The Key and the Stone
Otto Rahn a German Grail Historian and writer is having a hard time making ends meet in France when he receives a mysterious telegram from a publisher offering a two book deal with an advance.
On answering the telegram Rahn discovers to his horror, that his new publisher is Himmler. Himmler makes him an honorary SS officer, but he doesn't know that Otto Rahn has Jewish ancestry. After a terrible initiation in Weweslburg, where Rahn is 'blooded' Himmler sends him to the south of France in search of a very rare Grimoire of Black Magic called Le Serpent Rouge. He wants to give it to Hitler as a gift for his birthday.
In France a rattled Rahn schemes to lose himself in the mountains of the Pyrenees but finds he is being watched closely.
He meets up with an old pal La Dame who has done research for him on a contact that his superiors in Berlin gave him, a certain man Pierre Plantard. La Dame has discovered all sorts of shady connections with clandestine brotherhoods and orders.
Rahn meets the man the next day and Plantard tells Rahn it makes no difference if the Grimoire exists or not.
'The truth is, it is no longer relevant, Monsieur Rahn. A man has been murdered for it and this has made the idea, the dream that it exists, a commodité. Even now, a dozen groups have circulated that they have knowledge of it. Some purport to have part of it, others to own the entire manuscript.’
In the diary he gives Rahn, Rahn reads a quote taken from one of his books and a clue: the grimoires are all incomplete, there is a missing key found somewhere. Apparently Monti believed that Rahn knew where it was becausethe quote from Rahn’s book mentions ‘a skeleton key'.
Rahn heads to the South to his friend and mentor Deodat Roche, an elderly Cathar Historian. He is only intending to stay a short time but consents to visit an old priest, a friend of Roche's, Father Eugene Cros, who has had a stroke and is incapacitated. Deodat thinks he might know the priest mentioned in the diary Plantard gave to Rahn.
During the visit they meet Cros' niece Eva. Cros seems agitated and seemingly anxious to say something but all he can manage is a cryptic message - the word Sator.
Not knowing what it means Rahn and Deodat accompanied by Eva visit Cros' old church Bugarach which is nearby because of its historical significance but upon their return they find that the incapacitated priest has drowned in a pond - he has been murdered. The police arrive and they are questioned by Inspector Belliere.
Later that night Roche discovers upon further investigation and consultation with his books that the message Eugene Cros gave them has everything to do with the Grimoire and that it has quite a deal to do with a code and magic squares and the church of Bugarach, which they had visited earlier and in particular the tabernacle in that church. So Rahn and Deodat set off to break into the church at night.
It seems their trespassing is discovered when Rahn is hit over the head. When he comes to, he realises it was Eva who throttled him with a candlestick, she had gone there to open the tabernacle herself with a key found when the police drained the pond. Together they discover that Cros had hidden a list of priests in the Tabernacle of his church. and that the priest at the head of that list was also in the diary that Rahn was given. Moreover, Eva realises, this man had visited her uncle a short time before.
When they return home, Deodat and Rahn hide the list in an old book and Rahn, concussed, goes to bed. When he wakes, he finds himself in the half closed boot of Deodar's car. In the garage there is a dead man, with his throat cut and a can of petrol nearby. He realises the man must have been killed while in the process of torching the car. When Rahn makes his way to the house he finds Deodat is gone and the house has been ransacked. He finds the hidden list just as Eva arrives looking for Rahn with some thoughts on her uncle's drowning. Fearing for Deodat's life he and Eva decide to visit that first priest on their list. He lives at a hermitage some miles away. They take Deodat's car, feeling that the only hope in saving him is to find the Grimoire, for they assume this is what the kidnappers want. But the kidnappers are not the only ones looking for it and they don't need the grimoire, they already have it. They want the missing key. This missing key turns out to be found in an original copy of the Book of Revelations, the same which Matteu hid in the caves of Lombrives in the First Season, Fifth Gospel.
They have a harrowing ride in the Deodat's car on a narrow road following a step gorge. Deodat's car seems to have a life of its own, finally coming to a stop just in time. The car being useless they thumb a ride to the Hermitage where they speak to the priest in Monti's book. They learn that Cros had been investigating a number of priests in the area who were selling masses for the dead, the foremost of them is Berenger Sauniere, an infamous priest who was dead now but was then priest of Rennes le Chateau a Hamlet not far away. These are the priests on Cros' list.
At Rennes le Chateau they meet an old woman, Madame Denarnaud, Sauniere's old housekeeper, who gives Rahn more clues about something hidden in the bowels of the church in Rennes le Chatteau. They learn about the gruesome death of another priest on their list and start to piece things together - these priests were all party to a secret and Rahn thinks that it is either the grimoire or the key missing from all the grimoires. A potent key - the sign of Satan - capable of invoking the Sun Demon and giving a magician the greatest power - a sign used by the Atlantean kings in their Black Magic.
Rahn and Eva find an underground tunnel beneath the church at Rennes le Chatteau. Madame Denarnaud gives Rahn a parchment in which a code is written and with the police on their tails and various brotherhoods looking for them they solve the codes and realise that there are clues hidden in six churches, by six priests. In one of the churches, they are almost out of ideas when Deodat shows up. He has escaped from his captors who had him imprisoned in Cros' house. He helps them to realise that whatever was in the churches has been removed and by solving the puzzle on the list they realise that the secret they were hiding is in Bugarach, Cros' old church! It was right under their noses all the time.
At this point Eva disappears, it so happens that she too is more connected to the key than previously thought, by way of a family inheritance.
Rahn, La Dame and Deodat travel to Bugarach and find the book which turns out to be a bible containing that Book of Revelations in plain view. But when they get it, La Dame's treachery is revealed. He has been working for the English Brothers of the Shadows and has led them to Rahn and Eva.
They are taken to Cros' house, to the basement and the house is set a light. Eva however, helps them to escape, Rahn leaves the traitor La Dame in the township and they head to the hermitage where they now know, that a ritual is about to take place in its underground caves.
Here all the brotherhoods have gathered to make Madame Denarnaud a Black Popess and Alistair Crowley a Black Pope using the Key that Rahn Found so conveniently for them - the Sign of Sorath, the Demon of the Black Sun. This ritual will give Hitler immense powers of black magic.
But Rahn and Eva manage to foil the ritual and escape unharmed.
In the end Rahn and Eva realise they are Rosicrucians, Eva realises she was Claudia Procula, and Lea, while Rahn realises he was Matteu and Joseph Arimathea and that Cros was also one of them, he was Bertrand Marty and Cassius Gaius. They also realise that the hunt for the sign of Sorath was a red herring Cros created to keep the Brothers of the Shadows away from the Rosicrucian Secret which Cros had hidden on the Island of the Dead in Venice some months before he became ill.
An Atlantian stone called the Ocular.