Blame it on Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code




Now that publication of The Empress Holds The Key is imminent, friends keep asking me why I haven’t released the book earlier. Well, there’s quite a story behind this I would like to share with you.

The ideas that have inspired the book reach all the way back to my childhood days and an early fascination with the Templars, the Vatican, and Egypt. How did all his come about? I’ll tell you. I’ve spoken about the treasures in my grandfather’s attic before. It was a place of great adventure and discovery for a ten year old boy living in his grandfather’s hunting lodge in Austria.

My grandfather was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army and, as I was to find out later, a scholar with a particular interest in Egypt and the Scriptures. As I kept exploring the treasure in his attic I discovered not only countless books on the subject, but later, buried deep down in one of his trunks, journals. Leather-bound and a little mouldy. Grandfather had travelled to Egypt! This was quite something in the 1920’s, and Egypt was a very different place then.

At first, the many ideas and questions addressed in the journals didn’t make much sense to me, and I put them aside for many years. Yet somehow, they remained in the back of my mind and ignited something that has remained with me ever since: a fascination with Egypt and the Templars. And then, as often happens in life, I returned to those journals many years later as an adult with an inquisitive mind and began to look at them through very different eyes. I travelled to Egypt, began to study Egyptology, and learnt to read the hieroglyphs.

The Empress Holds The Key, a big book, took more than ten years to write. I was still practising law at the time and writing was strictly confined to the midnight hour. Not an easy task when you have to be in court in the morning arguing complex cases and addressing juries.

Finally, the manuscript was submitted to a high-profile publishing house and, to my great delight the publisher expressed serious interest in the book. Rigorous editing followed and I thought, rather naively as it turned out, that publication was just around the corner. I was wrong. Editing and negotiating dragged on for months, and when I finally decided to bring matters to a head, I was told that the publisher had changed his mind and no longer wanted to proceed! Why? Blame it on Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code, I was told.

Needless to say, not only was I terribly disappointed, but I was totally perplexed; I didn’t understand! I think after my many phone calls the editor I had worked with for months took pity on me and, over a cup of coffee, explained the situation: Dan Brown’s phenomenal success with the Da Vinci Code — which had just been released at the time — had made the publication of my book very risky.

‘How so?’ I asked.

‘Because the Empress Holds The Key also touches on some of the big questions and topics Dan Brown has addressed in his book,’ explained the editor.’

‘But my book is very different, and I started to write it many years ago …Long before the Da Vince Code began to annoy the Vatican,’ I argued.

I was getting nowhere. Simply put, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, The Empress Holds The Key was put back on the shelf for a number of years, and I went on write other books.

However, encouraged by my literary friends, I have decided to revisit The Empress Holds The Key and have another look at it. I liked what I found. It would appear that now is the right time to release my book and that is exactly what will happen in November. Finally, The Empress Holds The Key will make its debut. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Over the next few weeks I will tell you a little more about the book’s remarkable journey, and the origin and development of the ideas behind it.

However, now that the countdown to publication has begun in earnest, there’s something rather special I would like to share with you: A sneak preview of the book cover. But this will be the subject of our next blog. I hope you’ll like it.


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