The Books of the Dead (coming out in December), the third book in the series of the Elysium Texts (see The Hermetica of Elysium and The Necromancer’s Grimoire), takes place in the mountains of Persia. The adventurers meet up with Sufi dervishes in the mountains in their search for followers of Zarathustra and the remnants of the disbanded Assassins. In my research I have become fascinated with the dervishes and their hypnotic dance meditation.
The Persian poet, Rumi, discovered this very Zen way of communing with the supernatural in the 13th century. The practice has ebbed and flowed over the years depending on the political situation. Every culture has a shamanic mysticism preserved somewhere inside. This one shares attributes with Tai Chi, Labyrinth-walking, chanting and even the modern Rave. There is a disciplined ritual to the movements, each of which has a significance in the communion with god. The costume as well. Rumi’s esctatic poems reflect the insight and enlightenment he achieved in this manner. His words sound very modern. He says,
Just like God you will rip and tear down
and at the same time sew and repair.
You will open and close
Both at the same time.
If you want you can appear and conceal yourself however you like.
You will see everyone everything bare and naked.
Yet no one can see you
In the land of soul
You will be sultan of sultans.
In The Books of the Dead, Nadira takes her friends from Persia to Istanbul, and from there to Rhodes and Eleusis in search of the knowledge she needs to prevent another crusade between the Europeans and the Ottomans. Her adventures lead her to discover more than just how to manipulate men motivated by greed and power. She must overcome her own demons as well as allow herself to accept the decisions made by the people she loves the most. She learns to “appear and conceal,” and to “see everything (and everyone) bare and naked.”
The Books of the Dead will be published the first week of December by Knox Robinson in Hardcover and eBook.
Annmarie Banks, July 28, 2014