Thursday, April 17, 2014

What Is The Book Of Leaves?

In the same weekend that Game of Thrones unveiled its latest shocking plot twist (for anyone who hasn’t read A Storm of Swords), Da Vinci’s Demons continued to weave its own elaborate tale. And once again, we’ve learned some intriguing tidbits about the cryptic Book of Leaves.

Count Riario has his own theory about the Book of Leaves.**
The Book of Leaves is the object at the center of the show’s biggest mystery. Last season, in the bowels of Castel Sant’Angelo, where the pope keeps his hidden treasures,* we witnessed one of its pages. The page is written in an alien language that Leonardo has never seen, but with the wave of the pope’s hand, the writing magically switches to Hebrew, then to astrological symbols, and even to strange hexagonal patterns. In that scene, Pope Sixtus revealed the book may have Enochian origins. Being an author of Enochian fiction, I loved the angle the show was taking. But in last Saturday’s episode, Count Riario offered another theory about the Book of Leaves when talking to Nico in the Basilisk’s brig:
“His Holiness believes it was written by the Nephilim, the offspring of angels and men. I find that notion romantic, but unlikely. No, I believe it was transcribed by the elders of an ancient civilization in Crete, nine thousand years before Christ, in a place that later became the lost city of Atlantis.”
So maybe the mystery surrounding the Book of Leaves will take an Atlantean turn? Yet even if Riario’s theory is correct, it may not rule out the pope’s. For one, some legends hold that Atlantis was an Antediluvian city, which means that if it existed, it was before the Great Flood. This was the time of Genesis 6:1-4, when the Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterwards—when the sons of God went into the daughters of humans, who bore children to them.”

According to The Atlantis Encyclopedia (yes, there is one, and it’s a handy reference for anyone writing fiction set in Atlantis), “the Nephilim appear to have been fourth millennium B.C. Atlanteans.” And even if the Atlantis of Da Vinci’s Demons existed after the Flood, Genesis tells us the Nephilim lived on past that cataclysm, and they’re even mentioned in the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy (with old king Og, a remnant of the Rephaim, whose bed was nine cubits long (about 13 ½ feet!)). So perhaps the evil pope is still right. In any event, I’m looking forward to how this all unfolds later this season.

Is Lucrezia becoming a hero?**
And speaking of the evil pope, the show gave us an enormous plot twist about the brother he’s holding captive. I didn’t see that one coming! Nor did I foresee Lucrezia turning into a hero as she stays in Rome to save her father. Something makes me think that Lorenzo, who is halfway to Rome, may get embroiled in it too. I like that the writers kept us in Florence and Rome, for part of the show at least, even though Riario and Leonardo are racing across the Atlantic to find the New World.

If you’re a fan of the show, let me know what you think about Riario’s little theory. And if your jaw’s still slack after this past Sunday’s Game of Thrones, feel free to comment. The internet is abuzz with who you-know-who’s killer might be, and I’ve read a few wild conspiracy theories. Of course, the answer lies at the end of A Storm of Swords. All you have to do is read the book :)

* Note, if you re-watch the scene in the episode called The Hierophant, you’ll see that in addition to the Spear of Destiny (which looks a whole lot like the Holy Lance of Constantine) and the page from the Book of Leaves, Pope Sixtus is hiding the Ark of the Covenant! If only Indiana Jones had started his quest in the secret Vatican Archives!

** Photo courtesy of

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