What was once cynical wit is now sad documentary, and authors Wilson and Shea have nailed it. Approach with an open mind, abandon all preconceptions ye who enter here -- and then read it again and be surprised all over as you realize it's a different book the second time around. And the third. And the fourth. And the... well, you know...
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