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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kamal
  • Brampton, Ontario, Canada
  • 09-13-07

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!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • mORRINSVILLENew Zealand
  • 07-13-07

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.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

RAW Never Disappoints

Such a fascinating book. If you're a fan of Robert Anton Wilson's work in general, you will enjoy this book. If you liked Illuminatus! you will probably enjoy this book. If you've read any amount a RAW's non-fiction work, you'll be delighted to see how he weaves his philosophical and scientific ideas seamlessly into a compelling story. I really wish the sequels had audiobook versions as well.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Pure RAW

This is on par with his best.
Perfectly crafted, I listened to it in two sittings.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

loved it

basically if one has no familiarity with Robert Anton Wilson and his works they'll likely not find this book great. but the book covers many interesting subjects and creates a portrait of history fabricated.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story, I wanted more

written in the same style as the illuminatus trilogy, this has great storyline an interesting subject matter. I just wanted more. but sadly the author is no longer with us

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Nancy
  • Sparks, NV, United States
  • 06-16-10

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.

2 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • caroline
  • 06-09-11

Excellent

Interesting, great narration, great book that offers something different, i have now got his trilogy,fantastic.
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1 of 2 people found this review helpful