A bold thriller filled with esoteric secrets, psychedelic rituals, blackmail, and murder
• Follows American archaeologist Monica Bettlheim, her benefactor Maltese billionaire Sebastian Pinto, and Pinto’s son Rafael as they make startling discoveries about the ancient world, hallucinogenic sacraments, and modern-day crime syndicates
• Reveals a secret ritual at the heart of Christianity, knowledge of which was passed on underground by Gnostics and alchemists for centuries
• Explore the use of the Kykeon, the psychedelic brew of the Eleusinian mysteries, which offers those who drink it a direct experience of God
Amid the European refugee crisis, with the background of Southern Europe having become the point of arrival for hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants, Monica Bettlheim, an American archaeologist, is trying to recapture her former fame. She has a mission to uncover prehistoric cultures that conventional archaeology and history both fear and deny. Her search is sponsored by an eccentric aristocrat, the larger-than-life Maltese billionaire Sebastian Pinto.
On an underwater expedition off the coast of Malta, Monica finds a mysterious golden pomegranate that dates back to prehistoric times. Within it, she discovers ancient remnants of the Kykeon, the hallucinogenic sacrament of the Eleusinian mysteries, which offers those who drink it a direct experience of God. As the discovery leads to blackmail and murder, Monica uncovers a secret ritual right at the heart of Christianity, knowledge of which was passed on underground by Gnostics and alchemists for centuries.
Reluctantly, Monica teams up with the elusive and troubled Rafael, Pinto’s son, who for some years has been deeply immersed in esoteric studies. Driven by the need to avenge a murder and uncover the activities of an international crime syndicate, they risk their lives by reviving the sacred ritual--and are confronted by the most terrifying revelation of all.
Joscelyn Godwin was born in Kelmscott, Oxfordshire, England on January 16, 1945. He was educated as a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral School, Oxford, then at Radley College (Music Scholar), and Magdalene College, Cambridge (Music Scholar; B.A., 1965, Mus. B., 1966, M.A. 1969). Coming to the USA in 1966, he did graduate work in Musicology at Cornell University (Ph. D., 1969; dissertation: "The Music of Henry Cowell") and taught at Cleveland State University for two years before joining the Colgate University Music Department in 1971. He has taught at Colgate ever since.
Guido Mina di Sospiro was raised in Milan, Italy. An award-winning novelist and essayist, he has written several books, including The Forbidden Book, coauthored with Joscelyn Godwin. He maintains a blog on Reality Sandwich and for New English Review. He lives with his wife between the Washington, DC, area and central Italy.
"Blending together the Atlantis myth, prehistoric civilizations, alchemy, postmodern politics, international intrigue, and just the right amount of esoteric eroticism, they've come up with a magical cocktail that keeps readers turning the page."
– Gary Lachman, author of Dark Star Rising, and The Return of Holy Russia