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Why I did not join with Baigent and LeighClick here for rss feed
Posted on: Sat Dec 5 2009

I have received a number of requests for an explanation of why I did not join with Baigent and Leigh in the case for plagiarism which they brought against Dan Brown.

I will confess that this is a subject which I have been reluctant to approach, as it touches upon matter which I find extremely distasteful and which, in large part, has been the cause of my previous years of silence. It is, however, a subject which has been hovering in the background for too long and which I have been aware that, in the interests of honesty, I would eventually have to confront. Let me begin with what was publicly reported:
My non-participation, according to the Press, was presumed to be “due to ill-health?. This is nonsense. I do not believe that the fact that I now find walking an extremely painful exercise, has any effect upon my brain! (Though I leave this to others to judge.)
Not surprisingly, I was approached by Baigent’s and Leigh’s literary agent in an attempt to persuade me to join with them in the action and I was bound to give the matter my serious consideration. Especially since it is obvious that The da Vinci Code - (which I shall deal with at another time) - had drawn extensively upon our work. For example: M. Plantard and his Prieuré de Sion would never have been heard of outside France – (and perhaps not even there) - had we not reported our researches and personal meetings in Holy Blood, Holy Grail.
However I decided against, for several reasons :
1. Our book had been in the public domain for almost a quarter of a century and many writers – (including Richard Leigh’s sister) – had used our material and our hypothesis. Why had we made no earlier objection?
2. Millions of people in their twenties and thirties had been too young even to be aware of HBHG when it was first published. Our hypothesis, as expressed in Brown’s book, came to them with the freshness and power of a thunder-bolt. Indeed, we had ourselves pointed out that a special curiosity of biblical scholarship is its ability to bury a ‘new’ idea, so that it must be repeated afresh for each new generation.
3. HBHG had been a best-seller on publication. Not many authors have the good fortune to see their work back in the best-seller lists after more than twenty years.
4. Our royalties had received a considerable boost from Brown’s book. Where, therefore, lay our cause for complaint?

The answer, it seemed to me, lay in money. The very great deal of money pouring into Mr Brown’s coffers. But what made me think that here lay a great part of my co-authors’ motivation? To answer this question, I must pose another.
Would it be considered proper that only two out of three writers of a book should be entitled to share its royalties? More specifically, should not I, as one of the co-authors of our second book – The Messianic Legacy – be expected to receive my one-third share?
I would imagine that most people would consider the answer to this question to be “Yes?. However, such is not the case. My fellow-authors found a means to retain my third, suggesting that it was for me to prove that I had any rights therein.
Here lies the aspect of this business which I find most distasteful. That they had conceived of such an idea, I find incredible – that they carried it out, I consider despicable. Even were their arguments valid – which I do not consider them to be – the selfish ingratitude strikes me as being appalling. Such venality is, in my eyes, beneath contempt. I had given them - freely - the results of my years of research.

I do not wish to give the impression that I am seeking recompense ... the sums involved are small ... but to indicate attitude. It seems that there are some who set a higher store on money than do others. Perhaps from this, you may gain an insight into my reasons for ‘keeping my distance’.
The above is, I am afraid, a piece of unpleasantness ... but it is part of the reality of this story. I said, as I began to recount this sorry tale, that I find it difficult to deal with. Nor do I wish to dwell on such matters. However, now begun and because I have promised honest replies to the questions put to me on this web-site, I feel constrained to get rid of the unpleasantness in order to return to more entertaining and instructive matters. To do so, I must deal with one other allied matter. But not now. Enough, I think, is enough for the time being. Part Two of this outrageous saga will follow at a later date.


Of more interest is something which has just come to light during my sifting through my archive. In Key to the Sacred Pattern, (pp40/41), I report how, in 1971, Gérard de Sède had sent me the first photographs of “The Poussin Tomb?. Here is one in which he depicts himself as the kneeling shepherd.

Looking at this image again, after so many years, reminds me of what we have lost. The demented avarice which led criminals to attempt to break into the tomb ... and the thoughtless vandalism which made the owner destroy it ... have deprived us of who knows what precious knowledge?
What might we have learned if expert investigation had been made.?
The destruction of the tomb was a huge loss. But at least it taught me to ignore the arrogant and blinkered opinions of ?experts? such as Anthony Blunt!


This is not the first time I have suggested that one should be cautious about what one reads.

Don’t BELIEVE something just because someone - (myself included) - says it. Here’s one amusing example of the reason why ... !
I recently had my attention drawn to the following snippet on the inter-net.   It’s on a site dealing with Dr Who – a popular series for which Mervyn Haisman and I wrote many years ago.  This is an extraordinary example of how many gross errors can be perpetrated in just one sentence by one careless writer – (in this case, by one Shannon Sullivan):
Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln ... met on Emergency Ward 10, for which Haisman contributed scripts and Lincoln performed; Lincoln had few authorial credits to his name at this point, while Haisman had also written for Doctor Finlay's Casebook and No Hiding Place.

1.      We did NOT MEET on Emergency – Ward 10.   

2.      Mervyn did NOT CONTRIBUTE scripts for Emergency – Ward 10.
3.      I did NOT ‘PERFORM’  in Emergency – Ward 10.

4.       I DID, however, write 33 episodes for Emergency – Ward 10

         I’m not sure what counts as FEW authorial credits? , ...But:
5.       At the time we met, I had about 40 .
I think Mr Sullivan may probably be right about Mervyn’s scripts – but I can’t be absolutely sure. However,


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