The Time Quest
THE BILLION-DOLLAR SCAM
It is one of the grandest frauds of human history, a scheme so devilish even many of its victims refuse to grasp the harm being done them... It is also a phantasmagoric mystery that purports to tie Jesus and Mary Magdalene to Leonardo da Vinci, the Knights Templar, the Merovingian kings of France, secret societies, and current events in Europe and the Middle East...
It begins in the gray days of 1930's Europe, when a skinny youth named Pierre Plantard, the source of all these 'Holy Blood' myths, becomes intrigued by obscure details about the occult side of French history, and--according to Oxford-trained scholar Amy Bernstein--he also becomes fascinated by the "nationalist and anti-Semitic principles of Paul Le Cour, who... exercised a major influence on Pierre..." [SDVC (see below) p. 79]. Plantard desperately longs to make something important of himself, to rise above all the disaffected young men inhaling the bitter, dark Fascist and Socialist brews then percolating in the coffee houses of France.
Beginning in the 1930's, Bernstein says, Plantard's "involvement... with anti-Masonic and anti-Semitic nationalist organizations" leads him to found "an association called The French Union, in 1937, 'to engage in purifying and renewing France.'" ["The French Confection," by Amy D. Bernstein, PhD., in SECRETS OF THE DA VINCI CODE (U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, 2004), here cited as "SDVC", p. 79]
Here is where the story gets murky. Although he is continually involved in what Bernstein suggestively terms "shadowy activities with right-wing and nationalist organizations" before and after the war, Pierre seems to have little visible means of support for decades; the only clue is a French prison term in the early 1950's for "fraud and embezzlement" [SDVC p. 79].
Laura Miller, writing in The New York Times Book Review, as reprinted by U.S. News, calls Plantard (now deceased) "an inveterate rascal... [who has] affiliations with wartime anti-Semitic and right-wing groups" [Emphasis ours: SDVC p. 77]. The war in question was the Second World War, of course, and Plantard had to prove his anti-Nazi status. So he joined the Resistance to fight the Nazis in France.
[To obtain U.S News & World Report's Special Edition, SECRETS OF THE DA VINCI CODE, and Dan Burstein's related books, see below.]
Others claim that, in spite of his conviction for embezzling money from others and squabbling over minor book royalties [SDVC pp. 79-80], Plantard was actually very wealthy [EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL by Robert Anton Wilson (Harper, NY, 1998) p. 370. Hereafter: "EIUC"]. In fact, his admirers claim he was "a proven hero of the [French] Resistance [against the Nazis] during World War II, [and] an associate of Charles de Gaulle [EIUC p. 370]...who survived capture and torture by the Gestapo" [EIUC p. 116]. On the other hand, one of his close associates in the sixties coyly hinted that Plantard was a genuine descendant of a special 'Israelite bloodline derived from ancient space aliens' [EIUC pp. 149-151, 370; SDVC p. 80].
Clearly, someone has woven a lot of myth around Plantard, and if anyone had a motive and a demonstrated interest in doing so, it was Pierre Plantard himself [CDC p. 113].
In 1981, it was suggested that Plantard might be involved in an attempt to create a "theocratic United States of Europe, ruled simultaneously by the Hapsburgs and by a radically reformed Church" [HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL by Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent, and Richard Leigh (Dell, NY 1983) p. 410. Hereafter: HBHG].
It would appear that the political side of that dream is well on its way to fruition in the European Union [The Sion Revelation by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince (Touchstone, NY, 2006) pp. 396-431]. But the theology of that Union is emerging as well [Ibid.]. It is a combination of a kind of New Age socialism balanced with ever-growing antisemitism fueled by Islamic immigration ["Does Current Immigration Policy Doom American Jewry?" On-line article (2004): www.CIS.org].
What many may not realize, however, is that Nazism and the New Age movement had common origins among leading figures in the Theosophical Society of Helena Blavatsky [ASTROLOGY AND THE THIRD REICH by Ellic Howe; THE OCCULT CONSPIRACY by Michael Howard (Destiny, VT, 1989) pp. 123-140]. Even more ominous, the Nazis had major allies among Moslem nations and leaders, alliances that continued long after Hitler was defeated [See the opening of THE ODESSA FILE by Frederick Forsythe].
Philosophically, a member of the "National Socialist Workers Party" ('NAZI' Party) would find much in common with the EU's current religious and political outlook [The Sion Revelation, pp. 349-351, 375, 403-404, et al]. In many ways, the growing anti-Semitism within the EU, its dalliances with Islam, its growing hatred of America, its ever-expanding list of members, its quasi-fascist corporate socialism, and its threatened legislation against the Bible, are all ominous echoes of the Third Reich [Ibid.]. Many are now wondering openly about what really happened to the Nazis after the war: Are they and their heirs now secretly influencing the EU and perhaps aspects of the U.S. government? That question is being openly debated in America and Europe.
All of which returns us to the seemingly inconsequential Pierre Plantard, who leaves a French prison in 1953 [CDC(see below) p. 112], a convicted embezzler, and four years later attempts to enter politics [SDVC p. 79]. Hardly the qualifications one would expect, but Hitler turned a prison term into a political platform in Germany in the 1920's.
As his vehicle to power, Plantard casts his eyes upon a nearby mountain called "Sion" and decides to call his tiny group of followers the "Priory of Sion" [Cracking DaVinci's Code by James L. Garlow and Peter Jones (Victor, Colorado Springs, 2004), here cited as: "CDC", p. 112]. A year later, unsuccessful, Plantard revises his plan [SDVC p. 79], much as Hitler had done after his early setbacks. Casting his gaze beyond the local Sion, Plantard next devises a grand scheme of unprecedented chutzpah:
Pierre Plantard begins to stake a claim that he is a biological heir of the Messianic throne of Jesus [SDVC pp. 77,80]. He changes his name to Pierre Plantard St. Claire [CDC p.113] and produces an impressive series of forged genealogies to link himself to Jesus and Mary Magdalene [SDVC pp. 77,80].
None of it is true, of course. Plantard cynically forges all the documents and completely fabricates the Priory history [SDVC pp. 77-80; CDC p. 113]. He has recruited a couple of people to help him, but the entire thing (except for two pre-existing 19th-century texts he adapts to his scheme [SDVC p. 80]) is a post-1955 hoax, as he will eventually admit under oath in a French court in 1993 [CDC p. 113].
Unfortunately, by the time Plantard confesses his scam in court, the story will have acquired a fabulous global life of its own.
Plantard and company spend much of the 1960's forging and planting documents in French libraries [SDVC p. 77]. But they have a problem. By now they realize that the public tends not to trust people convicted of fraud and embezzlement. Plantard desperately needs to find someone else to 'front' for him, preferably some naive media figure who can be conned into ignorantly promoting these forgeries.
In England, a BBC documentary maker named Henry Lincoln takes the bait and begins asking questions about the mysterious 'Priory of Sion' [HBHG pp. 23-25]. Lincoln not only thinks the Priory really is centuries old, he even convinces two of his friends, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, to help him prove it to the world [HBHG p. 25]. Together the three pawns are led to the location of one fake document after another, like three blind mice sniffing after pieces of moldy cheese dragged by strings through a maze [HBHG pp. 23,31,39, etc... to p. 412].
No journalist would want to be caught in such a trap, of course. But the cheese reeks of Jesus supposedly having children by Mary Magdalen, and that is simply too tempting to ignore, especially for men who take delight in discrediting 'fundamentalist' Christianity [HBHG, pp. 14-16]. The three mice go scampering around France, as Plantard watches his ruse play out.
But something goes wrong. In the 1970's, one of Plantard's co-conspirators begins to divulge the hoax [Laura Miller, The New York Times Book Review, as quoted in SDVC p. 77]. Plantard himself can hardly contain the secret and begins telling friends how he faked the documents [SDVC p. 80]. The whole scheme is in danger of collapsing if Lincoln and his buddies catch on. The three go on to publish their own book effectively suggesting Plantard as an heir of Jesus and Mary Magdalen [HBHG pp. 412-413]. They title it, "THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL" or in America, simply "HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL" [HBHG p. 10]. Astonishingly, even though the hoax begins disintegrating in plain sight [SDVC p. 80], Lincoln's trio somehow manage to overlook the public collapse of the conspiracy.
Or so they seem to want their unsuspecting readers to believe: Note how even their book's final conclusions use hedge-words like "hypothesis" (p. 406), "presumably" (p. 410), "speculative" (p. 411), and "alleged" (p. 415).
By this time, it seems, the story is not only too good to be true, it is also too scandalous to be stopped. That is, the desire on the part of some of its advocates to undermine or overthrow 'fundamentalist' Christianity is so irresistible that they go forward with the story even though the whole thing has been exposed as a hoax. On the increasingly slim chance that there may be some sliver of credibility to the scandal, anti-Christian motives drive people to write books further promoting this fictitious 'Priory of Sion' scheme. A small industry takes root as dozens of books appear to reinforce the bogus claims.
By 1993, when Plantard confesses his scam in open court [CDC p. 113], the momentum of the hoax has become unstoppable. Millions of dollars are being generated by the story. Why tell the public the truth and sidetrack this gravy train? Too many people are getting rich from these fables.
In 1997, the BBC finally admits its unintended role in spreading the hoax and seeks to warn the public [SDVC pp. 77,80]. But it is too late. Much of a generation has grown up believing in Planatard's grand delusion. And too many people have been profiting from it.
But the avalanche of books filled with pseudo-history is only beginning. Once it becomes clear that writers can get rich making accusations against Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity, dozens of authors begin grinding out such books, knowing millions of people will buy and read them, not because they are true, but because so many readers want them to be true.
If the non-fiction world has become a fantasy-land, it is nothing compared to the fables spread via out-right fiction.
In 2002, a man named Dan Brown writes a novel, The DaVinci Code [TDVC], based upon the discredited Priory of Sion myth. Although Brown claims to have researched the matter for several months before writing his novel, his book turns out to be riddled with historical errors [SECRETS OF THE CODE ed. by Dan Burstein (CDS Books, 2004); CDC; SDVC].
At this point, no one knows whether Brown knew of the hoax before he began to write or was merely another victim of it. But the outlandish 'historical' accusations in his books have come under increasing criticism:
To cite a few instances, Brown has one of his characters assert that the Vatican engaged in a Holocaust of gender-cide, burning 5-million women as witches during the Inquisition [TDVC, p. 125]. In fact, there is no evidence that even one woman was burned alive as a witch by the Vatican Inquisition [CDC pp. 64-67]. The Church itself could not execute anyone; the matter was in the hands of local civil authority and varied from nation to nation [Encyclopedia Britannica 14th ed. Vol. 4, p. 438. Hereafter: "EB"]. For example, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Northern France, Russia, and all of eastern Europe, the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East (except for Cyprus) and Asia had no executions at all under the Inquisitions [The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913 ed.) Vol. VIII, pp. 30-37. Hereafter: "CE"].
The Encyclopedia Britannica stated that, when witches were executed, "in practice, the convict was strangled before being burnt" [EB p. 438b]. Even wiccan scholars themselves argue that the total number of people condemned was not in the millions, but closer (they claim) to 40,000, men and women both [CDC p. 66]. But that's hardly an objective number either.
For one thing, the Inquisition was directed against heresy, not witchcraft[CE pp. 26-30a]. It was far more interested in Protestants than in a witch who nevertheless believed in Catholicism. So the estimated 40,000 condemned by the Vatican and Spanish Inquisitions were rarely witches, but when any were, witchcraft was a secondary issue to matters of heresy [CE pp. 29-37].
It turns out that not every one of the supposed 40,000 who were condemned were actually executed; the notorious "burning" sentence of "auto de fe" referred to any decision, not just execution, including release from custody upon public confession and penance, pilgrimage (as a punishment), limited imprisonment, fine, mitigation of previous sentence, and outright acquittal [CE, pp. 31a, 34b, 37b].
Moreover, the accused, even if clearly guilty, was given multiple opportunities to avoid a death sentence [CE pp. 34-35]. As a result, execution was rare; local records show from 80-97% of convictions resulting in non-lethal penalties even at the height of the Inquisition [CE pp. 30b, 31a, 32-34].
The worst case of a 'blood-thirsty' Inquisitor was a converted Bulgarian Cathar [the Cathars are heroic martyrs in HBHG] who became a Dominican Inquisitor and had 180 persons executed on a single day, May 29, 1239; yet when the Pope discovered what this Inquisitor had done, the Pope defrocked him and had him condemned to prison for life [CE p. 35a].
So the supposed Holocaust of 5-million women burned alive by the Church never happened. Not even modern wiccan scholars agree with this huge number [CDC pp. 64-67], a fact someone at his publisher could have discovered in a few minutes on-line before Brown's book was rushed to press [CDC p. 67].
This is not to say that local civil authorities never executed any witches, nor burned their bodies in public; they did, and on rare occasion these civil victims were burned alive [EB p. 438]. And the Church certainly did have heretics killed [CE pp. 33-37]. But the scattering of hundreds of documented local civil executions is hardly the horrific Vatican-directed holocaust of 5-million women that Brown's book claims.
Equally bogus, of course, is Brown's fictional theme that Leonardo da Vinci was involved in hiding some great secret for the Priory of Sion, for there was no such organization at the time because Pierre Plantard admitted he did not invent it until the 1950's [CDC p. 112; SDVC pp. 77,79-80].
One of Brown's most fabulous contentions is that about 80 gospels (try to picture this) were deliberately removed from the Bible by the Church in the 4th century [TDVC pp. 231,234]. Of course, primitive methods of book-binding in those days could not have bound into one volume all these other gospels. Brown's fictitious 80 gospels' supposed lengths are unknown since manuscripts of them do not exist, nor did anyone at the time make any reference to 80 such gospels, but they presumably would have totaled over 240 pages at the very least, had they been real. Adding another 240 pages or more to the New Testament at that time would have been physically impossible.
On the other hand, no scholar, not even those who are considered the harshest critics--those of the 'Jesus Seminar--have ever identified 80 such Gospels, much less said that they were removed from the text of the Bible [Note that barely a dozen 'other' gospels are included in THE COMPLETE GOSPELS by the 'Jesus Seminar,' ed. by Robert J. Miller (Harper, San Francisco, 1994) pp. v-viii, 1-5].
The fact is, not even one alternative Gospel has ever been found bound into a manuscript of the Bible [NEW TESTAMENT GREEK MANUSCRIPTS: ACTS ed. by Reuben Swanson (William Carey International University Press, Pasadena, 1998) pp. 509-513. Hereafter: "NTGM"].
Conversely, not one book of the Bible was found among the texts buried at Nag Hammadi; only Gnostic and pagan writings were in that 'library' [THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY ed. James M. Robinson (Harper, San Francicso, 1990) pp. v-xiv, 1-26. Hereafter: "TNHL"]. Only six of these Nag Hammadi texts are even called 'Gospels,' and some of these are either later essays (and hence, not really 'gospels' at all) or take place mostly after Jesus ascends into heaven [TNHL pp. 139-160, 523-527].
Consider the only ancient text to assert physical contact by Jesus with Mary Magdalene: The so-called 'Gospel' of Philip. Scholars admit that not only is this 4th-century manuscript not a 'gospel,' it actually is a late Gnostic catechism or essay that has nothing to do with the Apostle Philip [TNHL pp. 139-141]. The oft-cited quotation about Jesus kissing Mary on the "mouth" doesn't exist; "mouth" was added by translators, who in one case later removed it [Compare TNHL, 1978 ed., p. 138, with TNHL, 1988 ed., p. 148]. The original may just as easily have said "cheek" or "hair" or "hand" or some other less sexually-charged term than "mouth."
Kissing Mary would not have upset the Apostles had she been Jesus' wife [1 Cor 9:5], if indeed this late text even records any actual events at all. The text claims the Apostles were jealous, which can hardly refer to the Apostles wanting Jesus to marry them.
Nor were the Apostles demanding Jesus have sex with them, or have children by them, or any of the other silly things some modern writers have tried to infer that Jesus was doing with Mary Magdalen in this passage. The prosaic truth, however, is that this text is about the time and attention that Jesus was supposedly devoting to Mary in public, not any supposed private sexual activity, of which the text says nothing [TNHL p. 148].
One thing the Gospel of Philip does make clear is that Jesus did not leave behind a biological heir. The text plainly states that Jesus "had no son" and clearly indicates its contention that Jesus could not beget offspring: "Who [Jesus] has been begotten [by the Father] cannot beget [children at all]." The Gospel of Philip teaches that Jesus was not supposed to have any children by anyone, whatever Mary Magdalen's questionable status might have been [The Gospel of Philip translated by Jean-Yves Leloup [Inner Traditions, VT, 2004] p. 63].
Notice that Brown, Baigent, Leigh, Linclon, Plantard, Pricknett, Prince and many other promoters of the myth of Jesus' offspring never tell their readers what the Gospel of Philip actually said about the fundamental claim of their books. They fail to inform their readers that their only ancient source for a supposed Jesus 'marriage' denied Jesus had or could have had any children at all [Ibid.].
The supposed 'wife' reference is based upon the Gospel of Philip's use of the word "companion," which was possibly derived from the group of women who "accompanied" Jesus and the Apostles, including their mothers [Mt 27:55-56; Mk 15:40-41; Lk 8:1-3; 23:49, 55]. So there is no certainty this term means "wife."
In any case, some translators place the "companion" text in the preceding passage, which is about Sophia ("Wisdom"), and do not connect it with the Mary Magdalen passage at all [NEW TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA, Vol.1, ed. Wilhelm Schneemelcher, trans. R. McL. Wilson (Westminster, Louisville, 1991) p. 194]. The deeper one looks into this 'evidence,' the more it simply evaporates.
For more on this, see our 'Gospel of Philip' page.
One of the biggest fables the Dan Brown novel tells is that Constantine ordered the creation of fictitious versions of the Gospels and the removal of the original Gospels [TDVC, p. 234]. We know this is false because we have most of the texts of the four Gospels from before and after Constantine, and the changes Brown says were made are not in the texts [NTGM: MT, MK, LK, JN pp. i-xii]. The hard evidence of the ancient manuscripts refutes such accusations [Ibid.; THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS: ARE THEY RELIABLE? by F.F. Bruce (Inter-varsity, 1960) p. 20].
Long before Constantine showed up, pagan critics of Christianity like Lucian, Celsus, and Porphyry knew of only the same four Gospels we now use and tried to show contradictions between them [HOW TO READ CHURCH HISTORY, Vol.1, Jean Comby (Crossroad, NY, 1985) pp. 31-33: HRCH]. Imagine the fun they would have had comparing 80 Gospels. Of course, the only thing preventing them from doing exactly that was the fact that the pre-Constantine texts they were using only had Matthew, Mark, Luke and John's Gospels [HRCH p. 33]. They were attacking Christian belief in the divinity of Jesus and His resurrection in the second and third centuries [HRCH pp. 31-33], which was several generations before the Council of Nicea and Constantine.
Several writers have now written books filled with similar examples of Brown's errors. Unfortunately, many readers fall for the novel's fictitious veneer of historical research and never bother to read any alternative viewpoint documenting his numerous errors.
With so many of his 'facts' proven false, Brown has now retreated to the defense that it was 'only a novel' and one should not have to defend the statements of a work of fiction. Unfortunately, Brown makes such statements at the beginning of his novels as, "References to all works of art, tombs, tunnels, and architecture in Rome are entirely factual... the brotherhood of the Illuminati is also factual" [ANGELS & DEMONS by Dan Brown (Pocket Books, NY, 2001): A&D]. And, "FACT: The Priory of Sion--a European secret society founded in 1099--is a real organization...All description of artwork, architecture, [and]documents...in this novel are accurate" [SDVC p. 81]. He includes all sorts of maps and other "FACT(s)" [his word] as a preface to his 'fiction' [A&D Ibid.]. Yet when caught in various errors about DaVinci's artwork [SDVC p. 81] and about documents like the Bible and Gnostic manuscripts [CDC pp. 130-170], he says he is 'just a novelist.'
When one examines the actual historical data behind all the Priory of Sion's bizarre accusations, it is surprising how little support really exists. The critics have gotten away with so much foolishness primarily because the defenders of Christianity usually are as ignorant of the historical evidence as are their opponents. "Faith alone" might be valid as a theology, but it is worthless as an apologetic approach. Facts decide these debates, and if Christians want to prevail, they must do their homework and be prepared to give a defense for the faith that they hold [Phil 1:17; 1Pt 3:15].
One of the Christian critiques of TDVC was written by a pair of PhD's, with credits that include Harvard Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary [CDC p. 10]. Secular credentials in theology do not get much better than theirs. But their book is badly conceived, being structured around a fictional story-line about female college students that distracts from the facts in contention. Their clumsy approach shows that mixing fiction with non-fiction is risky, whether done by Brown or by his critics.
Nevertheless, The DaVinci Code has sold tens of millions of copies. Because of these huge sales, Hollywood's liberal elite salivated at the prospect of making a fortune by savaging the Savior's virginity and the Vatican's sanctity. For many liberals, attacking Christianity is as satisfying as attacking Republicans. For these liberals, The DaVinci Code is not about theology; it's about politics.
But politics makes strange bedfellows: Can a hoax created by French forgers identified with anti-Semites [SDVC pp. 77,79] and condemned in The New York Times [p. 76] still be honored by left-coast liberals with impunity?
It turned out that Hollywood has more integrity and backbone than many conservative Christians would like to admit. To their credit, film director Ron Howard and his screenwriter did not allow Brown's failings to fully contaminate their movie version of The DaVinci Code. They carefully corrected and edited out most of Brown's fake history data, eliminating the nonsense about Constantine, Nicea and the 80 gospels. They also greatly watered down Brown's exaggerated witch-burning statistics, apparently aware that even wiccan scholars themselves reject Brown's excesses. On balance, the movie was far more credible than the silly novel upon which it was based. Ironically, that may lend more respect to Brown's notions than they deserve.
Of course, Dan Brown's ignorance of history probably extends to Plantard's shady past. We must assume Brown had no idea about the anti-Semitism lurking around the hoax. No doubt he would never have gotten involved with it had he known.
Potentially, Brown will be offering Hollywood a trilogy of novels based on the same characters [SDVC pp. 16-19,87]. Tinseltown's calculators are whirring far past the first film's $300-million, as eyeballs full of cash visualize future film, video and DVD revenues [SDVC pp. 18-18].
The total estimated take for books, movies, videos, DVD's, and tee-shirts... is a staggering ONE BILLION DOLLARS [SDVC pp. 18-19].
Brown himself may have already made over $30-million, based on his 15% royalty on an estimated $210-million in hardcover sales for this one book alone [SDVC p. 18]. Other books by Brown and by other writers and other movies based on their works would obviously add millions more to the totals.
Pierre Plantard should have been pleased. And so must the shadowy men who may have have sponsored his bizarre claims for decades. They may or may not have gotten rich, but they have surely obtained something far more valuable than money:
Power to misinform the minds of millions.
But to what end? What goal has all their plotting aspired to achieve? Whom does this Grail Hoax serve?
At the close of their book, the three authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail provide a series of chilling clues:
The Priory conspiracy, they insist, "is well-financed" and supported and encouraged by "men in responsible and influential positions [in government, finance, business, and the mass media]..." [HBHG p. 412].
There is a global desire, they insist, for a "'priest king' in whom mankind can safely repose its trust" [HBHG p. 412].
Popular religious emotions, the authors note, are "a source of immense potential power" that "can be channeled" to serve the conspiracy's goals [HBHG p. 412].
Finally, they conclude, the Priory's hidden masters are thereby well-situated to provide "an alternative to existing social and political systems" by offering the world "the advent of Jesus' lineal descendent...a kind of Second Coming" [HBHG pp. 412-413].
Unfortunately, Christians are all too familiar with this line of thought: It is a classic argument for the Antichrist.
From where else could so many lurid lies and sexual slanders have come forth? It requires no gift of discernment to sniff out the venomous spirit that lurks behind that fetid veil of Deceit.
ORDERING MAIN SOURCE MATERIALS:
To order the U.S. News & World Report special issue SECRETS OF THE DA VINCI CODE, go to their website: www.usnews.com/special
To order the books U.S. News used as major sources for its special issue--SECRETS OF THE CODE, ed. by Dan Burstein (21 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List), or his newest book, SECRETS OF ANGELS & DEMONS, with Arne de Keijzer, call the publisher, CDS Books, weekdays: (800) 343-4499. Or order on-line at www.SecretsOfTheCode.com
As of May 16th, 2005, Dan Brown's original book in the 'DaVinci Code' series, ANGELS & DEMONS, is out in paperback on local newsstands and supermarket racks. These and all the other books should be available from your local bookstores or through public and/or educational libraries or via Amazon.com.
Finally, for one of the most detailed accounts of Plantard's hoax and its historical and philosophical context, read The Sion Revelation by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, who to their credit have backtracked from their initial naive support for Plantard's fantasy to reveal the real story, albeit still unwilling to abandon their anti-Christian bias. That is just as well, for now that the former supporters of the fable are beginning to refute it, they can hardly be accused of doing so merely to defend Jesus. The turn-about is all the more significant because Picknett and Prince's earlier book [The Templar Revelation] had been implicitly cited by Brown's novel itself as the first of his three primary sources [TDVC p. 273].