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Before rescuing this poor lonely nodeshell, I read the book for which it was named (I followed the softlink off of the Priory of Sion node), and hoo doggies, what a read it was.

The book (titled The Holy Blood & The Holy Grail in the UK), written by Baigent, et. al, is best described as an involving story that would be really cool if it were not the result of horrendously flawed research. The book starts with the authors investigating certain mysteries surrounding a priest in the quiet village of Rennes-le-Château, how he got lots of money in a strange fashion, and then died mysteriously. The authors then delve into a secret world of conspiracy and murder, with a secret so shocking it could shake society's foundations to the core. Of course, the book got published, and society didn't really shake too much.

I now feel it necessary to tear this book a new one, at least as far as its technical merits go. Bear with me. The authors love to use the line of logic that, if A could be true, then couldn't B be true as well? And we can therefore rely on B, then isn't C possible? Entire chapters, on which the authors' arguments hinge, can be dismissed as exercises in flawed argumentation. This is truly a pity, because much of the evidence and arguments used have been corroborated by other, more credible authors, leaving the reader unsure as to the veracity of the claims made.

The authors attack the academic trends of specialization, arguing that only someone taking an interdisciplinary look at the "evidence at hand" could follow the clues presented to them, where as an "expert" would view them with suspicion, if not dismissing them out of hand. This is certainly convenient for the authors, since most of their arguments have holes in them large enough for a Mack Truck to drive through, if an "expert" would point them out.

The evidence itself is also, of course, rather sketchy. At one point, the authors say (I swear to God I am not making this up, though I am paraphrasing), "Either this information is true, or someone has faked it and wants us to think that they want us to think it is true, but they really only want to confuse us." So, uh, either it's true or someone's feeding you bullshit? And you've now written an entire book, spurred on by this stuff that might be bullshit?

All in all, a book that can be called a reliable source material only by the exceedingly credulous.

Now that the book's argumentation has been ripped to shreds, I must say that I couldn't put it down. It was gripping. It was intense. It made me want to start making video games based on it, or at least buy copies for all my friends and force them to read it under penalty of wedgie.

Get this: Jesus didn't die on the cross. His death was an elaborate sham concocted by his WIFE Mary Magdalene (who was not a whore) and his relative, Joseph of Arimathea to fulfill the Scriptures' promise of a Messiah. But there's more! His SON Jesus Barabbas and his wife were sheparded to safety in France and then Gaul, where the Merovingian bloodline of kings (deposed by the Carolingian bloodline) was founded by him! The Catholic church took many pains to conceal this fact, even resorting to assassination, but the bloodline lives on in Thomas Plantard de Saint-Claire, under the protection of the Priory of Sion, under the Grand Mastership of the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Charles Radclyffe, Victor Hugo, and Jean Cocteau!

Wow! Wasn't that exciting?! The true downfall of this remarkable piece of pseudo-history is that the authors believe it, and they want you to believe it, too. In the end, they say that the existence of the Priory is "probable", much as the existence of the tenth planet is probable. I'd suggest reading it (it retails for around $8 in soft cover), and then freaking out your friends and family.

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