Books on the Rennes-le-Château Mystery
The following are books dealing with the Rennes-le-Château mystery.
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The Accursed Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau
Gérard de Sède
This is the English translation from the French book by Gerard de Sède outlining the mystery of Rennnes - the first book, actually a novel, about so mysteries of Rennes-le-Château.
This is a tale of the ancient treasures of the Visigoths. The late nineteenth century priest of Rennes-le-Chateau, Berenger Sauniere supposedly uncovered this secret. According to the book he wants us to follow the clues he built into his domain as a legacy for the future.
Sauniere apparently discovered something in his hilltop village which enabled him to amass a fortune. Between 1891 and his death in 1917 Sauniere is alleged to have disposed of more than 1,500,000,000 old francs, valued in 1913 at £60m.
De Sède's theory has led to over 600 books and television documentaries on the subject, putting Rennes-le-Chateau alongside the UFOs and Yetis among the world's greatest unsolved mysteries.
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln
Henry Lincoln read de Sède's book (see above) and made a programme for the Chronicle series on British TV. This sparked so much interest that he and his two research assistants wrote this book - The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, or the US Holy Blood Holy Grail.
It immediately became a best seller and literally put Rennes-le-Château on the map (on tourist maps it enjoys a prominence usually reserved for world heritage sites like Carcassonne). It has also spawned a whole industry in writing books expounding increasingly bizarre and improbable theories (see below).
The book is cleverly written. If you plan on reading any books about the Rennes-le-Château mystery, you should read this one first, as all others, including The Da Vinci Code, are derivatives.
Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail
First a word of explanation: The name Rat Scabies belongs to someone who was an important figure in the Punk Rock world of the 1970's, alongside Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten. Aficionados of Punk will recognise him as the drummer from The Damned.
Rat is now an ordinary sort of chap, except that he is something of an expert on the Rennes-le-Château mystery. This book gradually unfolds all the important strands of the story as the author, Christopher Dawes, joins Rat in his researches.
Despite the title, this is probably the most sane, informed and objective book on the subject that you are likely to find.
The Da Vinci Code
This is essentially a rehash of the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (see above), converted back into a novel (just like the original book by Gérard de Sède).
Oddly, Rennes-le-Château has been stripped out of the story, possibly to minimise the risk of accusations of plagiarism. In fact two of the three authors of The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail sued the publishers of The Da Vinci Code for plagiarism anyway. The case was heard in London in 2006, and the two authors Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent, lost their case. Happily, sales of their book increased by 100% during the hearing. Coincidentally the two books shared the same publishers, Random House.
Cognoscenti can have fun spotting that Leigh Teabling is an anagram of the names Leigh and Baigent (the former a particularly easy anagram). More advanced readers can try to spot where the names Saunier and Bezu came from.
The Holy Place: Saunière and the Decoding of the Mystery of Rennes-le-Château
In The Holy Place, Lincoln (author of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) discusses further surveys, decoding, and analysis of the area around Rennes-le-Château, claiming that this area in southwest France is the site of a vast megalithic holy place of enormous size and importance.
This is, as you would expect, a highly literate and informed book.
It parodies the Rennes-le-Château mystery, substituting the Knights Templar in the role of keepers of the secret. Eco plays with the idea that everything might be mysteriously related to everything else. Both in Eco's novel and in the plethora of books on Rennes-le-Château it is trivially easy to drag in Religious sects, secret societies, holy relics, historical figures, Templars, Cathars, the Kabbalah, troubadours, sacred geometry, space aliens, Uncle Tom Cobbly and the New World Order - which exactly the point that Eco is making.
The Tomb of God
The Sion Revelation, Inside the Shadowy World of Europe's Secret Masters
Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince
Not a book for newcomers to the Rennes-le-Château & Priory of Sion story, but a useful text for aficionados - and indispensable for conspiracy enthusiasts.
The first three quarters of the book retraces the chronology of the whole Rennes-le-Chateau business. It does this in a very even handedly and accurately, remaining reasonably objective throughout.
The final quarter of the book is dedicated to the revelation mentioned in the title - which is that the Priory is really just a flimsy front for a set of other secret societies dedicated to establishing a United States of Europe. Judge for yourself how strong the case is.
The Secret History of Christianity - How the Church has Exploited the Myth of Christ
A useful introduction to the world of Rennes-le-Chateau and its many associated mysteries. This book covers inter alia Jewish, Christian and Gnostic scripture, the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, had a family and lived in France, the Ark of the Covenant, the Crusades, the Priory of Sion, Cathars, Templars and Hospitallers, The Copper Scroll, Rex deus, alchemy, Rosslyn, Oak Island and Opus Dei.
Although some of the information is reliable (for example that the mainstream Churches have selected, edited, "interpreted" and suppressed ancient texts for their own ends), there are no footnotes and therefore no way to judge the reliability of the information given. The bibliography does not inspire great confidence.
None of the information is original and none of the more interesting assertions is assessed critically. There is no central thesis and no conclusion. In fact, chapters of the book appear to be synopses of the books mentioned in the bibliography. Despite this, the book is still a good read for those unfamiliar with the hidden world of mysteries and conspiracies.
Amazon Recommended Books on Rennes-le-Château and its mysteries
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