Why is a notorious religious cult of assassins keeping him alive?
His teenage daughter is viciously murdered in Lyon by a long-forgotten and blood-thirsty biblical monster. A former WWII MI6 agent, our hero is suspected of her murder by the police and his divorcing wife.
With supernatural powers of foresight he goes on the run to clear his name. He has only one friend — a historian and member of the modern Knights Hospitaller but with his help he embarks on a white-knuckle ride to salvation.
In Paris a witch servant of the mysterious Catholic assassin sect Concilium Putus Visum seduces him during his quest for the secret weapon of the Cathars. If he can solve a puzzling set of clues to find the weapon, he might kill the monster and save his marriage.
But why do the assassins and the monster seem to be protecting him?
Lovers of Dan Brown's evocative mix of mystery and history will love this Occult Thriller — a dark and powerful tale.
From the author:
My own family's roots, uncovered gradually over ten years of concerted research, had led me to one Guillaume, a Chevalier (Knight) in 13th Century Languedoc, France. He was my earliest ancestor. Simultaneously, I had been pursuing a theological interest in the Cathars; first though reading a number of books by Henry Lincoln and later through an interest in Monségur and the Rennes-le-Château, near where the lost treasure of the Cathars is said to be hidden. The Cathars were an ancient sect who came to prominence and were ruthlessly persecuted by the Catholics in the 1300s, mainly in and around the Languedoc Region of France. Their beliefs were gradually imported from the Mediterranean via the Balkans and possibly originated in Paulian beliefs in post-Roman Istanbul (ancient Constantinople). They believed that the Christian god was really Rex Mundi, or 'God of Earth' and that he was an illusion created by dark forces, while the real God remains hidden somewhere outside Earth. I quite possibly sympathise with the Cathars because my later ancestors probably escaped the Catholic persecution of Huguenots when they came to England in the 1500s.
These two areas of interest came together for me when I discovered that one of my ancestors was cast out by the Catholic Church and had been prosecuted for some unknown violation. This resulted in him having to pay the church an annual tithe of a man's weight in wheat. What his misdemeanour was, I cannot say but he was certainly very wealthy and his daughter married well so it must have been a personal crime against the Church. Was he a heretic or Cathar, even though officially they had all been killed in Monségur 200 years before? This question started me on my journey.
A year before I started this work, I read both Dan Brown and Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. These books were certainly an influence on me. Like him, I have been fascinated for many years by the rumour or myth that Mary went to France and that Jesus had a descendant. Like Brown and many others, I speculate that the Cathars did in fact smuggle a great treasure out of Monségur castle, under the noses of the Royalist besiegers. I also speculate on what that treasure might be and how it might affect our lives if it were discovered in the modern age.
I wanted deeper characterisation. I wanted to write something more than a mere fantasy. Some of my characters are world-weary but all have the tell-tale footprints of life all over them.
Lastly, I wanted the gothic. The themes of blood, death, eroticism, sex and transcendence are all things that I desire in a good novel. My influences were Kate Bush, The Mission, Lord Byron, John Keats (The Eve of St. Agnes is a particularly favourite poem of mine) and, to some extent, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Sex and death are the themes that everyone seems attracted to. As a consequence, I couldn't resist a climax to my novel that took place in one of the world's greatest Gothic masterpieces. But you will have to read the novel to know why.