An intrepid journalist unlocks the ancient roots of modern-day evil in this London-set conspiracy thriller.
American journalist Paul Fitzgerald is haunted by vivid dreams of the Crusades. Are they mere fantasy or could they be portals into the past? What’s clear is that they have something to do with media titan Lord De Clare, a mix of Lex Luthor and Rupert Murdoch, whose monolithic company, Transitron, is making progress in virtual-reality technology that could transform the nature of human existence forever—if De Clare can get his hands on Paul’s latest manuscript, that is. Aided by helpful dwarf Juicy John Pink, crackpot astrologer Mary Underhill and ministry student Simon, Paul embarks on a spiritual odyssey that takes him from IRA-bombed London subways to 12th-century Jerusalem. Along the way, he unearths enough conspiracies to supply a dozen Da Vinci Codes when he discovers the slender threads that link Western imperialism, Celtic mythology, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, the quest for the Holy Grail and quantum theory. And don’t forget numerology: “The Great flood began on the 17th day of the 7th month. The name of God has 17 letters and at the end of time 17 prophets will be born, each bearing one letter of his name. That’s 1 and 17.” If the import of such passages is lost on some readers, the authors have appended an 18-page section of “Additional Notes” to clear things up; they supply more detail on “the Dagda,” “the Monad” and “the quantum nature of existence” for those who want it. Such overabundance is characteristic of the novel, which will not suit audiences looking for the simple pleasures of a page-turner. Although the authors are successful at evoking a modern world at the brink—ruled by corporations and torn apart by religious violence—they struggle with creating flesh-and-blood characters. If Paul’s odyssey is also a personal one, it is not always apparent from dialogue that often reads like revisionist history. The novel’s saving grace is a brisk plot that keeps moving—sometimes even past the point of coherence (according to the authors’ introduction, the story began as a script for Oliver Stone). As Simon says, “This thing is science, mythology, UFOs, religion and national security rolled into one.”
A paranoid thriller for true conspiracy theorists.