Tuesday 17 November 2009

God’s Assassins vs. The Nova Conspiracy

Just about to appear in print is the first volume in the new ‘Devil’s Histories’ series from Ian Allen books. God’s Assassins: The Medieval Roots of Terrorism by Gavin Baddeley and Paul Woods features several extracts from a long conversation I had with the authors earlier in the year: the interview ranged across everything from mind control experiments and the writings of William Burroughs to the ‘military-industrial reality’ of the late twentieth century, as outlined in Welcome To Mars. Here’s an extract from the press release for this extraordinary book:

‘Terrorism the deliberate use of fear as a political tool is mostly regarded as a modern horror, implemented by bombs, hijackings and assassinations. But the roots of terrorism stretch far back to the Middle Ages, when the forefathers of the modern world s most uncompromising Islamist terrorists, such as al-Qaeda, laid down their murderous creed. According to tales brought back to Europe by Marco Polo, the Grand Master of the Assassins fed his followers with hashish before they were indulged with the sexual favours of young houris. The Assassin was then told he had experienced the heavenly garden of Paradise and would spend all eternity there, provided he lived and died in the service of the sect. In God’ s Assassins, the authors reinterpret the history and mythology of the Assassins, to create a thought-provoking collision between past and present which includes: The bloody narrative of the Crusades, when East met West in holy war. The history of assassination in furtherance of religious or political ends, and the myth and reality of drugs as a mnemonic to murder. The concept of brainwashing and the belief in creating sleeper assassins. The recreation of Hasan-i-Sabbah as a phantom subversive by cult writer William S. Burroughs. The Assassin’s creed of modern-day Islamists, with their belief in martyrdom through murder contrasted with the progressive thinking of the Ismailis, the true descendants of Hasan and his Nizari sect. This vibrant living history is compelling reading for everyone intrigued by the crises of our age. Dispelling the idea of political and religious assassinations as a peculiarly modern phenomenon, God’s Assassins also explores the chilling implications of Hasan-i-Sabbah’s legendary dark maxim: Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.’

For an even more detailed press release, click here.

Receiving a copy of the book in the post reminded me of the surprise I felt back in September when watching the trailer announcement for Mark Boswell’s forthcoming feature film Nova Conspiracy at the Cambridge Film Festival and seeing my name listed in the credits. Somehow I can never bring myself say no to any interesting bit of collusion. It’s a subject that I also hope to address in The Bright Labyrinth, as I am clearly my own worst enemy in this respect.

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