Illuminatus! Part I

  • by Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson
  • Narrated by Ken Campbell, Chris Fairbank
  • 13 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton". So begins this original trilogy of conspiracies, Illuminatus!. For the first time in audiobook form, the unabridged epic is presented in all its grandeur, spookiness, hilarity, and brilliance. The Illuminati, an inside joke? The lunatic fringe? Or a vast conspiracy hidden for centuries, unleashing it's power on a naive, defenseless world? It was the lousy luck of Saul Goodman, a tough, streetwise New York detective, to smell the trail in a bombed-out office - the heavy case he'd always dreaded. In a breakneck race against an awesome deadline, Goodman plunges down the trail of the ultimate conspiracy as the days fall away toward Apocalypse. Filled with sex, violence, and rock-and-roll, in and out of time and space, Illuminatus! is only partly a work of the imagination. The trilogy tackles all the cover-ups of our time, from who really shot the Kennedys to why there's a pyramid on the one-dollar bill, and suggests a mind-blowing truth. Part I: The Eye in the Pyramid is performed by the incomparable Ken Campbell and Chris Fairbank. In 1976, Ken Campbell adapted Illuminatus! for the stage, creating a 10-hour epic that went on to open the Royal National Theatre in London under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth II.


What the Critics Say

"If baseball can have a designated hitter, why can't science fiction have a designated underground classic? Well, apparently it can, and Illuminatus! is its name." (Booklist)
"The ultimate conspiracy book...the biggest sci-cult novel to come along since Dune." (Village Voice) "If you want to read a riddle wrapped in an enigma within a conundrum that turns out to be the best secret in the world, get the Illuminatus! trilogy." (New Age Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Over the Top and Proud of It

I read the trilogy in the 1970's when it first came out. There appears to be a limited audience for the book, as it is disjointed, difficult to follow, and all around over the top. But that is clearly the intent of the authors. This is not intended to be an intellectual discourse on conspiracies, religion, or whatever. But at another level, it succeeds at playing with conspiracies and religion and all in a way that, dare I say, enlightens the reader/listener.

Reading the book was difficult, and I did not have a linear recollection or understanding of the book when reading it or after it was finished. But it also stuck in my mind as one of the more original and intense books I have experienced (not read, experienced).

I just finished listening to this first book of the trilogy, and while I found the narrator's piratical, gruff and mumbling style at first off-putting, I quickly became convinced it perfectly matched the book -- the narrator's out-of-control stagger through a staggeringly out- of-control story has contributed to an understanding of the book which I did not get from wading through the written word 35 years ago. The other performer who does the voices equally contributes to a knowing experience of the book. For instance, one of the characters, a 23 year old hippie, is played as a naive juvenile. At first off-putting, it soon becomes a meta-comment on the character -- he is chosen for enlightenment because he is gullible, "but in the right way."

These books were never intended to be comprehended in a linear fashion, or in detail. More of an understanding of the whole. I plan to obtain the second book and listen after I decompress a bit, and hope the third one is also produced. Some of the messages echo strongly today -- the bad guys planned assassinations and terrorist acts which would leave Americans begging to surrender their freedom for security.
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- Amazon Customer

Excellent, and Misunderstood

This is one of the best books I've listened to. The confusion and disapproval illustrated by previous listeners, is probably due to a misunderstanding. This is the first third of a novel that was divided into 3 books because at the time it was too enormous to be published in the genre.
I'd highly recommend reading the rest of the book before judging the download.
If they don't release the rest of it, I'd imagine they'll have very limited success with the audiobook.
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- S. Casey

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-29-2007
  • Publisher: Deepleaf Audio