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Thursday, March 31, 2011

More on 'All Things Are Lights'

I recently corresponded with Patricia Monaghan — author, DePaul University professor and Robert Shea's widow — about All Things Are Lights, Shea's excellent solo novel, which shares many themes and ideas with ILLUMINATUS! I thought it might helpful to share some of our correspondence:

From my email:

I'm very fond of "All Things Are Lights," and I tend to think of it as a kind of prequel to ILLUMINATUS!, as there are references to many topics covered in the other work, such as the Assassins, the Templars, secret societies and so on.

But I did not notice any directly links between the two works. Were there any names I missed that are common to both works, or anything else that directly ties the two works together? Do you remember if Mr. Shea ever said anything about the relationship between the two?

Part of Dr. Monaghan's reply:

I'm glad you like All Things, which is such a terrific book. You are right in the "prequel" idea in that Bob's interest in secret societies and such folded over from Ill! to All Things, but there was not direct connection. What drove Bob as an historical novelist was an interest in the underdogs of history, the people who were "lost" from a historical point of view. (I keep thinking that Saracen should be made into a movie, now, with the rise in interest in the Islamic world--but of course Bob's Muslim characters weren't terrorists! Well...they were...sort of....) The Cathars were persecuted in what was really a land-grab by the French against the Spanish--in Languedoc today, you can still see, in bars, maps of France before and after the "Albigensian crusade," which make very clear that France exploded in size after grabbing that land. Bob's last published book, Shaman, looked at the Black Hawk War from the Indian side. That was his way--always to focus on the "other" in any historical situation.

For more on Shea (including electronic copies of his books) see my links on the right side of this page.

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