Holy Blood, Holy Grail is a 1982 book written by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. In the book the authors put forward the hypothesis that the historical Jesus married Mary Magdalene, had one or more children, and the bloodline ended up in the south of France where they intermarried with noble families. Their ultimate conclusion is that the fabled Holy Grail, is in fact not a cup, but simultaneously the womb if Mary that bore the children, and the bloodline itself.
I first heard about this book way back at the height of interest in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, a book that draws very heavily on this theory – so heavily that Brown included a homage to the authors by using an anagram of their names for the name of one of his characters.
So, this book, man, it’s tough going. I consider myself to be a history nerd, and have an offshoot interest in alternate takes on history, things that go against the generally accepted narrative. I also love a good conspiracy so after reading and watching and enjoying The Da Vinci Code book and movies in the past I was keen to get into this.
I mean, it is interesting, but I just feel they take way too long to get to their point. They dedicate pages and pages going over historical connections and getting to the bottom of who the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion were through the ages. Then after nearly 300 pages of that they go “But maybe that’s not what we were looking for. Maybe we had been looking at the wrong thing.” I couldn’t help but think “weww you took up a lot of my time to come to that conclusion on page 300 of a 450 page book.”
Finally on page 323 they pose their hypothesis, but then go off on a bit of a tangent to talk about the veracity of the gospels – I actually found this part quite interesting as I have read some very convincing arguments elsewhere about the reliability of these scriptures – and then return to their main thread. I kinda had visions of that dog from the movie Up that was easily distracted. Every time they finally got to the point before long they would go off on a long explanation of one little aspect. It grew tiresome over the course of the book.
There’s some genuinely good and interesting information in there, but I think this gets lost in all the detail. I think this book would only hold the interest of serious history nerds. Casual history fans, and even casual conspiracy theorists would, I reckon, be put off by the screeds and screeds of names and places that the authors put forward.
My conclusion is if you want to get a summary of this book, and have a bit of entertainment thrown in, then you should read The Da Vinci Code.