The illuminatus! trilogy



“The longest shaggy dog joke in literary history…. A hundred pages in I couldn’t figure out why I was wasting my time with this nonsense … after three hundred I was having too much fun to quit, and by the end I was eager to believe every word — I loved it.

— Rolling Stone

“More important than Ulysses or Finnegans Wake.”

— Timothy Leary

“Funny, savagely sarcastic, definitely anarchistic … wild and irreverent … Shea and Wilson blend a marvelous amount of fact and inspired fiction together to weave one of the most dizzying tales I’ve come across in years…. Laugh or rage at it or with it … you won’t be able to put it down.” — Limit

“All the ingredients: kinky sex, raunchy language, and a fantasy plot that oscillates between a schizoid nightmare and a psychedelic dream.” —Booklist

Also available from Dell



The history of the world is the history of the warfare between secret societies.

—Ishmael Reed, Mumbo-Jumbo

To Gregory Hill and

Kerry Thornley



The Eye in the Pyramid


The Golden Apple




From Dealey Plaza

To Watergate …

The Purple Sage opened his mouth and moved his tongue and so spake to them and he said:

The Earth quakes and the Heavens rattle; the beasts of nature flock together and the nations of men flock apart; volcanoes usher up heat while elsewhere water becomes ice and melts; and then on other days it just rains.

Indeed do many things come to pass.

—Lord Omar Khayaam Ravenhurst, K.S.C.,

“The Book of Predications.” The Honest Book of Truth

It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton. On April 1, the world’s great powers came closer to nuclear war than ever before, all because of an obscure island named Fernando Poo. By the time international affairs returned to their normal cold-war level, some wits were calling it the most tasteless April Fool’s joke in history. I happen to know all the details about what happened, but I have no idea how to recount them in a manner that will make sense to most readers. For instance, I am not even sure who I am, and my embarrassment on that matter makes me wonder if you will believe anything I reveal. Worse yet, I am at the moment very conscious of a squirrel—in Central Park, just off Sixty-eighth Street, in New York City—that is leaping from one tree to another, and I think that happens on the night of April 23 (or is it the morning of April 24?), but fitting the squirrel together with Fernando Poo is, for the present, beyond my powers. I beg your tolerance. There is nothing I can do to make things any easier for any of us, and you will have to accept being addressed by a disembodied voice just as I accept the compulsion to speak out even though I am painfully aware that I am talking to an invisible, perhaps nonexistent, audience. Wise men have regarded the earth as a tragedy, a farce, even an illusionist’s trick; but all, if they are truly wise and not merely intellectual rapists, recognize that it is certainly some kind of stage in which we all play roles, most of us being very poorly coached and totally unrehearsed before the curtain rises. Is it too much if I ask, tentatively, that we agree to look upon it as a circus, a touring carnival wandering about the sun for a record season of four billion years and producing new monsters and miracles, hoaxes and bloody mishaps, wonders and blunders, but never quite entertaining the customers well enough to