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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    143
  • 4 Stars
    72
  • 3 Stars
    48
  • 2 Stars
    36
  • 1 Stars
    71

Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    119
  • 4 Stars
    45
  • 3 Stars
    29
  • 2 Stars
    16
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    33

Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    108
  • 4 Stars
    48
  • 3 Stars
    37
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    19
  • 1 Stars
    32
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  • Overall

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.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • South Sterling, PA, United States
  • 03-26-08

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

  • Overall
  • Gregg
  • Whitewater, WI, USA
  • 11-26-09

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

  • Overall

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

  • Overall

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

couldn't finish it because the narrator

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

a different narrator. his voice is like sandpaper on my ears, i couldn't finish it. lol

Would you be willing to try another one of Ken Campbell and Chris Fairbank ’s performances?

no

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Narrator is absolutely grating.

I could not tolerate the narrator. I read the trilogy years ago, loved the books. I wanted to have another go at it. I don't understand why, when this book is set in the US and the authors are from the US, the narrator sounds like an overly dramatic drunken English sailor. I need subtitles to understand him, which defeats the purpose of an audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

hearing it

great narration, listening to this was much more elucidation than reading the book silently; very fun

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • James
  • 11-02-10

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Luciano Del Bufalo
  • 05-16-17

love

I love it, if you want to read it you are probably ready to get into the journey.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Hugo
  • 05-27-16

brain melting fun

complex, hilarious and down right ridiculous. I will have to go and read the book properly now. average performances made it hard to follow at points, so a thorough read is required.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Edward
  • 04-12-15

Better the book

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Sadly, the narrator sounded both so surprised and overly melodramatic that the book lost all semblance of the original I read in my twenties. I switched off after 10 minutes.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Illuminatus! Part I?

The novel (and its follow-on parts) are excellent, trippy, Discordian novels and I'd recommend them if you like that sort of thing. But read the books unless they are re-recorded.

How could the performance have been better?

Please have somebody else record this book!

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • 12-24-12

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 1 people found this review helpful