How TALISMAN came to be (by Robert G. Bauval)

In March 1990, while in Paris working on a research project with a group of postgraduate students from England, I decided to take a friend to see the Egyptian obelisk at the Place de la Concorde. It was a very cold evening, and few people were about the large, open place where the ancient monument stood. I recall thinking how strangely forlorn it looked, away from its original home at Luxor in Upper Egypt. It was, as far as I knew, the oldest monument in Paris, dating from the reign of Rameses II, c. 1260 BC. It was one of a pair, the other still standing outside the Luxor temple. I realised that I knew virtually nothing about why and how it was brought here to Paris. It was, however, clearly intended to be an integral part of the so-called Historical Axis of Paris which stretched from the Louvre Museum all the way to the district of La Defense.

Nearer the Louvre was, of course, another Egyptian-style monument: the huge Glass Pyramid that stood in the Cour Napoleon. I remembered vaguely that there had been much controversy over this Pyramid back in 1981 when President Mitterand commissioned it, and that the French Press had hinted at ‘Masonic’ influence.


I knew that another even larger monument had also been commissioned by Mitterand at the other extremity of the Historical Axis at La Defense: the gigantic Grande Arche de la Fraternite (Grand Arch of the Brotherhood). The term ‘Grand Arch’ coupled with the word ‘Brotherhood’ evoked the Masonic higher degree known as the Royal Grand Arch degree, and which I recalled reading about in a book on Freemasonry.

I decided to look into all this when back in England. Three years later, in 1993, I made contact with Graham Hancock. The short of the matter is that we decided to co-author a book based on the research and findings that had been stimulated by my visit to Paris in 1990. Graham immediately realised that this book had a much wider historical scope which he could bring into this project. So was born TALISMAN - Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (the original working title was ‘Phoenix Unveiled’). In early 1994 we presented a synopsis to our literary agent who organised a presentation of the book to a London publisher who commissioned the project. Other publishing deals were signed with publishers in Germany, Holland, the USA, Canada, Italy and Japan.

But TALISMAN was destined for a rather unusual career. In 1995, the publishers now agreed that we ought to wait until our book Keeper Of Genesis was published first. This came out in 1996. We then followed this with The Mars Mystery in 1997. In 1998 Graham brought out Heaven’s Mirror, and in 1999 I followed him with Secret Chamber. Then finally there was Graham’s Underworld in 2001. And in late 2001 I was commissioned to write Egypt Decoded by Random House (this book is now due in early 2005). Throughout this time, TALISMAN was kept on the slow burner.

At last, the writing stage for TALISMAN began in late 2002. A first draft was ready by autumn 2003. The book is now in its early production stage, and publication is for 27th May 2004. Graham and I are very proud of TALISMAN, and we have high hopes for its success. I think it is safe to say that we’ve never worked on a project quite like this one. It has taken us on a stimulating intellectual ride across history or, more aptly, across an occult history of the world, from 1st century Gnostic times and early Christian in Egypt, through the Cathar ‘Great Heresy’, the Italian Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the French and American revolutions and finally to the terrible days of September 11th 2001. TALISMAN is that kind of book that completely shakes up our accepted view of history and reveals ‘another history’ that seems too incredible to be true –were it not for the compelling evidence that suggests otherwise.

TALISMAN is not an historical book as such. It is not a conspiracy theory either. It is not even alternative history as we would define it. It is something else, something completely different, something that still does not have its genre or its labels. I suppose the nearest thing to TALISMAN would be a cross between non-fiction versions of Alice in Worderland and The Da Vinci code and Foucald’s Pendulum. TALISMAN, above all, raises the disturbing questions of ‘what is history?’ and ‘what is truth?’ and looks at some big events and big characters in history through a powerful intellectual microscope that reveal strange ideas and even stranger landscapes that, after they are brought into the open and ‘seen’ by all, leaves you with an internal conflict which fluctuates between what is true and what is believed to be true –and what is there but should not be there…

In the light of the confusion of current events –the ‘War on Terrorism’, the ‘Liberation of Iraq’, ‘the Israel/Palestine Road Map’ and the paranoia that has gripped the Western world since 911— TALISMAN puts forwards a completely new view of ‘history’ that is as unconventional as it is disturbing. A ‘history’ that most will hope is not true...and yet, and yet, the evidence is annoyingly there…

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