Ritual murders. Ancient enemies. A powerful secret.
An electrifying thriller about the rise of extremism. Two slayings—one in Rome and one in Jerusalem—rekindle an ancient rivalry between modern-day secret societies for knowledge lost at the fall of the Third Reich. Detective Antoine Marcas unwillingly teams up with the strong-willed Jade Zewinski to chase Neo-Nazi assassins across Europe.
They must unravel an arcane Freemason mystery, sparked by information from newly revealed KGB files. Inspired from the true story of mysterious Freemason files thought to hold a terrible secret, stolen by the SS in 1940, recovered by the Red Army in 1945 and returned half a century later.
Here is her interview with authors Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne.
Q&A with Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne
Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne are the best-selling French authors of the Antoine Marcas mysteries, a ten-book series that has sold 2 million copies worldwide and is translated into 17 languages. These high-action thrillers combine meticulous historical research with unusual plots and a compellingly complex hero. The series is making its debut in the US with Shadow Ritual (http://www.shadowritual.com), an electrifying thriller about the rise of extremism. Giacometti is a former investigative journalist. Ravenne is a literary critic, a specialist on the life of the Marquis de Sade, and a Freemason.
Tell us something about your writing partnership.
We take about nine months to write a novel: one month for the outline, two months of research, and the six remaining months for writing. When we come up with the outline, we see each other nearly every day. We set up the plot, balancing narration and characters, weaving in suspense, planning the cliffhangers. When we go into the research phase, the work is very solitary, because we have already defined who does what. Then comes the longer, harder work of writing. The novels in the series after Shadow Ritual are built around two plot lines—one is set in modern day times with our protagonist, Inspector Antoine Marcas, while the other is historical. We each are responsible for one of the plot lines, but then we each rewrite what the other wrote. This requires a delicate touch, as writers are always very sensitive about their writing. Fortunately, we have known each other since we were teenagers, and we resolved our ego problems some time ago.
Your hero Antoine Marcas is in many ways a unique character. How did you develop his character? Does he contain any elements of your personalities?
As a Freemason he believes in Freemason values, but he has a realistic understanding of the brotherhood and its faults. This isn’t the Mason of popular imagination whose initiation gave him instant access to arcane knowledge. He’s a divorced cop who has problems with his ex-wife and who evolves in a realistic universe. But it’s a universe where occasionally a more esoteric reality appears. Marcas was born from our disagreements. Eric had a negative image of freemasonry marked by its scandals, while Jacques was fed up with reading reductionist articles about the brotherhood. Over the years—we have written ten novels in the Antoine Marcas series in French—Eric has become “Mason-friendly,” but he maintains a critical distance from its influences. Antoine Marcas is an ideal, principled Freemason. In Shadow Ritual he teams up with Jade, a secret service agent who detests the Brothers.
You also have some interesting evil-doers. Where did you come up with the idea of the Gardener?
We wanted a character that would embody an implacable killer, a professional sadist who looked like a nice guy to play with contrasts. The Gardener seems easygoing enough, but has a terrible habit of cutting off the toes of his victims with garden sheers. He collects the blood to feed his flowers. The idea for this killer came to me when I was shopping at a local nursery. One of the salespeople looked like a grandfather and was demonstrating a brand new pair of pocket pruners. He handled the tool with dexterity. As he twirled it in the air, producing a steady click-clacking, he joked about how the blades were so sharp they could cut off a finger just like that. Right then, I thought the fellow would make an excellent killer.
What inspired the story?
Shadow Ritual was inspired by a little-known episode that occurred when the Nazis occupied France between 1940 and 1944. In an operation that was prepared in advance in great detail and began the day the Germans entered Paris, specialized commandos pillaged the French Freemason headquarters, stealing most of their archives. The Nazis requisitioned two centuries of French masonic memory—from 1740 to 1940—and sent all the documents to Germany. Those archives, which Eric and I have explored, hold documents signed by the likes of Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. And for many, they must hold some Great Secret. A hidden secret our novel Shadow Ritual set out to find.
Giacometti and Ravenne share their research and inside knowledge with exclusive content. Learn 5 Freemason Facts and a lot more you never knew about secret societies and the world around us. Go here: http://www.Lefrenchbook.com/shadow-ritual-facts-fiction