I love reading English language literature, but when I ordered this book, I didn't realize that Thore Hansen wrote his first novel in German and that it has been translated into English. Had I known that and had I had a chance to sneak a peek at this book beforehand, I would never have ordered it. The translation ... well, it hurts. Really. Though English is not my mother tongue, I can't help but notice: This isn't English. This is German using English vocabulary: German structured sentences, German idioms, German grammar. Almost half the time I felt like reading German in a most peculiar dialect.
The story ... well, it is gripping, interesting, fascinating, thrilling - unless you set great store by plausability, logic, social and historic accuracy. Of course "The Celtic Conspiracy" is a novel. It is fantasy, not a history book. But even fantasy has to be at least a little authentic and should follow reason. I am really not a friend of the Church or of churches in general. Nevertheless I am sure, not even the Vatican, most fashionable villain of villains since Dan Brown, will ever act so stupid as to deny crimes committed against the pagans in the early centuries of Christendom (and later), let alone kill in order to keep them secret.
Today we know what mission did to non-believers all over the world. We know, pagans were converted - or killed, when conversion didn't come readily - or both - or simply assimilated, and always preyed upon. We know whole peoples were robbed of their wealth as well as their cultural inheritance and identity. The Vatican knows that, too, and has long acknowledged it. But lost is lost. Lost culture and knowledge don't come back miraculously. And as all those atrocities - at least concerning the Celts - happened several hundreds of years ago, they are history, almost prehistoric history. Today's church cannot and will not be held responsible for crimes committed by fanatic missionaries and/or power hungry conquerors and rulers in the early third and fourth century. Furthermore modern Western democracies will not turn their backs on their central beliefs - capitalism, profit, economic growth - in favour of esoteric convictions.
So unfortunately the plot of this novel is extremely far fetched and just wishful thinking. The author openly sympathizes with esoterism, transforming the Celtic Druids of whom we know almost nothing, for they left us no written records, into people of supernatural powers, extremely high ethics, kindness, wisdom, and knowledge. Their moral standing is allegedly highly superior to that of the church, namely the Roman Catholic Church that has been thoroughly compromised by Constantine's craving for power. Historic evidence suggests Druids probably practised human sacrifice, but that doesn't fit the author's concept, and so he ignores it and makes his modern Druids change the world.
Maybe the original German version is at least a good read despite the immense plot holes. The English version is not.