News Release 5 July
The Lion and the Covenant now available as an e-book
The Lion and the Covenant is
now also available as an electronic
download, for only US$9.50. For those who like to read digitally, this
exciting news enables them to obtain a copy of the book for less than half
the price of the physical paperback version.
version is in PDF format. It may be read with software such as the free
Adobe Reader, which most people already have on their computers, and Adobe
Digital Editions. As well mobile versions of various PDF softwares (e.g. Adobe
Reader Mobile 9, PDF Reader for Symbian OS devices, and Adobe Reader versions
for Palm devices and Pocket PCs) may be used. The Foxit PDF Reader, a "small-footprint"
software, will also do the trick.
The Lion and the Covenant e-book
edition can be read on a wide variety of platforms, including computers
(desktop PCs, laptops, netbooks, and UMPCs), many dedicated e-readers, and
a wide range of smaller handheld devices such as Palm, Psion, Handspring and
Pocket PCs, and various smartphones. Mobile (cell) phones with PDF-reading
software installed can also be used.
As far as dedicated e-readers
go, the book can be read on devices as exotic and state-of the-art as the
first colour e-paper reader the FLEPia (currently available only in Japan).
More widely known are the Sony Reader, the Bebook, the Cybook, the iRex reader
family, the UK's Pixelar, the Foxit eSlick, the ECTACO Jetbook, Hanlin and
Hanvon devices, the EZ Reader, the Plastic Logic device, the Pocketbook, the
Astak Mentor, the iRiver P10 PMP, the COOL-ER, the Wizpac and many other devices.The
new Amazon Kindle DX large-screen version can be used too. Check the specs
of your e-reader to see if it will support PDFs.
3. News Release 10 June 2009 (expanded):
Campbells Strike Back at The Lion and the Covenant?
Shortly after joining a suspense/thriller
author's group, The Lion and the Covenant author B.Victor Preston was
summarily evicted by the group moderator, K. Robert Campbell, and his book
banned from the forum. No explanation was provided at the time for the action.
The incident happened on 9 June at popular booksite Lulu.com,
where an e-book
(digital) version of the novel is currently available.
Says writer Preston, "I was accepted
into the group with the message 'You're now a member of the Lulu group Suspense/Thriller
Guild. Welcome! You can now contribute to the group's forum and add your content
to the storefront.' However soon after I did so I was told that my contribution
was now 'awaiting moderator approval'. Very quickly I received a further message
that my book had been denied entrance, and a window invited me to 'Leave this
Group'. I declined to leave voluntarily, but when I later checked the group
membership list my name had been expunged. So that was that."
The moderator concerned, K. Robert
Campbell is himself an author, who interestingly enough attended the Campbell
University School of Law (now located in Raleigh, North Carolina). He also
has his own law firm, Campbell Law PLLC. Campbell's website storefront on
Lulu boasts as emblem the gyronny of triangles (see illustration at left),
an emblem taken from the shield in the personal coat of arms of the head of
the Campbell clan, the Duke of Argyll.This
is an emblem that's referred to on page 166 of The Lion and the Covenant.
In fact, from page six in the Prologue of the book and later in two
further chapters, the novel refers in detail to Campbell involvement in a
nineteenth century 'Ark intrigue' during the 1860s decade. The latter involved
excavations under Temple Mount in the Holy Land, a British invasion of Ethiopia
(mounted largely from India) culminating in the storming of the mountain fortress
of Magdala and the looting of its treasures and sacred relics, and three visits
to Australia by Queen Victoria's second son Prince Alfred. All of these events
have some very curious aspects (detailed in the book).
Author and moderator Campbell,
who writes thrillers of his own, does not say on any of his three websites
if he is a Freemason. However one of his novels is entitled "The Third Degree"
(in Freemasonry completing the Third Degree entitles the entrant to the rank
of Master Mason).
The Lion and the Covenant
points out that the hereditary heads of Clan Campbell, the Dukes of Argyll,
have long been involved with the highest levels of British Freemasonry. For
example three members of the family were Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge
of Scotland during the nineteenth century. The Dukes are also the hereditary
masters of the British royal household in Scotland. During the "Ark intrigue"
era, (the 1860s), the eighth Duke of Argyll was a member of the founding committee
of the organisation that ordered and organised the Temple Mount excavations,
which were led by an ardent Freemason officer in the British Royal Engineers.
Meanwhile naval officers Colin and Hugh Campbell were the commanders respectively
of HMS Octavia, the flagship of the British invasion fleet sent to
Ethiopia, and of Prince Alfred's ship HMS Galatea, which paid three
visits to Australia in 1867-70, as part of what is at an innocent minimum
a remarkable chain of "Campbell" coincidences.
Soon after these events the eldest
son and heir of the eighth Duke, the Marquis of Lorne, married Prince Alfred's
sister Princess Louise, and was then made Governor-General of Canada (the
first marriage of a member of the British royal family to a non-royal in around
three hundred years).
Senior members of the Campbell
clan in the UK are reportedly furious at the book's revelations. Asked about
the "Campbell treatment" he has just received at the Lulu thrillers group,
author Preston says: "Frankly, I'm not surprised. You may be aware of the
expression the hidden hand. That historically referred to when Freemasons
acted in concert, but strictly behind the scenes. That could be for various
reasons, such as to advance the interests of a member of their group, to protect
members from possible consequences of their actions, or to secretly try and
inhibit or totally block any information or news that they didn't want publicised
for any reason."
"Well, on several occasions during
the effort to get my book out there I've felt that a 'hidden hand' was being
deployed very effectively against me. If that is what has happened here, this
is the most blatant and overt occasion yet. Of course, the whole thing with
the Freemason elite is that you can never prove anything, and with their strong
representation in the legal and judicial fraternities you're not going to
get very far if you try, either. The best I can hope for is to try and keep
my book out there and hope they don't manage to shut my information down entirely."
Author B. Victor Preston has released
more detail as part of the backdrop to his new mystery thriller, The Lion
and the Covenant. The author says that the Victorian-era events his twenty-first
century characters uncover, as they are drawn into a dangerous chase across
three continents, suggest an intrigue that can fairly be described as a conspiracy.
Conspiracy theory, he points out, is a phrase with a very bad press, but may
in fact merely represent what a group of powerful people plan to keep secret
at a given point in time and then actually get away with. "Conspiracies are
by no means all mythical, they happen quite often in politics," says Mr Preston.
"It's just that most of them get found out."
He suggests that a group existed
among the most senior British Freemasons of that period who took a theme or
obsession of theirs to extremes, as leaders of unaccountable organizations
sometimes do. "You only have to look at what certain bankers and executives
have done in recent times to see that individuals in top positions sometimes
get totally carried away with themselves, in ways that may seem almost unbelievable
to later scrutiny."
Naturally enough, he says, such
people carry others along with them as a result of ties of leadership, kinship,
friendship and so on. "In this particular case, organisational loyalty had
an enormous effect too. Any long-lived institution that has both a lot of
influence and secretive ways - you can include some regimes and government
bodies, dynasties, even some churches - has times when it goes off the rails.
The problem with such a traditional, very secretive organisation as the Freemasons
were in those days in such a context is that unquestioning loyalty to the
group is presented as a superior virtue in itself. In fact, any member who
questions that has to be prepared to face ostracism by the other members,
or worse. As a result, it can be a long, long age before the truth finally
A Warren under Jerusalem and
the road to Magdala
According to The Lion and the
Covenant, the recent history of the Ark of the Covenant (or at least,
an artefact believed by those involved to be that object) begins in the 1860s.
The novel questions the British obsession with capturing the Ethiopian fortress
of Magdala even after the freeing of the British hostages who were allegedly
the sole reason for the invasion of that country. The suggestion is that this
"inexplicable" fixation may have stemmed in reality from discoveries by British
Royal Engineer and dedicated Freemason Lieutenant Charles Warren in a dig
under Temple Mount, discoveries kept from the general public as a Masonic
secret. These finds may have included inscriptions in Hebrew and Aramaic describing
where the original Ark had been sent, after it was found necessary to spirit
it away to safety at the time of Nebuchadnezzar's final assault on Jerusalem.
Lieutenant Warren, by the way,
later became a full General, a Knight Grand Cross KCMG and founding head of
the leading Masonic research lodge, the Quatuor Coronati Lodge. He had been
sent on the Temple Mount "dig" by the Palestine Exploration Fund, an organisation
which still exists. That body is now a respectable academic institution, says
author Preston. However, it was originally empowered behind the scenes by
senior, imperially-minded Freemasons connected with Queen Victoria (who was
the patroness) and the British Royal family. This may have been partly on
the basis of information given them by the Ethiopian "King of Kings" Theodore,
in an attempt to lure Britain into an alliance against his Turkish and Egyptian
enemies, who were threatening his territories.
Instead, once it was established
from the Temple Mount dig that the Ethiopian claim to hold the Ark might be
genuine, this group of imperial Freemasons evidently decided to seize the
Ethiopian relic for themselves and Britain, suggests the author. Their motive
was that they believed that possession of the Ark might assist the British
Empire to become the greatest empire in all history, because the Ark was supposed
to assist victory in battle if held by the worthy. The conspirators also regarded
obtaining the sacred relic for Freemasonry and its royal patrons as a moral
and indeed righteous act, because they saw the British royal family as the
rightful heirs of King Solomon, an idea they reasoned from both their own
viewpoint and their possession of what is known as "the royal secret".
Emperor Theodore, author Preston
notes, was only supposed to be captured and deposed, but committed suicide
instead in the face of defeat by the British imperial army. Worse, he macabrely
used a pistol earlier sent to him as a gift by Queen Victoria herself; an
event which reportedly shocked the British Queen. The emperor's son Alemayehu
was brought to Britain and educated at the Queen's personal expense, but languished
far from his family and friends in what was to him a very strange land, and
died while still a youth. A guilt-stricken Queen Victoria had him buried among
her own relatives in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, one of many pieces
of evidence of Victorian-era royal complicity in the Ark intrigue, says author
A Prince Sails for Australia
The Lion and the Covenant suggests
that the presumed Ark relic was transported to Australia by Queen Victoria's
second son Prince Alfred in the well-armed British warship HMS Galatea,
in its otherwise puzzling quick repeat voyage to Australia in 1868-9.
"The Prince's movements are difficult
to explain if he wasn't up to something," Mr Preston declares. "First he makes
this long and in those days hazardous voyage here as Australia's first royal
visitor, and even gets shot and wounded for his pains by a would-be assassin
in Sydney. One would have thought that would be that for at least a year or
two. But no, just a very few months after his return to England he sets out
hell-for-leather to go back to Australia again, visiting various cities between
February and April 1869 (he even returned a third time in November 1870).
It's quite odd behaviour under conventional explanations. So there are these
three sets of very strange events - the excavations under Temple Mount, the
unnecessary attack on Magdala and the hurriedly repeated royal visit to Australia.
If you link them together, they suddenly make a great deal of sense as a coherent
piece of hidden history."
The Lion and the Covenant suggests
that the "Ark artefact" itself spent time in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart,
but apparently the longest period in the latter. Indeed the novel even identifies
several old buildings in historic Hobart where the Ark relic may have been
kept at various stages. One of these is St George's Church, Battery Point,
where a clutch of clues are available, including the inscription The Lord
is in His Holy Temple featured above the altar (the names "George" and
"St George" feature throughout the evidence trail). One of the other alleged
Hobart "repositories" also has several intriguing features that tend to support
the claims, and amazingly enough even has the intertwined letters A and C
wrought into the iron fence surrounding it, and emblazoned on a window.
In the book, the fictional characters
are drawn into tracking down the presumed Ark by means of a code in the form
of a trail of Masonic symbols, names and "sacred numerology". All this is
revealed in seemingly irrefutable detail, one of the most spectacular aspects
of the novel. The "holy numbers" themselves derive partly from the Bible and
were apparently elaborated into a system by the highest Masonic orders. The
author of The Lion and the Covenant says that anyone who visits Sydney,
Melbourne and Hobart can view physical evidence of the Ark concealment plot
and "see a lot of beautiful and historic old buildings in the process. I wouldn't
be surprised if special tours are established there once enough people have
read my book," he comments.
Does the author himself use any
Masonic numerology or symbolism in developing his story line in the novel?
"Oh yes," he replies. "The more carefully you read it the more of that you'll
Proofs positive in numbers?
Mr Preston's theory makes for
a fascinating and surprisingly coherent story when examined in detail, and
there are many historical elements that can be verified. But where's the hard
evidence of the "Ark' intrigue itself? Mr Preston says that naturally the
Freemasons involved, for whom secrecy had always been of the essence, made
a point of avoiding writing these facts down in documents. Nevertheless, "strong
physical evidence" exists in the three Australian cities, he says (the locations
are revealed in the novel).
Why would such clues exist, though,
if the whole Ark concealment operation was itself top-secret? "The Freemasons
are quite an interesting lot once you get to know them," author Preston says
in response. On the one hand, he notes, they define themselves as "a society
with secrets". Of which the Ark relic concealment is the biggest one, he claims,
indeed one not even known by the vast majority of Freemasonry's own members.
On the other hand the Freemasons possess a theatrical, almost exhibitionistic
streak within their own milieu, he reports, and so haven't been able to stop
themselves from laying out a substantial number of celebratory references
to the Ark in the three cities mentioned, in what they saw as a observation-proof
code of symbols, names and sacred numerology. A code the author of The
Lion and the Covenant says he has cracked wide-open in his book. "Once
you understand the symbols and the way the numbers work the whole thing becomes
blindingly obvious," he says.
The author offers an example of
this as evidence. "The fingerprints of the Freemasons were all over the Ethiopian
expedition itself. It helped that they had the then PM (the Earl of Derby),
the Foreign Secretary (his son Lord Stanley), and various other senior political
and military leaders onside. For starters, for such an important and indeed
to them holy mission they indulged heavily in their sacred numerology. Sacred
Masonic numbers include three (the number of degrees in regular "craft" Masonry,
three also has many other special meanings throughout Masonic ritual); thirty-three
(the full count of degrees in their Scottish rite & a "supreme" number); nine
(sacred to the Royal Arch order of Freemasonry); two (the two sacred temple
pillars of Jachin and Boaz, a hugely important Masonic symbol); five (the
five signs, also in Royal Arch masonry) and seven, a deeply symbolic and prophetic
number derived from the Bible (e.g. as in. the Seven Seals etc)."
"And what do we find in the fighting
units selected for the attack?" asks the author. "3,733 British and 9,000
Indian troops, which included the 33rd Regiment as the key British infantry
force. Then there's the 3rd Dragoon Guards, the 3rd Bombay Cavalry, the 27th
Bombay Native Infantry, the 45th* Regiment of Foot (both of the latter two
also sum to nine), and the 23rd Punjab Regiment (also summing to five). It
goes on from there."
* 45 is the sum
of the numbers 1-9, present in the "Freemason's Magic Square"' (see
If all this really happened, why
did they do it? The author has several theories. At one level, possessing
the alleged Ark of the Covenant in secret was the ultimate status symbol.
"After all, what could top that? It meant that Britain truly was Number One
in the world. Also, if the central allegory you work by in Freemasonry is
building the Temple of Solomon, and if you possess the most important sacred
object contained in that temple, the very object that in an important sense
the temple was built for, then you have bridged the gap between symbol and
reality. You've validated your symbolism in a very special way. Equally important,
the plotters sincerely felt that the British Empire had the right to inherit
the Ark. These were after all the same people who so fervently sang that their
swords would not sleep in their hands till they had built Jerusalem in their
own green and pleasant land. Well, if you want to symbolically build a new
Jerusalem and a new Temple of Solomon, then secretly possessing the Ark of
the Covenant is a pretty good start, isn't it!"
Will mainline historians ever
investigate this matter? Author Preston says it will be a hard sell to get
them involved. "With academic historians, most of them are uncomfortable dealing
with the subject of Freemasonry in any way. That's not surprising, because
the traditional secrecy of the Worshipful Brethren of the Craft as we can
term them - and their secrecy was much greater in the past - makes investigating
them very often an exercise in frustration, from a scholarly point of view.
So many of the kinds of documents historians want just do not exist in the
context of Freemasonry. So, most historians tend to say 'too hard, won't do
it'. Which is a pity, because if they would cast their net wider there is
in fact a lot of other evidence out there. I hope some of them will look for
example at what is revealed in my book."
Asked whether the artefact allegedly
captured and hidden would really have been the original Ark, author B. Victor
Preston says he does not know, but thinks that the people involved all believed
it was. Asked to comment on whether the real Ark has any mystical properties
or is just a gold-encrusted reliquary box, the Lion and the Covenant author
declares that this is more a matter for individual belief rather than an issue
for him to pronounce on. "I'm only a writer," he says.
Is there more truth out there?
He adds that there are more than
likely ordinary people in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and perhaps
in Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other places too,
who can help shine further light on this matter. They may unknowingly have
objects in their possession that came from Ethiopia in 1868, or own historical
documents of relevance to that time. These may be lying neglected in humble
homes or privileged houses alike. They could perhaps be buried under accumulated
piles of possessions in a dusty attic, or undisturbed at the back of an old
cabinet or drawer, or in hiding places for valuables.
So, he asks anyone who had ancestors
in, for example, the British or Indian Armies or in public life at that time
(the 1860s) to have a good look in such places. "If you can find any foreign-looking
object that you can't identify - it may also have a strange script on it (Ge'ez
or Ethiopic), that you are unfamiliar with, or include some mention of the
Abyssinian campaign - so much the better. One indisputable artefact or revealing
document could upset an applecart of received notions, and earn you a place
in the history books. So please," he urges, "photograph any finds and contact
a local university or museum to have them identified. And let the media know
For those interested in the Ark
of the Covenant, British royalty, Freemasonry or the secrets of history, The
Lion and the Covenant is clearly the new, must-read novel of our time. But
there's apparently lot's more in the book for the general reader less interested
in, say, the travels of the world's holiest artefact. "It's also a mystery
thriller aimed at the more intelligent reader, as well as a modern love story,"
says author Preston. He adds provocatively that his novel is "considerably
more historical, accurate and carefully researched than the Da Vinci Code,
if people value those attributes. I hope they will, and I hope that in any
event they do enjoy my book."
Release 3 May 2009: The
Lion and the Covenant now available
The Ark of the Covenant was captured
by British imperial forces in Ethiopia in 1868 and hidden in Australia between
March 1869 and the early 1950s. This startling claim has been made in a newly-released
book, The Lion and the Covenant.
The book, a mystery thriller
with a detailed factual underlay, describes hitherto unknown links between
a series of historical events during the 1860's and the people and organisations
involved in carrying them out. These events include Royal Engineer excavations
beneath Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the British attack on the mountain fortress
of the Ethiopian Emperor Theodore at Magdala, and three visits to Australia
by Queen Victoria's second son Prince Alfred on HMS Galatea. All of
these events occurred in a relatively short time frame. The author says that
the conventional explanations for these events "are not consistent" and that
parts of them appear to be cover stories, but that when you link them with
the new information he has discovered, a clear outline emerges.
The Lion and the Covenant
also details confirming evidence in three Australian cities of secret Masonic
celebration of possession of the Ark. The book suggests however that "the
Ark intrigue" was a closely held secret known only by a few senior, imperially-minded
British Empire Freemasons, an often aristocratic group that had close links
to the British royal family of Queen Victoria.
The Lion and the Covenant
reveals much precise historical information, including the names of the Australian
cities to which the presumed Ark was allegedly transferred at various times,
and details supporting the"Ark presence" in them. The latter, according
to the book, is evidence in stone, brick, metal and glass that anyone can
inspect. The book even identifies particular buildings in which the Ark artefact
may have been hidden. In fact an "Ark tour" of Australia would be
possible on the basis of the novel's contents. The book also indicates what
may have later happened to the Ark, and where it may be now.
In addition, the author says
that after long research he is able to present new hypotheses that may account
for the original disappearance of the Ark, which is suddenly dropped from
the Biblical narrative without explanation after many earlier mentions. In
fact, the book suggests, it was never missing, merely hidden.
Describing his book the author
says "Obviously it contains some sensational revelations, particularly those
about Freemasonry and past British royalty. It's also a mystery thriller aimed
at the more intelligent reader, as well as a modern love story. It may shock
some, but I hope it will enlighten more and entertain many. Even those who
choose not to believe what it reveals, which is their perfect right of course,
will hopefully regard it as a valuable and enjoyable read."