Another book that I’ve read before but fancied reading it again. Published in 1982, The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, has since been debunked several times over. Despite this and despite the colossal amount of circumstantial “evidence” and wild speculation on the authors’s behalf, it’s a conspiracy theory that still resonates.
In a nutshell, a priest called Francois Berenger Sauniere, found parchments whilst renovating the church in Rennes-Le-Chateau .The parchments supposedly contained evidence of a genealogy of the Merovingian Kings tracing their bloodline directly back to Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene who were man and wife. Sauniere subsequently becomes hugely wealthy and spends the equivalent of millions in today’s money. The book then goes on to say that evidence came to light of a secret society called the Priory of Sion (successfully) hid the bloodline for centuries with the aid of the Knights Templar. Of course all of this will be familiar as it became the plot line of The Da Vinci Code.
Of course, as I said, all of this has been debunked and proven to be a hoax (the perpetrators being Pierre Plantard de Saint Clair and Philippe de Cherisey (who coincidentally or not was writer, a humorist and a surrealist). Sauniere actually made his money by selling masses and receiving donations. Contradictory to what the book claims, he died in poverty. This is just the tip of the iceberg of contradictions and speculations that the book contains.
As with most conspiracy theories, this one is a good one because if you suspend your disbelief momentarily, it almost seems plausible. Almost. For me there’s too many of “many historians say…” and “many scholars believe…” then going onto to confirming a wild speculation the authors have made; but all the while not providing any actual sources. All in all there’s too many contradictions within the book and their “research” but having said that, It’s a good, fast paced read that’s actually better written than The Da Vinci Code. If you want Holy Grail, secret society, grand conspiracy theory based fiction, then you’d actually enjoy this.
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