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.
"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)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 14-02-2008
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.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
By John on 26-03-2008
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.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Cal E. on 16-04-2018
An amazing trip
Great first experience with this book, already on the second part as I digested this one in only two days it was so engrossing. A freaky amount of synchronicity with experiences in my life made it even more engaging.
The performances were good only critique being that the mixing and mastering was poor, often breathing was very noticeable and even sirens heard at one point. Even with those little annoyances I will be listening again to this in the near future and have ordered off eBay some copies of original 70s paperbacks.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By James on 02-11-2010
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 7 people found this review helpful