The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail

  • by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln
  • Narrated by Simon Prebble
  • 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A nineteenth century French priest discovers something in his mountain village at the foot of the Pyrenees which enable 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 authors' conclusions are persuasive. At the core is not material riches but a secret, a secret of explosive and controversial 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.


What the Critics Say

"Enough to seriously challenge many traditional Christian beliefs, if not alter them." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"Like Chariots of the Gods?...the plot has all the elements of an international thriller." (Newsweek)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

changing history as we believe it to be

Very thorough, am enjoying back and listening a second time to absorb all the information. I recommend this book for those interested in the "Jesus as man, not Messiah" idea. Great for French history as well.
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- Caroline

Entertaining and Still Controversial

I first read this book in the late 80's and I remembering recognising it in the plot of the Da Vinci Code many years later. Of course, the authors famously sued Dan Brown's publishers for breach of copyright, but a Court found there was no infringement (Baigent & Ors v Random House). It was controversial then and it remains so now.
I do not intend to set out the thesis here. It unfolds like a good thriller (in some ways in a more interesting manner than the devices adopted in the Da Vinci Code). However, as most will know, the tale concerns the alleged bloodline of the Magdalene and Jesus of Nazareth (or Galilee), the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion and a traipse between Britain and the Middle East guided by Leonardo, Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo and other notables. Fun, exciting stuff, indeed.
The text is written like a great adventure (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade comes to mind) and is punctuated with a lot of dramatic rhetorical questions and leaps of logic (on the basis that the detail is too complex to set out in full, but "Trust me, I'm an historian!) Thoroughly entertaining, if a bit short on chain of proof (exacerbated by the abridgement of this production that does not include the the Introductions (either edition), the Afterword and Appendices).
All of this is made more the worthwhile by the excellent narrative by Simon Prebble (one of my favourites).
There's no need to take this too seriously, trying to follow the convolution in the tale on Wiki as you might with another doco. Just take it in, have the odd giggle and grin and enjoy the drama.
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- Ian C Robertson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-10-2006
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks