THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL
A nineteenth century French priest discovers something in his mountain village at the foot of The Pyrenees which enabled him to amass and spend a fortune of millions of pounds. The tale seems to begin with buried treasure and then turns into an unprecedented historical detective story - a modern Grail quest leading back through cryptically coded parchments, secret societies, the Knights Templar, the Cathar heretics of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and a dynasty of obscure French kings deposed more than 1, 300 years ago. The author's conclusions are persuasive at the core is not material riches but a secret - a secret of explosive and contraversial proportions, which radiates out from the little Pyrenees village to all the way to contemporary politics and the entire edifice of the Christian faith. It involves nothing less than the Holy Grail.
"One of the most controversial books of the 20th Century"
"Has all the ingredients of an international thriller...incredible" (Newsweek)
"A book that cannot easily be dismissed"
(Neville Cryer, The Bible Society)
THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL
"Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln, and Richard Leigh spent over 10 years on their own kind of quest for the Holy Grail, into the secretive history of early France. What they found, researched with the tenacity and attention to detail which befits any great quest, is a tangled and intricate story of politics and faith that reads like a mystery novel. It is the story of the Knights Templar, and a behind-the-scenes society called the Prieure de Sion, and its involvement in reinstating descendants of the Merovingian bloodline into political power. Why? The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail assert that their explorations into early history ultimately reveal that Jesus may not have died on the cross, but lived to marry and father children whose bloodline continues today. According to the authors, their point here is not to compromise or to demean Jesus, but to offer another, more complete perspective of Jesus as God's incarnation in man. They claim that the power of this secret, which has, they say, been carefully guarded for hundreds of years, has sparked much controversy. For all the sensationalism and hoopla surrounding The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail and the alternative history which it outlines, the authors are careful to keep their perspective and sense of scepticism alive in its pages, explaining carefully and clearly how they came to draw such combustible conclusions." [Jodie Butler]
"This was first published in London, 1982, by Jonathan Cape Ltd, and in the United States by Delacorte with the shortened title of, Holy Blood, Holy Grail.
Was Christ married to Mary Magdalen and through their child or children a line of descent survived? Was this secret history hidden in the legends of the Holy Grail?
Working on The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail took over my life. From the moment that I first heard the story I was hooked. Of course, the story back then was a far simpler tale than the one which would later appear in the book. Nevertheless it was mysterious: a priest in the south of France who somehow laid his hands on a large sum of money; an ancient secret society which had existed from the Crusade times, and a connection with the enigmatic Knights Templar. My colleagues and I could never have imagined where this story would end up. Certainly, it took several years of research before the enormity of what we were discovering dawned on us. The development of the book for the reader follows, reasonably accurately, the journey we took in order to find out what this mystery meant.
The story constantly confronted us with information which clashed with our historical and religious preconceptions. We had to either dismiss the facts – difficult, since they indubitably existed – or dismiss the accepted framework of certain important historical events. We chose to ditch what we had been taught of history and, in effect, start looking at it all again from a fresh perspective. It was an exciting time: our search revealed material which struck directly at our beliefs and concepts. And as the data began pouring in, we often reeled from the effect of assimilating it. In the end, battered by data, stunned by the implications, we simply suspended disbelief and ran with the conclusions wherever they might lead us. It seemed that there was nothing too weird to be true.
“Are you saying that Jesus had babies?” our agent asked.
“Looks that way”, we replied.
This book has been out now for twenty-nine years. Whole new generations of readers are discovering it. I have to say that it surprised us by maintaining its appeal and its relevance. We would have expected some other work to take over where we left off. But this hasn’t happened. Furthermore, much research has been undertaken during this time but The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail retains its solid position: there has been nothing discovered which oppose its basic themes and much discovered which support them. I am often asked how we would write the story today. The answer has to be - aside from a bit of tinkering here and there, a few changes of emphasis, a few additions and deletions - we would write it just the same as we did back then.
In any case, the depth of the historical duplicity we uncovered has not lessened, neither has the justified anger of those readers as they discover just how far the self-appointed custodians of our culture are prepared to go in order to deceive."