The bestselling authors of The Secret of the Sphinx relate the extraordinary account of a longstanding conspiracy at the heart of Western civilization, the visual evidence of which surrounds us all.
A talisman is an object with “meaning.” It is a potent symbol or icon that can fire the imagination and emotions of men and women anywhere, any time. It can be a small amulet, a ring, a flag, a statue, a monument, and even a whole city. Think of a wedding ring. Think of the Statue of Liberty or the collapsing Twin Towers of New York, or the toppling statue of Saddam Hussein. Think of the Wailing Wall. Think of Jerusalem. . .
Talisman is a roller-coaster intellectual journey through the back streets and rat runs of history to uncover the traces in architecture and monuments of a secret religion that has shaped the world. The story takes us from Heliopolis to Luxor, Alexandria, Toulouse, Florence, Rome, Paris, London, Washington DC, New York, and finally to the global pandemonium following September 11, 2001. It is a tale filled with romance and intrigue, heroism and faith, peopled by ancient Egyptian astronomer-priests, Christian Gnostics, Hermetic sages, learned Jews, Arab savants, Occitan counts, Cathar “perfects,” Knights Templar, Renaissance magi, Rosicrucian “invisibles,” Bavarian Illuminati, and Freemasons.
Pivotal historical events and processes, not least the Renaissance, the birth of scientific rationalism, and the French and American Revolutions, are radically re-evaluated in the light of new investigative evidence presented for the first time in Talisman. Even the belief that the United States has a “global mission,” so obvious today, may ultimately prove to be less the result of a short-term reaction to terrorism than the inevitable working out of a covert plan originally set in motion almost 2000 years ago.
With its eye-catching amazing revelations, extensive documentation, and all-encompassing theories, Talisman will ensure that its readers will never look at the world in the same way.
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Graham Hancock is the author and co-author of a number of bestselling investigations of historical mysteries, including The Sign and the Seal, The Message of the Sphinx, Heaven’s Mirror, The Mars Mystery, and Underworld. His books have been translated into twenty languages and have sold more than four million copies around the world.
Robert Bauval is the celebrated author of The Orion Mystery and co-author (with Graham Hancock) of The Secret of the Sphinx, The Mars Mystery, and Keeper of Genesis. His contributions to the fields of Egyptology and archaeology have been widely acclaimed.
This sprawling conspiracy theory traces the influence of ancient Egyptian and gnostic ideologies concerning a dualistic, Manichean cosmos prefiguring the earthly order, knowable only through secret, magical lore from medieval Catharism to the French vogue for pharaonic monuments and deities, the astrologically suggestive layouts of Paris and Washington, and the Statue of Liberty (the "Isis of New York"). The conventional explanation for the historical recurrence of gnostic themes and Egyptian iconography—that people peruse old texts and art works and adapt their ideas and symbols to new purposes—strikes Hancock and Bauval (coauthors of Keeper of Genesis) as inadequate. They discern the millennia-long plot of a shadowy gnostic "Organization" working through usual suspects like the Freemasons, whose hidden hand they see influencing everything from the French Revolution to the founding of Israel. The authors draw eye-glazing webs of connections between historical coincidences—some intriguing, others tenuous and forced—to insinuate a "not altogether impossible" master plan. But their proposed conspiracy never gels. Its guiding philosophies, Christian gnosticism and pagan occultism, don't really mesh, and its agenda seems no more coherent than a perennial opposition to the alleged intolerance and obscurantism of the Catholic Church. The book's crude anticlericalism and conviction that culture propagates by conspiratorial, not intellectual, processes make it a distortion of the gnostic mindset.
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