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Illuminatus! Part I: The Eye in the Pyramid | [Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson]

Illuminatus! Part I: The Eye in the Pyramid

The Illuminati, an inside joke? The lunatic fringe? Or a vast conspiracy hidden for centuries, unleashing it's power on a naive, defenseless world? It was the lousy luck of Saul Goodman, a tough, streetwise New York detective, to smell the trail in a bombed-out office - the heavy case he'd always dreaded. In a breakneck race against an awesome deadline, Goodman plunges down the trail of the ultimate conspiracy as the days fall away toward Apocalypse.
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Publisher's Summary

"It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton".

So begins this original trilogy of conspiracies, Illuminatus!. For the first time in audiobook form, the unabridged epic is presented in all its grandeur, spookiness, hilarity, and brilliance.

The Illuminati, an inside joke? The lunatic fringe? Or a vast conspiracy hidden for centuries, unleashing it's power on a naive, defenseless world? It was the lousy luck of Saul Goodman, a tough, streetwise New York detective, to smell the trail in a bombed-out office - the heavy case he'd always dreaded. In a breakneck race against an awesome deadline, Goodman plunges down the trail of the ultimate conspiracy as the days fall away toward Apocalypse.

Filled with sex, violence, and rock-and-roll, in and out of time and space, Illuminatus! is only partly a work of the imagination. The trilogy tackles all the cover-ups of our time, from who really shot the Kennedys to why there's a pyramid on the one-dollar bill, and suggests a mind-blowing truth.

Part I: The Eye in the Pyramid is performed by the incomparable Ken Campbell and Chris Fairbank. In 1976, Ken Campbell adapted Illuminatus! for the stage, creating a 10-hour epic that went on to open the Royal National Theatre in London under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth II.

©1975 Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson; (P)2006 Deepleaf Productions Inc.

What the Critics Say

"If baseball can have a designated hitter, why can't science fiction have a designated underground classic? Well, apparently it can, and Illuminatus! is its name." (Booklist)
"The ultimate conspiracy book...the biggest sci-cult novel to come along since Dune." (Village Voice)"If you want to read a riddle wrapped in an enigma within a conundrum that turns out to be the best secret in the world, get the Illuminatus! trilogy." (New Age Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.1 (211 )
5 star
 (58)
4 star
 (48)
3 star
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2 star
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Overall
3.4 (96 )
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3 star
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Story
3.6 (93 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-14-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    "Over the Top and Proud of It"

    I read the trilogy in the 1970's when it first came out. There appears to be a limited audience for the book, as it is disjointed, difficult to follow, and all around over the top. But that is clearly the intent of the authors. This is not intended to be an intellectual discourse on conspiracies, religion, or whatever. But at another level, it succeeds at playing with conspiracies and religion and all in a way that, dare I say, enlightens the reader/listener.

    Reading the book was difficult, and I did not have a linear recollection or understanding of the book when reading it or after it was finished. But it also stuck in my mind as one of the more original and intense books I have experienced (not read, experienced).

    I just finished listening to this first book of the trilogy, and while I found the narrator's piratical, gruff and mumbling style at first off-putting, I quickly became convinced it perfectly matched the book -- the narrator's out-of-control stagger through a staggeringly out- of-control story has contributed to an understanding of the book which I did not get from wading through the written word 35 years ago. The other performer who does the voices equally contributes to a knowing experience of the book. For instance, one of the characters, a 23 year old hippie, is played as a naive juvenile. At first off-putting, it soon becomes a meta-comment on the character -- he is chosen for enlightenment because he is gullible, "but in the right way."

    These books were never intended to be comprehended in a linear fashion, or in detail. More of an understanding of the whole. I plan to obtain the second book and listen after I decompress a bit, and hope the third one is also produced. Some of the messages echo strongly today -- the bad guys planned assassinations and terrorist acts which would leave Americans begging to surrender their freedom for security.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John South Sterling, PA, United States 03-26-08
    John South Sterling, PA, United States 03-26-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "there is nothing like Illuminatus!"

    As you should be able to gather from the other ratings and reviews, you will either really love this trilogy or really hate it. There are no tepid reactions to this one.

    The disjointed presentation of the story (Think a literary version of Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" to get the idea, although the stories have nothing in common.) can make these books confusing at first. Still, I personally find a visceral impact to this trilogy that has not dissipated over time or many, many rereadings. There is literally no other book (or series of books) like this one.

    The narrators do a good job translating this incredibly difficult piece to audio. I'm looking forward to the release of Leviathan.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregg Whitewater, WI, USA 11-26-09
    Gregg Whitewater, WI, USA 11-26-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    3
    1
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    "Pulls you in..."

    I admit the book was a turn off intitially because of the narators voice, however that changes as you grow accustom to it and eventually grows on you. The story line is a bit hard to follow but again once you get used to it, it becomes pleasing and reallly keeps your attention. Like the book I just got done with "the Lost Symbols", I found my self waiting for the next drive in my car to pick it up again. I will be gettting the next book soon, highly recomend to the not so easily entertained!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cmthomas Cincinnati, OH 05-28-09
    cmthomas Cincinnati, OH 05-28-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible and Mind-Bending"

    If you want to take a wild ride the likes of which you have Never experienced; one that'll make you laugh, cry, gag, and think then this is your book. Not to mention that this book prefigures Dan Brown's Angels & Demons by three decades. I think that the people here who seem dissatisfied were not ready for the Adventure that is the Illuminatus! trilogy. Seriously, this book is a challenge(it has a unusual, somewhat stream of consciousness style, but is certainly not nearly as difficult to apprehend as James Joyce's Ulysses or Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49) but the rewards are amazing. This book ranges over history, satire, science, the occult, sex, drugs, rock n' roll and more. If you want the same old pablum, buy some Kevin J. Anderson or a vampire romance. If you want something different, buy it all ready!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin BOCA RATON, FL, United States 03-24-10
    Kevin BOCA RATON, FL, United States 03-24-10 Member Since 2009

    Truth is stranger than fiction, which is why fiction is so important for exposing people to the truth.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A trippy journey into the lunatic fringe!"

    I've only recently taken the red pill and have fallen down the rabbit hole into the world of conspiracies and secret societies and what a ride it's been! Being an author myself, when I first heard of Robert Anton Wilson and his own unique experiences I knew i had to get this book. Quite simply, this book is Awesome! I've never really done drugs but man after listening to this book I feel like i've lived through the sixties and then some, sure it skips around a lot going from time to time and place to place but the way it all comes together as you listen to it is magnificently executed and very reminiscent of how I came across several revelations in my own life, a memory here, a smell there and suddenly everything just clicks.

    Now the audio quality isn't exactly the best, it sounds very dated but at the same time the narrator's grating "smoker" voice fits the story quite well and has very much grown on me. He is almost a character unto himself from time to time.

    A word of caution though, if you come into this book with no knowledge of "conspiracy theories" or "Illuminati" you might get lost, i've personally read a lot of literature on the subjects and was pleased to see how these two writers connect all the dots to make a cohesive worldview, and regardless of your stance on the subject, if you can open your mind just enough to make it through this book you'll definitely see the world with a new perspective... one way or another.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Casey Lakewood, CA, USA 08-02-07
    S. Casey Lakewood, CA, USA 08-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent, and Misunderstood"

    This is one of the best books I've listened to. The confusion and disapproval illustrated by previous listeners, is probably due to a misunderstanding. This is the first third of a novel that was divided into 3 books because at the time it was too enormous to be published in the genre.
    I'd highly recommend reading the rest of the book before judging the download.
    If they don't release the rest of it, I'd imagine they'll have very limited success with the audiobook.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lyette 06-08-14
    Lyette 06-08-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is the book my friends stole from me."

    I had gotten the trilogy my freshmen year of high school and read it twice before loaning it out to my friends. They read it and passed it around to other friends, and eventually lost track of the book.

    We still joke about reading hidden messages between the lines, 15 years later.

    It was an experience, something that needs to be read twice or more to understand most of what's going on in it. I feel like it had prepared me (or desensitized me rather) to some of the more stranger things I would later read and become interested in.

    It is firmly on my quick suggestion lists for younger people looking to make that jump into adult fiction. It's kind of like that one weird mind-screw anime you suggest to people who normally don't watch anime, it's completely out in leftfield and would leave an impression on a person, even if they didn't like it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nikki 07-16-13
    Nikki 07-16-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrator is Awful; The story is good"

    If there was a way to give less than 1 star to the narrator with the English accent, I would. There are two narrators, but the one with the obnoxiously, half drunk sounding English accent is makes this book the worst I've heard. He is screaming half the time and his attempts to do an American accent, especially a female American are abysmal. I am an avid audio book listener and generally not distracted by the narrator of a book. I have read this book previously and this narrator is actually making the story hard to follow. I'm less than 5 hours in and giving up on it. I can't take any more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy 04-18-14
    Randy 04-18-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Please, get a better recording and narration!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I can't get through it due to the narration being too poor. I've read the book twice and love it, I was hoping for the narration to be at least tolerable.


    What didn’t you like about Ken Campbell and Chris Fairbank ’s performance?

    I tried listening for a couple of hours and just had to turn it off, it's unlistenable in my opinion. Get Ken Campbell a glass of water, a better soundproofed room, a wind screen, and a pop filter. At the very least, a pop filter! His dry throat, erratic emphasis of random words and horrible popping of every word that begins with P is ridiculous.


    Could you see Illuminatus! Part I being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I'd love to see it made into a mini series, but it would have to be done on a cable network like HBO, the content is too racy for regular television.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a shame, I would have liked to get the other two books, but this narration and recording is a deal breaker.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Martinsville, VA, United States 10-12-12
    Steven Martinsville, VA, United States 10-12-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Either Brilliant ... or Total Dementia"

    Personally, I'm guessing the latter. Sorry, I tried, but I could not get through even a whole hour of this book. It's not even so much that it didn't make sense (although it didn't!) -- it's more like ... well, I remember trying to read Gulliver's Travels at the age of eleven: I would read a page, go to the next and immediately return to the previous page -- it just would not stick in my mind. Same here -- no matter how many times I listened to particular passages, they just didn't stick! Years later -- with a lot of footnotes -- Gulliver made sense. I'm not sure that footnotes would help this one; in fact, it would probably only add to the chaos.

    But I must admit that if one needs a narrator for this type of book, this would be the one to choose! He does a great mad scientist/conspiracy theorist!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • James
    Beaconsfield, United Kingdom
    11/2/10
    Overall
    "Killed by the Reader"

    I just could not persist with this reader's style. It should be a tremendous story but the reader is shouty.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Inverkeithing, United Kingdom
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "All Hail Eris!"

    The classic uber-conspiracy. If all the conspiracies you had ever heard of were true, then this is what you would have.



    Dan Brown this isn't. This is not a conventional novel. This is discordian.



    All Hail Eris!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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