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The Lion and the Covenant

News Releases (4)

(For media & publisher enquiries - see base)

1. News Release 3 May 2009: The Lion and the Covenant now available
2. News Release 18 May 2009 (with amendments):  "Ark intrigue" detail revealed
3. News Release 10 June 2009 (expanded):  Campbells Strike Back at The Lion and the Covenant?
4. News Release 5 July 2009: The Lion and the Covenant now available as an e-book


4. News Release 5 July 2009:
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.

The e-book 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.

You can get your e-book version of The Lion and the Covenant now at:



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."




2. News Release 18 May 2009 (with amendments):  "Ark intrigue" detail revealed

The 1860's Ark Intrigue - a Genuine Conspiracy?

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 leaks out."

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 Preston.

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 see."

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 Numerology page).

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 too".

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."



      1. News 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."



The Lion and the Covenant 2009

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The Lion and the Covenant 2009




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The Lion and the Covenant 2009



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