Saturday, 2 August 2014

Lazlo Ferran on: Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate

My previous novels had been largely reflections on aspects of my own life and commentary on social structures today. Even Infinite Blue Heaven - A King and A Queen was thus, because I had actually already married into the social structure of Kyrgysztan, the real-life geographical location for the novel.
My own family's roots, uncovered gradually over ten years of concerted research had led me to one Guillaume, a Chevalier (Knight) in 13th Century Languedoc, France. He was my earliest ancestor. Simultaneously, I was pursuing a theological interest in the Cathars; first though reading a number of books my Henry Lincoln, and later an interest in Monségur and the Rennes-le-Château, near where the lost treasure of the Cathars is said to be hidden. The Cathars were an ancient sect who came to prominence and were ruthlessly persecuted by the Catholics in the 1300s, mainly in and around the Languedoc Region of France. Their beliefs were gradually imported from the Mediterranean via the Balkans and possibly originated in Paulian beliefs in post-Roman Istanbul (ancient Constantinople). They believed that the Christian god was really Rex Mundi, or 'God of Earth' and that he was an illusion created by dark forces, while the real God remains hidden somewhere outside Earth. I quite possibly sympathise with the Cathars because my later ancestors probably escaped the Catholic persecution of Huguenots when they came to England in the 1500s.
These two areas of interest came together for me when I discovered that one of my ancestors was cast out by the Catholic Church and prosecuted for some unknown violation. It resulted in him having to pay the church an annual tithe of a man's weight in wheat. What his misdemeanour was, I cannot say, but he was certainly very wealthy and his daughter married well, so it must have been a personal crime against the Church. Was he a heretic, or even a Cathar, even though officially they had all been killed in Monségur 200 years before? I may never know but it started a train of thought which led to me deciding to write a book about heresy in France, and the political implications for a country that was being slowly formed from part of the Frankish Empire.
A year before I started this work, I read both Dan Brown and Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. These books were certainly an influence on me, and Dan Brown's masterful handling of the subject matter was an inspiration. Like him I have been fascinated for many years by the rumour or myth that Mary went to France and that Jesus had a descendant. Like him and many others, I speculate that the Cathars did in fact smuggle a great treasure out of Monségur castle, under the noses of the Royalist besiegers. I also speculate on what that treasure might be and how it might affect our lives if it were discovered in the modern age.
Another feature I wanted to have was deeper characterisation. I don't denigrate what J. K. Rowling has done for fiction's popularity with Harry Potter but I wanted to write something more than a mere fantasy. Some of my characters are world-weary but all have the tell-tale footprints of life all over them.
The final theme I wanted to get into my novel, was the gothic. The themes of blood, death, eroticism, sex and transcendence are all things that I desire in a good novel. My influences were Kate Bush, The Mission, Lord Byron, John Keats (The Eve of St. Agnes is a particularly favourite poem of mine) and to some extent Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Sex and death are the themes that everyone seems attracted to. As a consequence, I couldn't resist a climax to my novel that took place in one of the world's greatest Gothic masterpieces. But you will have to read the novel to find out where ...
Grab your copy today!

No comments:

Post a Comment