December 19th, 2005

belzoni

[Eliptony Core Sample] Bos-Bue

Bradley, Michael, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic (Hounslow Press, 1988)

Quite a while ago, lhn, mollpeartree, and I went to Canada, and among our stops was (naturally) the McGill University bookstore. lhn began shelf-reading the history section, with me following along behind him. I pulled this book off the shelf, for obvious reasons. lhn claimed then (and claims now) that that book had not been there fifty seconds previously, when he had read that shelf. Whether the paranormality is inherent in the book, or in me, remains an open question, but the book was a prize; dramatic readings from it enlivened much of the vacation thereafter. Starting from the Oak Island mystery and the dubious "Zeno Narrative" (which purports to describe a transatlantic voyage of discovery in 1396 by Venetian sailors in the employ of Henry Sinclair, the Earl of Orkney), Bradley constructs a feverish secret history of Canada, featuring the Holy Grail Lineage, the Knights of Malta, the alleged Samuel de Champlain, the subtile and devious Compagnie du Saint-Sacrament, and ever so many enlarged details of antique maps of Canada. There are also magic bees. His sequel, Grail Knights of North America, is pretty good, and other authors have mined the shaft he sank, but nothing matches the sheer thrill of turning these pages and discovering that yet more delights -- Bernard Baruch! North African glyphs among the Micmacs! Psychic Nova Scotians! -- yawned before me.

Honorable Mentions: Brier, Bob, The Encyclopedia of Mummies; Briggs, Robin, Witches and Neighbors.