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Reader Questions

If you have queries about The Lion and the Covenant, email here, and the author will respond to a selection of questions.


Q:  I noticed that your book has sixty-six chapters. I also noticed that Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" has one hundred and thirty-three chapters. Are these numbers significant?

A: Yes. In my own case, the 66 stands for 2 x 33. Both numbers are very important in Masonic numerology. There are some other numerological usages in my novel that observant readers like you may identify.

I cannot of course speak for Dan Brown, but I strongly suspect that his 133 stands for 100 + 33, also a significant combination. You may find the information on Masonic numerology on this website's Numerology page of interest. My book delves more deeply still into the subject, and indeed it is woven into the plot.


Q:  Was there any special numerological reason that "The Lion and the Covenant" was published in 2009?

A: Yes! Freemason Royal and Select Masters (Cryptic Masons) have a Masonic Calendar (there are five different ones in Freemasonry) that adds 1,000 years to the Christian calendar. This makes 2009 into 3009 for their "royal and select" purposes.

What's the significance? 3009 also unites the special Masonic number "3" with the Royal Arch supreme number of "9", leaving a power of one hundred between them. It is claimed in Freemasonry that this particular calendar began with the year King Solomon's Temple was completed (allegedly in 1,000 BC, or 3009 years ago). Therefore this year, 2009, would be the logical one to reveal the greatest Masonic secret of all, the "royal (and very select) secret" concerning that object for which the Temple of Solomon was built. A secret so closely held from 1868 until now that even among Masons, all but a handful of high-degree Freemasons are themselves unaware of it. A secret however that Tom and Kate, the heroes of our novel, do stumble across, and the readers of "The Lion and the Covenant" can share...


Q: The Lion and the Covenant introduces an eighteenth century artefact that seems to have once belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie. I'm referring to the particular Masonic apron reported as having been passed down to someone in present-day Sydney. This apron is described as preserved within an old leather satchel bearing an embossed shield, and I noticed that at one point reference is made to the letters CESR appearing twice on that shield. Are they an abbreviation standing for Caesar, in other words a statement of royal authority by a prince who tried (and as we know failed) to reclaim the throne of his ancestors?

A: Very astute of you. At a literal level the letters stand for Charles Edward Stuart Rex, rex being of course the Latin for King. But yes, it is reasonable to conclude that what you suggest is their additional, symbolic meaning. Otherwise, I imagine that the "R" would have been separated or differentiated somehow from the preceding three initials. So both ways the formulation asserts Bonnie Prince Charlie's claim to the British throne. By the way, see the response about the Royal Order of Scotland further below to learn some more about Bonnie Prince Charlie's connections with Freemasonry.


Q: I was really interested in all the stuff about the secret Masonic geography of Sydney (Australia), which seemed to ring true. Early on in your book, in chapter ten, I noticed an apparently gratuitous reference to an Erskine Street, described as situated immediately behind King Street in the city district. I've confirmed that as a fact in a Sydney street directory. There's no further claim made about it, but I suspected it was some kind of clue or tie-in. Was I right?

A: Well spotted! There are many "apparently gratuitous" details in the book that are in fact meant especially for those with sharp eyes and alert minds. The significance of Erskine Street is that the Erskines were a prominent Scottish family who were key backers and protectors of the Stuart monarchy, and thus" immediately behind the King". They were also important in Scottish Freemasonry, and in addition later married into the Sinclairs/St Clairs, the owners of Roslin Castle and Rosslyn Chapel. The Sinclairs are a family whose own connections with the top levels of Scottish Freemasonry are of course well-known. You might care to follow the Campbell street references too, and see what they reveal.

These kinds of royal and Masonic associations in street and place names in Sydney are present from the inner western suburb of St Peters right down as far as Sydney Harbour, and more of them are detailed in various parts of the book.


Q: The Royal Order of Scotland! I felt it was somehow significant, perhaps even a key factor behind the scenes in all this possible hidden history that the book goes into. Yet there were only a few references to it that just left me wondering. Can you tell me more about it?

A: Yes, it's a intriguing and important Masonic body, but one that is very little known outside of the Craft. That's possibly because it's perhaps the most secretive of all the Masonic groups, apart from the thirty-third degree councils. The Royal Order of Scotland is strictly invitational, in other words you cannot apply to join. In the US provincial branch at any rate you must have already obtained the Thirty-Second Degree of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry to be even considered for membership.

A very curious feature of the Order is that it claims a hereditary Grand Master, no less a person than the King of Scots. By that they don't mean a member of the present "Hanoverian" British monarchy, but someone regarded as the "rightful" King of Scotland, presumably a more direct descendant of the Bruce and Stuart families. As no such king exists, a vacant chair or throne is left for him at their meetings and the de facto or functional head of the order is described only as Deputy Grand Master and Governor.

In the period 1934 to early 1936, this led to a very strange situation involving the future King Edward the Eighth (later known as the Duke of Windsor following his abdication). At that time, the Duke was the British Crown Prince, soon to be officially though briefly King of Scotland as part of the Union of the Crowns (since 1707) in the United Kingdom. Edward was offered and accepted the "top job" title of "Deputy Grand Master" of the Order, implying a fealty to the "actual" absent Grand Master, the "true" King of Scotland! This must be the only occasion in history when a "Hanoverian" heir to the British throne has sworn allegiance to a Stuart monarch, albeit a non-existent one.

The present holder of the title of Deputy Grand Master and Governor of the Royal Order of Scotland is one Andrew Douglas Bruce (Lord Elgin), who is in fact himself a descendent of King Robert I of Scotland (the most famous bearer of the name Robert the Bruce), and potentially one of many possible claimants to the Scottish throne. A propos of that, an interesting detail mentioned in the references to the late Queen Mother in The Lion and the Covenant is that she was herself descended from Robert the Bruce, so strengthening the claim of her daughter the present Queen Elizabeth II to be Queen of Scotland against any Stuart or Bruce "pretenders".

The Royal Order of Scotland claims to originate with Robert the Bruce and the battle of Bannockburn. However, the history of the Order that we can clearly identify has Jacobite origins, and in fact Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was described as Sovereign Grand Master of what he then called the Order of "Rose Croix de Herodim de Kilwinning", in 1747. The name Kilwinning is significant as the Masonic mother lodge of Scotland. You can therefore see that the Order is tied in strongly with the Stuart themes in The Lion and the Covenant, along with the Royal Arch order also mentioned.




The Lion and the Covenant

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