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Masks of the Illuminati Paperback – May 5, 1990


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Frequently Bought Together

Masks of the Illuminati + Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy + The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan
Price for all three: $45.89

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (May 5, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044050306X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440503064
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Smith on March 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Robert Anton Wilson uses the two greatest scientific and artistic minds of the 20th Century to solve a mystery whose roots may reach back for millenia. Are they up to the task? Well yes and no. The important thing is Wilson is able to show us, in a very exciting and terrifying manner, quite believable and comprehensible insights into the minds of Albert Einstein and James Joyce as they ettempt to tackle that mystery of mysteries... "who are the Illuminati and what do they want?" In this book are mind boggling-ideas, brilliant nonsense and frighteneing notions that are that much scarier for seeming to make sense. This book scared the heck out of me.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lieder on September 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book has something lacking in most Wilson books, namely a linear plotline and fairly believable characters who aren't merely stand-ins for the author's philosophy. Granted three of the characters are real people but that's besides the point.
An amateur Kabalist who is related to the Hagbard Celine of the original Illuminatus trilogy (and the other Celine of the Historical Illuminatus trilogy) finds himself driven mad by the machinations of Aleister Crowley. On a train he runs into Albert Einstein - the scientist who approached science as if it were art - and James Joyce - the artist who approached art as if it were a science. As he retells his story, Einstein and Joyce slowly unravel the trail of deceit and mindgames sponsored by Crowley.
It's fairly obvious by the second chapter that not only is this not much of a thriller, but Robert Anton Wilson is a major Aleister Crowley fan. Much of this book is a homage to Wilson's favorite historical figures with "Uncle Al" as the star of the show. That may take away from the whole mystery aspect of the book, but you find yourself cheering on Crowley soon as well.
This is not only a great book but a nice controlled storyline. The only complaint is that it doesn't have much to do with the world of the Illuminatus! Trilogy, and the word Illuminatus seems to be tacked on in order to sell this book to fans of that series. However, in many ways this later work surpasses the original trilogy.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Graham D. Lincoln VINE VOICE on December 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
Masks of The Illuminati is a fast-paced Adventure and Detective Story, with Albert Einstein & James Joyce playing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, in the historical setting of The Real World. However, the characters also spend a great deal of time in the Metaphysical world, as well. The average reader will not comprehend half of this book--but, that is the excitement of the adventure! Only the Illuminated truly "get it." ;)
Seriously, Students of "The Mysteries" will have a field day (or an Astral Field Trip) with this thrilling "fictional" novel.
Robert Anton Wilson must be a genius to have incorporated so much historical and metaphysical Truth, into this "story" of a young, wealthy, well-educated Englishman being Initiated into a branch of The Golden Dawn, while trying to investigate a series of strange "occult" attacks in Scotland, against a Presbyterian minister....fighting both the forces of Darkness and his own repressed sexual tendencies, simultaneously !
This is a fascinating journey into the world of occult organizations and Initiation, climaxing in a most unusual and exciting manner....leading the reader to strongly desire clapping Aleister Crowley on the back while saying, "Well-done, 'ol chap!"
I strongly doubt that non-occultists will understand this great novel--but, the Story holds it's own and being a student of The Mysteries is not a Prerequisite. For those in the dark, a quick online search can fill in the gaps, as you read.
This book is more fast-paced than Focault's Pendulumn and the scenes with Einstein & Joyce as Sleuths are very well-constructed. You will feel that you are in the room with them...listening attentively and anxiously awaiting the Conclusion !
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Well, this one isn't quite as twisty as some of RAW's other work (ie Illuminatus), in fact, its remarkably linear, a single major plotline. I would definitely recommend reading RAW's "Coincidence", a book of essays, I read Coincidence before reading this book, and it gave me a lot of insight into the symbolism and the way that we could analyze parts of the dream sequences and things (I was so proud when I noticed the ROYGBIVs...). Even if you haven't read Coincidence, this book is enjoyable.. you can skip right over the gnomic and complex dreams and philosophical symbolism and get right into the overt and fun plot.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "smashlips" on December 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
this is the only wilson book i have read thus far. let me say first of all that it TERRIFIED the living daylight out of me until the solution to the mystery was revealed. i was scared to be in a fully lit room by myself.
the esotericism of this book made it a very fun read; i found it hard to stop (except when it got too frightening)! reading masks of the illuminati was definitely worth my time, paranoia, and sleepless nights!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 1997
Format: Paperback
Set in early 20th century europe "Masks of the Illuminati" thrills the reader with Robert Anton Wilsons unique blend of conspiracy, terror, and humor. The only heir to the Babcock and Greystoke fortunes gets involved in metaphysical studies only to find himself wrapped in conspiracy and plot. His journey into madness is a theme beutifully woven into the story along many aspects. Wilson has an uncanny ability tho transort the reader's mind into another paranoid reality that lingers long after the book is put down
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