Whether you believe the premise of the book or not(and I don't),it's a fantastic read. I hope this new edition sells well after being mentioned in Dan Brown's bestselling Da Vinci Code.
More facts have come out about the truth(or lack of it) about the secret society supposedly protecting an earth shattering secret,but I still recommend buying the book because it's very well written unlike many of this genre. It contains references the reader can check.
The book will introduce many accepted facts about the knights templars,early history of christianity,merovingians and carolingians and the cathars which you can learn while taking with a pinch of salt the controversial stuff.Thats what I did and it stimulated my interest in these subjects,something that wouldn't have happened if I just had dry boring history books. By making it almost an exciting detective story it stimulates the readers interest and keeps you turning the page.
To an extent. Some of what is contained in this book is documented historical fact, and as a professional historian, I'm always delighted when material is presented in a fashion that interests a wider audience. I view this sort of thing as the written equivalent of a cinematic 'historical' epic. Is is particularly accurate? No. But it doesn't pretend to be either -the authors do stress that many of their conclusions are conjecture, no more. What it is, is entertaining, and will introduce people who might never otherwise have taken an interest in history to, to take a single example, the Crusades. And that's fine by me -it might well prompt them to take a greater interest in history in the future.
There are inumerable problems of course. For each of the documented facts, there are at least a dozen erroneous ones. Much of the source material utilised is questionable at the very best. And yet I still find myself unable to condem them, as I would with many other books, for, as I mentioned above, they stress the fact that their conjectures lack proof. The book itself is actually well written for what it is; unusual for a book with several authors, it is sensibly set out, the style[s] is / are fluid and readable, and it's good fun.
Some suggest this book is blasphemous. Fair enough, that's their opinion, though I don't share or even understand it. As far as I know, there is nothing in the Bible, or accepted Christian doctine, that states that Jesus could, or perhaps I should say, 'should' not, have been married. I don't believe it (part of me would like to), but I fail to see what is so very wrong about the idea. He was supposed to be a Man as well as the Son of God -that was the whole point insofar as I am aware. Still, if you are going to be upset by it, don't bother to read. Save yourself the money, the time, and the raised blood pressure. The rest of you -give it a try. Something to look at on holiday, provided that you go in with a mind open enough to accept a new idea, and sceptical enough to appreciate the limitations.
on 13 January 2005
I read this book ten years ago and loved it. I read the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown in half a day over the Christmas Holidays, only because so many people recommended it, all of which had never read the Holy blood. If they had have done they would have found the Da Vinci Code tedious and derivative. It was an okay yarn, but nothing special. To anyone who has read the Da Vinci Code and has been intrigued, read this book. To the reviewer who could not believe it was a best seller - everyone I knew read this at least 10 years ago and made their friends read it too - so it really was!
on 11 March 2001
A totally engrossing and thoroughly researched historical mystery. If you are in any way interested in the origins of Christianity, or the activities of secret societies through the ages, or preferably a combination of both - then this is a MUST read.
Of course, a healthy pinch of scepticism should be maintained along the way - the authors do make a number of leaps from 'possible' to 'definite' within the space of a paragraph. And the hypothesis relies on about 50 'maybes' to be true along the way for the argument to have validity. In general, the sections which deal with established periods of history (the Cathar heresy for example) hold together better as arguments. The final section of the book which deals with the period immediately after the supposed death of Jesus, i.e. a period of almost totally undocumented history, appears the most speculative.
Nevertheless, it is an exquisitely argued book which spawned a whole wave of imitators, and if even SOME of their hypothesis is proven to be correct it would be fascinating. Interested readers might also like Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco - a novel based on some of the material from this book.
on 25 July 2004
Anyone who read "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown would benefit from reading this unusual book that researches the themes and topics which made "Da Vinci Code" such a hot best-seller ...
The Knights Templar and their secret ceremonies, the "Rose Croix", i.e., the "Rosicrusican organiztion", "the Priere de Sion" who are believed to be behind the activities of these "fighters for justice", the Cathars, Secrets from Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, the list of Grand Masters, secret parchments and headstones of graves with encrypted messages, possible information about the origins of Christianity and what really happened during and after the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, actions taken by the Catholic Church in the early years and during its delineation of religious doctrine --- can anyone unravel the mysteries and secrets contained within? Knowing that these organizations and secrets have remained *exactly* *that*, "secret" for about 2,000 years or likely much longer ... dating back from ancient Egypt -- the intrigue and allure of the possible revelations ... contained within this book just grow more mysterious and enticing ...
This book begins with a mystery of its own, it grabs the readers attention and is the hook that keeps you hanging in there. At times, "hanging" is the operative word because the long list of names and places which are needed to provide authenticaiton become tedious reading indeed. Through no fault of the authors, there is a great deal of detail, these details add up to repeatable research for anyone who has the time and inclination to delve further into the subject for themselves. First, the "hook" --- the story of Berenger Sauniere, a parish priest from a tiny village in Rennes-le-Chateau discovers parchments, old documents, and mysterious headstones during the renovation of the old church. The documents are passed on to the local Bishop who passes them up the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, some of whom meet with Sauniere. After this point the priest begins to show signs of wealth and starts living a more lavish life-style, also consorts with people who have esoteric knowledge and interests. After his sudden death from a stroke, an odd death cermony occured where the priest was seated in an unusual garb, a robe with tassles, and unidentified mourners who attended, plucked a tassle off the robe as they bid hin adieu into the next world ... Sauniere's housekeeper received some knowledge of a "secret" which she was going to confide, but she too died before it was revealed. After their deaths, many questions arose pertaining to their odd activiites, the discovered encrypted messages, and the source of their wealth -- the belief was that they discovered "hidden treasure" which was taken by the Knights Templars from the Temple in Jerusalem during the Crusades. Yet, there was more than this to consider, what messages were disguised by encrption? These authors have been researching this subject for over 30 years. In 1972, when the authors made their first film, it was about the basic story as described above about the parish priest in France and the mysterious discovery he made, as well as the unusual activities he engaged in ... After it was shown on British television, they received a huge deluge of correspondence -- one of from a retired Anglican priest, had the oddest but most preposterous claim of all, that it was *not* gold or jewels which was the treasure of the Knights Templar, but "incontrovertible proof" that Jesus survived the Crucifixion ... that it was a fraud. The authors turned their quest in another direction --- researching another claim, that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, and they had children. They examined the legend which states Mary Magdalene and her children by Jesus arrived in France, sometime after the Crucifixion ... and are related by blood to the old Merovingian dynasty, who became kings and queens in France. Therefore, the quest for the "Holy Grail" is not a physical item, such as the cup from which Christ drank but is instead, the quest for the "san greal", "sang royal" ... that is "royal blood". Jesus having descended from King David of ancient Israel, is of royal blood. The final and last secret is that there are today blood relatives living who are related to Jesus in France ... of course, this claim is based on a lot of "ifs".
I enjoyed this book for the many questions it raised and the many avenues of research the authors took to arrive at information. They name names, the provide a list of genealogical dynasties, they provide information about places, temples, monuments,gravestones, mysterious paintings and messages contained within them -- which can all be examined. One reason this book is so fascinating is the assertion and conclusions the authors arrive at --- is not "cut and dry", "black and white", since there is no solid and authentic document that can be dated and with total certainty to "prove" the authors assertions. The many "if this then that" explantions they provide leaves room for healty scepticism, as well as the remote possibility they hae stumbled onto the greatest "hoax" of all time. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has an open mind, is interested in a good mystery and can look at alternative explanations, that also require some stretch of "faith" but not of a religous variety. Erika Borsos (bakonyvilla)
on 1 November 2004
I'm not going to rehash a whole lot of other reviews telling you what the book is about. It is interesting, certainly well researched, and tedious as hell. I have a hard time believing that enough people actually read this entire book to make it a "shocking international best seller". Probably bought it hoping for sensationalism and instead encountered a whole lot of meticulously researched ancient history.
But what I really liked about this book, and actually grinned while reading it, is that the authors came very close to apologising for their discoveries. A kind of don't kill the messenger kind of thing. They went off an expedition to find one thing and ended up with another. Also, a lot of reviews speak of their "assumptions". Theories are plainly stated as such, not as fact, as are assumptions. These guys tell you what they think makes sense but do not express an idea or an assumption as a fact. So the reader can just ignore these or come to his own conclusions. All in all, if you are interested in this kind of thing and have a lot of patience to wade through a ton of history and genealogies, I would recommend the book. And if you really like this kind of thing, check out Graham Phillips, who actually writes chapter reviews and does not demand so much patience from his readers.
on 12 May 2006
This is nothing other than a massive tour de force of a foray into history. Wow.
Rennes-le-Chateau is a tiny village with a big past. This book traces the journey of discovery made by three writers starting from a coded message to a world-shaking discovery.
In fact the discoveries had already been hypothesised, but the discovery of these possibilities were enormous. The writers delved into history, re-analysed the Bible, tried to interpret motivations and studied the history of the area.
In doing so they discovered a priest who became both enormously wealthy in an unexplained way, and obsessed with alchemy and other heretical arts. They considered the Templars and the crusades, the possibility of the concealment of the treasure of the Temple of Jerusalem being hidden in the area.
They found the real possibility of Jesus living beyond the crucifixion and his line surviving, and a secret society linked ot it all.
It had all the hallmarks of a blockbuster thriller, and is an utterly engrossing pageturner. It is written interestingly and brings events to life. Without lingering pointlessly, it makes its point about why they've examined or accepted something.
Liberties and interpretations have been taken, but they needed to be for progress to be made. This was a platform for further speculation and research. You may not accept all of it, but it makes you reconsider what was accepted and consider the possibilities. I returned to re-read it and often recall its subject. It lead to me reading further books on the subject and visiting the area. An awe-inspiring subject.
RLC is a wonderful place, this book is the definitive story of it's probable history. Read, enjoy, and decide how much you're prepared to accept.
on 14 September 2004
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail started out as a very interesting read. The first half of the book is filled with a historical background that takes you through time in a riveting way and sets you up for what you hope is a big revelation. However, when the revelation comes it just leaves you wondering if someone switched books on you. I was very disappointed to see that the biggest part of the book is filled with assumptions; assumptions which the authors use to draw their conclusions from. It basically reads like one big what if. Very disappointing.
on 20 October 2000
Whilst staying at a friend apartment in Tenerife, I ran out of books...and I still had a week to go. I scanned the book case in the lounge, and, in between various Mills & Boon's and Jackie Collins', I found this intriguing looking book. I then read it cover to cover in two days...and barely slept! The reader is slowly pulled in to this evolving mystery - and, when the 'truth' is revealed, one is still forced into reading on. An amazing book. Read the "If you liked this.." books as well - they only add to the intrigue.
This book has recently gained a huge amount of publicity with the court case between the authors and the author of the Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown. I purchased the book on the back of that wave of publicity and having now read both books cannot really see what the court case was all about. The books could not be more different, not withstanding that the Da Vinci Code has no basis in fact and is a figment of the authors imagination. Most of the books written today contain regurgitated information from other books, either factual or fiction.
This book has a basis in fact, although much of it may be the vivid imagination of the authors. To be honest I don't know the answer. The book is both controversial, shocking and deeply moving. It is interesting and thought provoking. Whether you believe the conclusions that the authors come to, is a different matter and one for the individual. Perhaps the authors findings are as plausible an account of the life and times of Jesus as the one generally recognised by the church as true. It is a matter of the individuals faith. It is very difficult, if not impossible to prove anything either way.
I enjoyed reading the book, that is not to say that I agreed with its findings.