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Master Game: Unmasking the Secret Rulers of the World [Paperback]

Graham Hancock , Robert Bauval
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 13 2011

The Master Game is a roller-coaster intellectual journey through the back streets and rat runs of history to uncover the traces in architecture and monuments of a secret religion that has shaped the world.

Pivotal historical events and processes, not least the Renaissance, the birth of scientific rationalism, and the French and American revolutions, are radically re-evaluated in the light of new investigative evidence presented in The Master Game. Even the belief that the United States has a "global mission," so obvious today, may ultimately prove to be less the result of a short-term reaction to terrorism than the inevitable working out of a covert plan originally set in motion almost two thousand years ago.

The Master Game refers to a scheme or "game" played on the world stage to bring about a world order governed by a lofty goal which, today, we term the "Masonic Ideal." The Master Game traces the origins of this game of symbols and words and talismans from ancient Egypt all the way to modern times, and places it squarely on the elitist Scottish Rite Freemasonry, headquartered in Washington, DC, and ruled by a secretive and powerful brotherhood of men who have attained the thirty-third degree. The Master Game exposes this world order's true purpose and, more importantly, shows how it has affected the United States of America and badly backfired on 9/11.

The book is adapted and expanded from the authors' earlier, out-of-print book Talisman.


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About the Author

Graham Hancock is a bestselling author of non-fiction in the alternative history genre, perhaps best known for Fingerprints of the Gods. He is the undisputed leader in the field and his books have proved to be consistent and substantial long-sellers. His two major British TV series (Quest for the Lost Civilisation, 1998, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, 2002) put his ideas in front of audiences of millions, and his web site (www.grahamhancock.com) is recognized as a primary research source with over one million page views every month.

Graham Hancock's books have been translated into 27 languages and have sold more than five million copies worldwide. His most recent book is Supernatural: Meetings With The Ancient Teachers Of Mankind.



Rogue Egyptologist Robert Bauval was born in Egypt in 1948. A construction engineer, his interest in Egyptology is long standing, having lived in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East for much of his life.

In the 1980s he developed a line of study linking the pyramids and the so-called Pyramid Texts with astronomy and famously published the bestselling The Orion Mystery. His most recent book is The Egypt Code.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham Hancock delivers again July 19 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are interested about aspects of history that is not taught in school, you will immensely enjoy this book. It is thoroughly researched, and Graham writes superbly. It reads fast, and the amount of information is astounding. Definitely give it a try, you won't regret it.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rewrite of the Talisman Sept. 5 2011
By Maria
Format:Paperback
Wow! Well, since Amazon.ca doesn't have a product description, I had to look on it's sister site, Amazon.com for any information. It turns out that the first 3 reviews on that site warn prospective buyers that this is just a rewrite or even a republication of the authors' previous work called "Talisman". So if you own the first book, you apparently don't need this one.

That said, for someone that has not read the Talisman, here's your chance to learn more about the conspiracy theory of secret Masonic plans for a new world order. I gave this book 3 stars because I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but these sorts of books do the great service of giving people practice at making their own decisions based on the information presented and are certainly excellent for sparking conversation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  47 reviews
114 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent new edition of Talisman Aug. 31 2011
By Hagbard Celine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Just to be clear, this book is essentially a new edition of "Talisman," which has been out of print in the US for several years and was something of an underground gem as it was not much publicized by its now defunct publisher, Element Books. Hancock and Bauval have taken the bones of "Talisman" and added on new material that bookends that work into a new theory that addresses the massive global issue of our time: the struggle between Islam and the West.

They are not afraid to be controversial. Some of the material regarding 9/11 in particular is likely to rile establishment parrots and truthers alike. It's a massive book - 636 pages with 81 photos - and it's hard to get through some of it. The payoff comes eventually, though, for those who stay the course - and their controversial conclusions will not seem nearly as far fetched once you've sucked in the couple of millennia's worth of global history leading up to them.

Definitely recommended for those who missed "Talisman," and even for those familiar with that work there is enough new material here to make it a worthwhile purchase, IMHO.
73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars old material, new cover Sept. 3 2011
By D&D - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is essentially a revised "Talisman", an earlier book by the same authors; it is misleading and cynical to give it a completely new name without even a reference to "Talisman" on the front (or even back) cover to warn potential readers.

Worth getting by those who did not read "Talisman" because of its historic detail and good use of original sources. A big book (600 pages), the authors do excellent work in tracing ancient gnostic "heresy" from Egypt to the contemporary West. They offer a coherent thread for an underground movement spanning millennia; illuminating, for instance, the spiritual and esoteric aspects of the French Revolution that many others overlook. Their coverage of the influence of ancient Egypt on the designs of major cities like London, Paris and Washington D.C. was amazing when "Talisman" was published.

However a number of more recent books explore in more depth the similarities of the Hindu, Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions (really different sects of the same religion) with the earlier Egyptian solar cult. (Just two examples: church congregations face east (the direction of sunrise and solar rebirth) to pray while Muslims pray towards a black stone that was the center of moon cult worship. "Observant Jews" wear two small black boxes - like miniature versions of the Islamic Kaaba. In the Comments section I suggest just a few books explaining much more about the relationships between many religions.)

The Egyptian roots of today's religions have since been far better addressed by many others, including Acharya S, Ralph Ellis and Michael Tsarion. Over the last decade the uncovering of what had been kept secret from us for thousands of years has been moving so rapidly that this book already exhibits a disappointing lack of penetration into the hidden/esoteric secrets underlying religion when compared to the works of Pierre Sabak as well as Tsarion, Ellis & Acharya, all of whom use etymology (tracing the origin and development of words). These, and other excellent books, like Icke's "Human Race" [2014 note - Icke's latest and best, so far, is "Perception Deception"], Farrell's "Babylon's Banksters", Swerdlow's "True World History" and Shannon Dorey's books on the Dogon religion all reveal a truer version of humankind's history than we have previously been allowed to know.

Later notes:
- Santos Bonacci is fascinating in his many youtube presentations - finally, everything (absolutely everything!) linked together in a (comparatively) simple manner.
- Mauro Biglino spent a decade translating the original Bible for the Vatican until he found out what they were doing with it. In the comments section I have added the link to Biglino's presentation on youtube (English subtitles).
- Frank O'Collins of Ucadia.com offers massive amounts of information on the "secret rulers" (whom he points out repeatedly are mentally ill) spread over a dozen websites and hundreds of hours of radio presentations on talkshoe - don't miss.
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seriously interesting, but the point is? Sept. 16 2011
By M. L Lamendola - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book provides extensive research and detail on, as far as I can tell, two topics:

1. The brutalities of the Catholic Church in suppressing dissent, truth, heresy, and knowledge. It covers this story from the beginnings of the Catholic Church in the fourth century AD until the ascent of England as the dominant world power.

2. The Masons and a litany of architectural anomalies and coincidences. It covers this story from the time of the Knights Templar (presumably, the forerunners of the Masons) to such modern architecture as I.M. Pei's pyramid at the Louvre.

If you have an interest in this kind of history, this book will be a page turner for you. You'll turn about 600 pages. Unfortunately, this book obviously was not proofread. So as you turn those pages, you can't help but notice that typos and misspellings abound. To me, that's a serious defect.

Another defect is the book doesn't seem to be written with a point in mind. While I enjoyed reading the history, I finished the book not understanding why the authors wrote it or what point they were trying to make. Yes, they did state a concluding point but it didn't seem to derive from the rest of the book.

This is really several books in one, or at least several themes that appear to stand separately. For example, there's a book that gives you some history of the Cathars, another book that gives you some history of the Knights Templar, and another book that discusses writings of Hermes Trismegistus. The authors don't explain how these tie together. That said, it is some seriously interesting material to read.

The Master Game ends with a 20-page chapter that talks about Masonry and jihads, concluding that the secular leaders need to get the Muslims and Christians to set aside their animosity toward each other. That's a good sentiment as far as it goes. But it ignores the fact that most of the Western world isn't Christian (non-Muslim Europeans tend to be agnostic), even if we lump Catholics into that category.

Only at the end of the book did it dawn on me that the authors were positing that the folks running the world are the Masons. But they don't make a case for that theory. Yes, many prominent people have been Masons. But they also probably ate peas. So what?

With so much detail in the history of Catholic suppression, the Cathars, etc., we suddenly leap into "these people were Masons, so Masons must be running the world." But the evidence the authors provide of Mason influence is in architecture, not politics or banking. As the Masons came out of the building trades, their influence in architecture is a given.

So I don't see that this book answers the question posed by its title and subtitle. There is a conclusion, but I don't see its relevance to the rest of the book.

Except for loosely arguing that the Masons rule the world, this book doesn't reveal who the "secret rulers" are. I had expected to read something about Goldman Sachs or another of today's powerful criminal enterprises, but this book spends most of its time hundreds of years in the past and then rapidly moves through the American and French Revolutionary times and on to today. But it spends very little time on anything that's happened in this century or even the previous one.

Consider what would happen if a researcher decided to answer the following two questions:

1. How did Obama, who had the worst federal spending record in the US Senate, manage to get put on the Presidential ballot in the middle of an economic crisis made worse by federal spending?

2. Why are so many of Obama's top folks, and nearly all with any financial oversight, from Goldman Sachs?

Or consider how research into those two questions would lead us into looking at how the massive stealing (they call it "spending") of the Obama, Bush, and Clinton Presidencies has produced a national debt greater now than $200 trillion (far above the official figures) or why the USA now spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined.

Yet, none of this was even hinted at in the book. And I don't see how today's gangsta government has anything to do with Catholic popes who died fifteen or sixteen centuries ago on another continent.

This book provides an interesting ride through history. But to see who the secret rulers of the world are, you just need to follow the money. The master game is one of stealing, and those who run the game are accumulating the money. The alignments of buildings in London and Paris aren't explained by the greed and destruction we see from today's elite.
103 of 124 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Talisman Renamed! Aug. 29 2011
By Rebel59 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just received the book today, and although I suspected this might be the case (due to the identical "Book Description" for both "Talisman" and "The Master Game"), I wasn't quite sure until I actually received my long-awaited copy of "The Master Game" this afternoon. Alas, my suspicions were confirmed. The pictures/illustrations are virtually identical; the chapter titles are the same; even the endnotes are largely the same. I suspect this may be a slightly updated version of the ponderous 2004 "Talisman", but buyer beware. If you've already read/have "Talisman" in your library, you're about to add an inferiorly printed rerun of the same book to your repertoire. This is really a shame - or might I say, "sham" - as the listing leaves the impression that this is a brand new title. Where's the "formerly entitled 'Talisman'" disclaimer? Or, even the admission this is an updated version of that earlier work? In short, it's non-existent. I just paid $15.08 for a title that wasn't a very good read to begin with. To be fair, perhaps there's more than just a modest measure of updating inside; maybe Bauval & Hancock just kept the same photos and chapter titles and focused their efforts on refining the content. I can only hope that's the case, but I'm less than optimistic that it will be so. Sigh! And after waiting for nearly five (5) months and multiple delayed release dates. I feel like i just bought a stale dessert purveyed as fresh from the oven. Buyer beware!
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overloaded with detail, vague in its aims and conclusions Sept. 14 2011
By Orange Newt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Luckily I hadn't read TALISMAN, so I was spared the unpleasant surprise of discovering that THE MASTER GAME is a new version or edition (maybe revised a bit? maybe not??) of that book. Unhappily, though, I found TMG to be, overall, the least interesting and least well organized or argued of Hancock's and Bauval's books.

The authors say -- although they wait until midway through to say it -- "In this book we are tracing the course through history of two interrelated underground religions, Gnosticism and Hermeticism." In the Prologue, Hancock and Bauval make a case for extensive Masonic influences and involvement in the American and French revolutions. Then for around 130 pages, they switch to the Cathars of Occitania, connecting the Cathar/Bogomil/Paulician/Messalian religious ideas back to the earliest Christian gnostics and Manicheism, and detailing the Catholic church's genocidal ferocity in wiping out the Cathars through the Albigensian crusades and the Inquisition. Then, for the balance of the book, they focus on the writings attributed to "Hermes Trismegistus" and follow the Hermetic school of thought and belief from its apparent origins up through -- for example -- Cosimo Medici, John Dee, Giordano Bruno, the Templars, the Rosicrucians, and finally Freemasonry.

The Cathar section is interesting, but it -- like the Cathars -- comes to a dead end. In the longer Hermetic portion of the book, Bauval and Hancock launch the reader into a wearying slog through a seemingly endless swamp of historical detail. After pages and pages about Alexander the Great, the founding of Alexandria, the Apis bull cult and a lot else, I yearned to be able to grab the authors by their collars and demand "What's your point here?" And I still do. And when the story arrives again at the French Revolution, everything that was already said in the 22-page Prologue gets repeated in much greater detail.

So after several hundred pages of "The Duke's grandfather, also named Philippe d'Orleans, was the second son of Louis XIII and thus younger brother to the Sun King Louis XIV. In 1661 he married Henrietta of England, daughter of Charles I, and in 1671 he married again..." and so on and so on and on, where do we end up? The book seems to conclude that Freemasons have maybe misunderstood their own doctrines in relation to the creation of Israel; regardless of that, paranoid Muslims have misunderstood Freemasonry; and Hancock and Bauval want to debunk "harebrained conspiracy theories" without actually getting into the specifics of them -- which is kind of comically ironic, because they've just spent a good portion of their book documenting an ongoing centuries-long international conspiracy. I say the book "seems to" conclude these things, because there isn't really any summing up, clarifying, and drawing of conclusions -- the narrative just grinds to a halt on an ambiguous note. The closest things to conclusions are stated in the Introduction; and when, after finishing TMG, I went back and reread the Introduction, it seemed to be for a different book than the one I just read.

Despite my griping about excessive detail, there are a few places where I wish the authors had gone into *more* detail: for example, at one point they assert that the ancient Egyptians -- despite their pantheon of gods and goddesses, obsession with the afterlife, mythology, temples, priests etc. -- did not have or practice a "religion" in the sense we use the word today. This intriguing statement is not really explained or elaborated -- and it seems like it should have been, since repeatedly in this book 'everything comes back to Egypt' and that 'religion that's not a religion' sounds like a particularly significant key to understanding ancient Egypt.

As a last note -- it's becoming a litany in my reviews, but I see that TMG's publisher is another who evidently runs a spellcheck on their manuscripts but doesn't employ proofreaders -- and if you think feel that's just grate and knot a problem you the they won't mined this kind of garbled text ... and I have to conclude that schools no longer teach future typesetters the difference between "its" and "it's"...
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