Francis Wheen

What Happened to Lincoln?

The Temple and The Lodge

By

Jonathan Cape 332pp £13.95 order from our bookshop

In 1982 Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln wrote a book called The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, which revealed-a number of surprising facts. The wedding at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine, had in fact been Jesus’s own wedding, to Mary Magdalene. The happy couple had had issue, including one unruly boy called Barabbas – the very same Barabbas who was later reprieved while he and his dad were on Death Row. After Christ’s crucifixion, Mary and Barabbas and the other children had escaped to France – where, a few centuries later, their descendants were Merovingian kings. Mary had also taken with her to France her offspring’s birth certificates, the genuine Holy Grail. (San greal = sang real= proof of Jesus’s bloodline, geddit?) From that day to this, the documents had been in the keeping of a secret society called the Priory of Sion, whose ‘Grand Masters’ over the centuries had included Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo and Jean Cocteau. Oh, and the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucians were involved as well, somehow or other. There was no evidence for any of this, but that merely strengthened the authors’ case: the very lack of evidence, they suggested, was itself proof of how efficiently and ruthlessly the Priory had ‘covered up’ its great secret.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Englishmen Abroad in the Reign of Henry VIII'. Free lecture by Dr Susan Brigden, Thurs 18 Oct, 6.30pm Europe Hou… ,
    • It 'contains twists and near misses and bit-part players, everything you might expect from a true-crime story'. Ian… ,
    • Oh normally a week or two before the ceremony itself - so mid-November. ,
    • Ian Sansom reviews The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by… ,
    • 'It is hard to think of an economist who could craft such an elegantly readable account of postwar failure as this.… ,
    • Frederick Forsyth reviews The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by ,
    • . reviews What We Have Lost: The Dismantling of Great Britain by James Hamilton-Paterson ,