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The Encyclopedia Britannica has little to say on the subject (1966 edition, Volume 11, "Halicar to Impala," page 1094):

Illuminati, a short-lived movement of republican free thought founded on May Day 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, professor of canon law at Ingolstadt and a former Jesuit… From 1778 onward they began to make contact with various Masonic lodges where, under the impulse of A. Knigge (q.v.) one of their chief converts, they often managed to gain a commanding position…

The scheme itself had its attractions for literary men like Goethe and Herder, and even for the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar…

The movement suffered from internal dissention and was ultimately banned by an edict of the Bavarian government in 1785.


Saul paused. "I'll make you a bet, Barney," he said quietly. "The Joseph Malik who vanished is the J.M. these memos were written for."

"Sure," Muldoon replied scornfully. "These Illuminati characters are still around, and they got him. Honest to God, Saul," he added, "I appreciate the way your mind usually pole-vaults ahead of the facts. But you can ride a hunch just so far when you're starting from nothing."

"We're not starting from nothing," Saul said softly. "Here's what we've got to start with. One"-he-held up a finger-"a building is bombed. Two"-another finger- "an important executive disappeared three days before the bombing. Already, there's an inference, or two inferences: something got him, or else he knew something was coming for him and he ducked out. Now, look at the memos. Point three"-he held up another finger-"a standard reference work, the Encyclopedia Britannica, seems to be wrong about when the Illuminati came into existence. They say eighteenth-century Germany, but the other memos trace it back to-let's see-Spain in the seventeenth century, France in the seventeenth century, then in the eleventh century back to Italy and halfway across the world to Afghanistan. So we've got a second inference: if the Britannica is wrong about when the thing started, they may be wrong about when it ended. Now, put these three points and two inferences together-"

"And the Illuminati got the editor and blew up his office. Nutz. I still say you're going too fast."

"Maybe I'm not going fast enough," Saul said. "An organization that has existed for a couple of centuries minimum and kept its secrets pretty well hidden most of that time might be pretty strong by now." He trailed off into silence, and closed his eyes to concentrate. After a moment, he looked at the younger man with a searching glance.

Muldoon had been thinking too. "I've seen men land on the moon," he said. "I've seen students break into administration offices and shit in the dean's waste basket. I've even seen nuns in mini-skirts. But this international conspiracy existing in secret for eight hundred years, it's like opening a door in your own house and finding James Bond and the President of the United States personally shooting it out with Fu Manchu and the five original Marx Brothers."

"You're trying to convince yourself, not me. Barney, it sticks out so far that you could break it into three pieces and each one would be long enough to goose somebody up in the Bronx. There is a secret society that keeps screwing up international politics. Every intelligent person has suspected that at one time or another. Nobody wants war any more, but wars keep happening-why? Face it, Barney-this is the heavy case we've always had nightmares about. It's cast iron. If it were a corpse, all six pallbearers would get double hernias at the funeral. Well?" Saul prompted.

"Well, we're either going to have to do something or get off the pot, as my sainted mother used to say."

It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton. On April 1 the world's great powers came closer to nuclear war than ever before, all because of an obscure island named Fernando Poo. But, while all other eyes turned to the UN building in apprehension and desperate hope, there lived in Las Vegas a unique person known as Carmel. His house was on Date Street and had a magnificent view of the desert, which he appreciated. He liked to spend long hours looking at the wild cactus wasteland although he did not know why. If you told him that he was symbolically turning his back upon mankind, he would not have understood you, nor would he have been insulted; the remark would be merely irrelevant to him. If you added that he himself was a desert creature, like the gila monster and the rattlesnake, he would have grown bored and classified you as a fool. To Carmel, most of the world were fools who asked meaningless questions and worried about pointless issues; only a few, like himself, had discovered what was really important-money- and pursued it without distractions, scruples, or irrelevancies. His favorite moments were those, like this night of April 1, when he sat and tallied his take for the month and looked out his picture window occasionally at the flat sandy landscape, dimly lit by the lights of the city behind him. In this physical and emotional desert he experienced happiness, or something as close to happiness as he could ever find. His girls had earned $46,000 during March, of which he took $23,000; after paying 10 percent to the Brotherhood for permission to operate without molestation by Banana-Nose Maldonado's soldiers, this left a tidy profit of $20,700, all of it tax free. Little Carmel, who stood five feet two and had the face of a mournful weasel, beamed as he completed his calculations; his emotion was as inexpressible, in normal terms, as that of a necrophile who had just broken into the town morgue. He had tried every possible sexual combination with his girls; none gave him the frisson of looking at a figure like that at the end of a month.

He did not know that he would have another $5 million, and incidentally become the most important human being on earth, before May 1. If you tried to explain it to him, he would have brushed everything else aside and asked merely, "The five million-how many throats do I hafta cut to get my hands in it?"

But wait: Get out the Atlas and look up Africa. Run your eyes down the map of the western coast of that continent until you come to Equatorial Guinea. Stop at the bend where part of the Atlantic Ocean curves inward and becomes the Bight of Biafra. You will note a chain of small islands; you will further observe that one of these is Fernando Poo. There, in the capital city of Santa Isobel, during the early 1970s, Captain Ernesto Tequilla y Mota carefully read and reread Edward Luttwak's Coup d'Etat: A Practical Handbook, and placidly went about following Luttwak's formula for a perfect coup d'etat in Santa Isobel. He set up a timetable, made his first converts among other officers, formed a clique, and began the slow process of arranging things so that officers likely to be loyal to Equatorial Guinea would be on assignment at least forty-eight hours away from the capital city when the coup occurred. He drafted the first proclamation to be issued by his new government; it took the best slogans of the most powerful left-wing and right-wing groups on the island and embedded them firmly in a tapioca-like context of bland liberal-conservatism. It fit Luttwak's prescription excellently, giving everybody on the island some small hope that his own interests and beliefs would be advanced by the new regime. And, after three years of planning, he struck: the key officials of the old regime were quickly, bloodlessly, placed under house arrest; troops under the command of officers in the cabal occupied the power stations and newspaper offices; the inoffensively fascist-conservative-liberal-communist proclamation of the new People's Republic of Fernando Poo went forth to the world over the radio station in Santa Isobel. Ernesto Tequilla y Mota had achieved his ambition-promotion from captain to generalissimo in one step. Now, at last, he began wondering about how one went about governing a country. He would probably have to read a new book, and he hoped there was one as good as Luttwak's treatise on seizing a country. That was on March 14.

On March 15, the very name of Fernando Poo was unknown to every member of the House of Representatives, every senator, every officer of the Cabinet, and all but one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In fact, the President's first reaction, when the CIA report landed on his desk that afternoon, was to ask his secretary, "Where the hell is Fernando Poo?"

Saul took off his glasses and polished them with a handkerchief, conscious of his age and suddenly more tired than ever. "I outrank you, Barney," he began.

Muldoon grinned. "I know what's coming."

Methodically, Saul went on, "Who, on your staff, do you think is a double agent for the CIA?

"Robinson I'm sure of, and Lehrman I suspect."

"Both of them go. We take no chances."

"I'll have them transferred to the Vice Squad in the morning. How about your own staff?"

"Three of them, I think, and they go, too."

"Vice Squad'll love the increase in manpower."

Saul relit his pipe. "One more thing. We might be hearing from the FBI."

"We might indeed."

'They get nothing."

"You're really taking me way out on this one, Saul."

"Sometimes you have to follow your hunches. This is going to be a heavy case, agreed?"

"A heavy case," Muldoon nodded.

"Then we do it my way."

"Let's look at the fourth memo," Muldoon said tonelessly. They read:

ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #2 7/23 | The Illuminatus! Trilogy | ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #4 7/24