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The Earth Will Shake: The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles Vol. I | [Robert Anton Wilson]

The Earth Will Shake: The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles Vol. I

They have been with us throughout the ages: the "Invisible College" of wisdom and their adversaries, the destroyers. Naples, Italy, circa 1764: A young aristocrat is about to stumble onto one piece of the great pattern. As witness to a vicious assassination and victim of his passion for the beautiful daughter of his enemy, young Sigismundo Celine is forced to begin a mystical odyssey amidst an ageless clash of Freemasons, Mafia, and the Illuminati.
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Publisher's Summary

They have been with us throughout the ages: the "Invisible College" of wisdom and their adversaries, the destroyers. The history of the world is their story - a conspiracy as vast as time itself.

Naples, Italy, circa 1764: A young aristocrat is about to stumble onto one piece of the great pattern. As witness to a vicious assassination and victim of his passion for the beautiful daughter of his enemy, young Sigismundo Celine is forced to begin a mystical odyssey amidst an ageless clash of Freemasons, Mafia, and the Illuminati.

Sigismundo begins his journey of discovery accompanied by the boy Mozart, the immortal Dr. Frankenstein, and the infamous Casanova as the forces of light and darkness seek to claim him for their own. For all are certain that he is the long-awaited one whose powers - can he but master them - will remold the destiny of the entire world.

Before Dan Brown, Umberto Eco, and The X-Files, there was Robert Anton Wilson and The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles. Beginning in 1982 with The Earth Will Shake, Wilson set out to trace the conspiratorial and philosophical underpinnings of Western history. By the third and final novel, the Chronicles expose the historical cross-currents of Freemasonry, the American Revolution, Rosicrucians, the Marquis de Sade, and the Illuminati, revealing a saga as elaborate and startling as history ought to be!

©1982 Robert Anton Wilson; (P)2006 Deepleaf Productions Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A delicious treat....Wilson is a vivid portraitist with a perfervid imagination, and he regales his readers with occasional infusions of wit. Buy and enjoy." (Analog)
"More important than Ulysses or Finnegan's Wake" (Timothy Leary)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (65 )
5 star
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3.6 (28 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kamal Brampton, Ontario, Canada 09-13-07
    Kamal Brampton, Ontario, Canada 09-13-07 Member Since 2001

    Management consultant, video game player, avid reader of all types of books, and happily married father of four. I'll read just about anything, from Fantasy and SciFi, to mysteries and ChickLit.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A powerful start to the series"

    While starting out a little slowly (not for lack of drama - the book starts with a murder during Sunday mass in the church), the book steadily builds up momentum while weaving together narrative threads like the complementary harmonics of a sonata.

    Intrigue, murder, lust, revenge, class conflict, conspiracy, the book covers the gamut of topics and ties them together in the central character of a somewhat likeable, but very human, Napoli musician - Sigismundo. Starting with the character aged 14 years, and following him for the next six to seven years, the book takes him through his slow maturation while introducing an increasingly complex series of plot elements.

    Where is the rest of the series, I need closure!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Hannibal, MO USA 08-23-09
    Amazon Customer Hannibal, MO USA 08-23-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great second look at history and philosophy"

    Very engrossing tale; VERY disappointing at the end - it ended quite abruptly and the next book in the series is not yet available!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Quartzsite, AZ, United States 06-06-09
    Amazon Customer Quartzsite, AZ, United States 06-06-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for Everyone"

    If you are easily offended by material which questions orthodoxy, stay away from this book, but if you are interested in alternative views of the Universe and the nature of gods and men in the Universe, this book may be for you. While the narration could have been better, it didn't undermine an interesting and thought-provoking story.

    Another thing to consider is that this story ends very abruptly just about the time that it gets going strong. Considering that the sequel, The Widow's Son, has been out for awhile and has yet to make an appearance on Audible, don't expect to get closure any time soon.

    I wish the rest of this series as well as the Schroedinger's Cat trilogy were currently available. Oh, well, a boy can dream.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew mORRINSVILLENew Zealand 07-13-07
    Andrew mORRINSVILLENew Zealand 07-13-07
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    "Hugely entertaining and informative."

    Robert Anton Wilson described himself as “agnostic about everything” and called his writing an attempt to break down conditioned associations and look at the world in new ways. It is with this understanding tucked under our hats that we approach “The Earth will Shake”. This is the first of three books in a series called the “The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles” and follows the adventures of a young Neapolitan noble, Sigismundo Celine. Set in the late 18th century, Sigismundo is a young man perfectly conditioned to his station in life. A member of a wealthy aristocratic family, he is dutiful to the codes and expectations of his class and is a devout and obedient catholic. Piece by piece Sigismundo is impelled by circumstance to begin questioning everything he believes. Beneath a worldview dominated by the Church of Rome and policed by the brutal Dominican’s he discovers a subculture of secret societies and heretical thinking, but even here truth is difficult to determine. In his search Sigismundo must explore deep within himself and learn to question everything he is told. Along the way there is plenty of adventure, a swift flowing plot and a bounty of interesting and complex characters to keep the listener engaged. For those who enjoyed John Crowley’s “Aeygpt”, this novel covers similar ground but is an eminently easier listen. Wilson was an erudite writer with a great skill for disseminating psychological and esoteric concepts within the framework of a fictional story. This is a superior audio production with an excellent narrator. A hugely entertaining and profound work. Well written and deeply appreciated by this reviewer.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Peru, IN, USA 07-02-07
    Kimberly Peru, IN, USA 07-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful"

    This book is a slow starter but it will teach and entertain you to the very end. I cannot wait for the next part!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Albert Manchester, NH, United States 11-25-13
    Albert Manchester, NH, United States 11-25-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Dumb"
    What would have made The Earth Will Shake better?

    Not buying it, and being able to return it without having to jump through hoops


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    t carl 07-10-07
    t carl 07-10-07 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "yawn..."

    I am not expecting great literature from a book about the Illuminati... but I did expect something a *little* more interesting. Perhaps I just didn't get that far, but the earth never even trembled a little for me. I am willing to put up with adolescent self-absorption, and the author's occasional preciousness, and even when my attention wandered, I could pick the story back up again when something happened. It was the second interminable day of unrelieved sermonizing by a sanctimonious Dominican priest that did me in. My iPod battery ran down at that point, and I was not in the least bit tempted to continue listening. Yes, I understand that the priest's point of view represents the church, and its expression is necessary to delineate the moral choices faced by the protagonist -- but do we have to be clubbed into unconsciousness with it?

    Unless you're looking for something to put you to sleep, pass on this one...

    4 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Maple Grove, MN, United States 01-31-12
    Michael Maple Grove, MN, United States 01-31-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Very disapointed"
    What would have made The Earth Will Shake better?

    I read a number of very positive reviews, and that was the only reason I saw this one through to the end. The story was tedious and uninteresting. Aside from mentioning that the characters had ties to masons and illuminati, there was really no insight into either. The narration is what ultimately did me in; at no point did the narrator attempt to to give voice to any of the characters. I've heard more enthusiasm in a Librivox recording, and that is saying a lot. It ended abruptly in a very aggravating way, and there was nothing about this book that made me interested in moving on to book two.


    What could Robert Anton Wilson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    More depth to the secret organizations was needed, not just depth in characters.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Scot Crisp?

    Paul Michael may have assisted in making the story more audibly appealing. He has a great voice and I believe could accomplish the period speak much more successfully, and he definitely would have given the characters their own personalities, which this book needed.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Sparks, NV, United States 06-16-10
    Nancy Sparks, NV, United States 06-16-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Tedious and downright boring..."

    This adolescent journal of a young man's rather hallucinational state of mind is not at all what I expected from the description of this novel. I suppose there's some insight into the secret society of freemasonry and its influence, but the author has chosen to follow the main character's emotional state rather than developing a strong story line. The story is, in fact, virtually non-existant and you reach the end wondering what message the author wished to convey. The narrator speaks so dully that he sounds bored, too.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott nashville, TN, USA 07-12-07
    Scott nashville, TN, USA 07-12-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "aarrgg"

    the narrator made this audiobook totally unbearable.. I would loved to have finished it. but I could not stand the guy monotone reading of the story. So I have no idea if the book is any good guess I'll buy the book and just read it myself.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • caroline
    bristol, United Kingdom
    6/9/11
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    Interesting, great narration, great book that offers something different, i have now got his trilogy,fantastic.
    2 3

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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