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Taken by itself and without the "lens" of pre-conception, this is fairly fascinating stuff. It is this work that contains the basis of much that is in Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code ... but this is the real deal. It is unconventional research by people who write documentaries for British Television. The big problem is that Pierre Plantard, the source of Priory of Sion lore, has, since the publication of this book, been proven to be a hoax and a forger. That discovery almost completely takes the wind out of the sails of the hypotheses presented by these authors. It reduces this work to a curiosity rather than the "big deal" it was 25 years ago (when published).
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This book is chiefly about research into documents deposited in the National Library of Paris from the 1950's-1970's detailing the existence of a Secret Society known as the Priory of Sion which has orchestrated major events in world history, preserved mystical secrets of immense power, and counted among its Grand Masters some of the most important figures in Western culture.
The research extends to the grand claim that Priory serves also as guardian over the bloodline of Jesus Christ who may not have died on the cross but rather survived to bear children with the Magdalene.
The authors piece together the information in the documents using erudite scholarship combined with brazen sprees of speculation. And the existence of Priory itself has by now been written off as an elaborately orchestrated hoax.
Yet there still exist historical mysteries that made the hoax possible in the first place. These indicate not only secret machinations behind some of the most significant events in world history, but unknown sources of immense wealth and power accessible to the story's key players that cannot be ignored regardless of the Priory's existence or non-existence.
This book also formed the historical or mythological framework behind the plot of The Da Vinci Code.
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