Book Reviews



Not another meaningless book about landscape geometry - with allegedly arbitrary geographical points pointing to a hidden mystery in the Rennes-le-Château landscape.

These were my initial thoughts when i saw the Map and the Manuscript, the new book by author Simon Miles.

Not that i dont have a general interest in landscape geometry theories. As someone who studied Anthropology i find it fascinating that our ancestors could and did use their landscape, interacted with it and modelled it in to their daily lives. We also know that out ancestors used the stars and astronomical observations to map their landscapes and these studies are interesting in their own right too.

But does it really have anything to do with the so called Rennes-le-Château mystery?

Miles says he has discovered a mysterious zodiac format ‘.. based on a genuine ancient intervention in the landscape, a twelve-fold division inscribed geometrically into the earth. It has roots in deep antiquity. The Templars and others knew in the thirteenth century, and possibly much earlier, [they] knew of it and built their chateaux and churches on pre-existing, significant sites in the geometry. Knowledge of these landscape forms, and some of the cartographic properties evidently came in to the possession of Henri Boudet, in the late nineteenth century, in Rennes-les-Bains. He wrote about it as the Cromlech…’ [page 204].

He goes on to assert therefore that ‘…we have arrived at the hidden treasure concealed in Boudet’s map … it is the confirmation of the persistence into the modern world of knowledge of an ancient landscape form, of great antiquity, and of exquisite construction’.

Landscape geometry that was carried out through different ages? Used by different groups [and dated to structures from the Middle Ages and perhaps even earlier]? If so this raised an important question for me; is the Miles geometry interesting because it shows the extraordinary knowledge of our ancestors? Or is it important because it has been constructed for a specific reason? Or was the ancient knowledge adopted for a reason making both scenarios possible? Does this geometry exist?

Miles is a diligent, intelligent, interesting and knowledgeable researcher and writer. Diligent because he started with the theories Lincoln talked about in the Holy Place [and presented in the BBC Chronicle programmes] and set about checking every single assertion he made. He found that Lincoln had made several errors and on the way discovered a 45 degree alignment that he found highly significant. It suggested to him the possibility that ‘the original architects and builders of the structures [along that 45 degree line] intentionally arranged the spatial relationships between the locations’.

Miles had already referred to Jean Richer and his theories of Sacred Geometry, particularly in Greece. These background readings and investigations are what led Miles to apply and discover measures and maps that the ancients must have used in the area of the Two Rennes. This was to his utter dismay as he says he certainly wasn't looking for this!

It was then Miles became familiar with the poem, well known to all Rennes aficionados - Le Serpent Rouge. Mysterious and strange - no-one has ever offered a real solution to what this poem is about and how it relates to Rennes-le-Château. Miles asked all the questions other researchers have asked; who is the Grand Voyager, what are the 64 stones to be gathered, what is the ‘famous seal’, why is the Saint Sulpice meridian important? What actually is the point of LSR?

The book goes on to discover such answers.

What he has discovered is truly astonishing! It involves a zodiac - often thought to have been hinted at by Boudet and most certainly referred to in the work of Plantard and Chérisey. Miles presents his stunning theory on the origins of this zodiac within this work. He has discovered the way the trio Pierre Plantard, Gérard de Sède and Philippe de Chérisey carefully and over many years piece-meal directed us to certain discoveries within Le Serpent Rouge. And one is to realise that the mystery at Rennes-le-Château is really not there, but with Henri Boudet and his mysterious book, La Vrai Langue Celtique and his imaginary Cromlech.

Of course, seasoned and serious Rennes researchers already know this ….

For me the most astonishing discoveries and the aspect that constitutes the ‘game-changer’ label is Miles’ analysis of the Boudet map. Simply breathtaking and sublime. His discoveries are truly revelatory. Miles deconstructs the so-called Saunière parchments. The whole thing unravels in a seamless whole. A connected whole and what we need now is someone to come along and take up the baton Miles has thrown down!

All of this new research throws up interesting new questions. Difficult questions. Boudet used a code in his map. Why? The code is provable and not speculation. It is not vague. It is there to see. So why? What are the implications? Is it really to show us ancient knowledge he knew? Did he adopt this knowledge for his own reasons?

Will these ideas of Miles encounter resistance in the Rennes research community? I think they will. This resistance could simply be because it is difficult for the researchers in the Rennes-le-Chateau community to grasp what is happening here. One wrote to me; I am wary of those - including Henry Lincoln - who project precise geometric figures on any landscape in times when accurate measurement equipement didn't exist’. Others have mentioned about using the parchments in the Rennes Affair - saying that ‘we know - since 50 years now - [that they] are complete fabrications by Philippe de Chérisey, and this by his own admission'. Another has said - 'I am wary of people who release their first book and say "The book includes solutions to key riddles at the heart of mystery, first revealed.... We have seen so much... so much!

I totally understand their scepticism.

But i ask one thing of researchers - that they give this book a chance .. like i did. You will be richly rewarded and rewarded in many ways you might not expect. It is not often that a book comes along in Rennes-le-Château studies which can come to be a game-changer … this book is one of them! It is a claim i make myself!

It may well require a paradigm shift. But there is always the persistent question, why? Why, one cries in exasperation. Why has Boudet encoded his map like this? Why is it that Plantard had this information? How did he come in to possession of it?

This book is going to take many years before it is fully understood and appreciated. It will take many readings. I read it regularly and find something new each time and appreciate and understand it more as i do so.

This is a serious and respectful piece of research, dare i say it a lifes' wor. It deserves to be read by the serious researchers and considered in its own right. But above all we have to thank Mr Miles for his tenacity & his dedication to pursue such a work. He deserves admiration for how he went about completing the task. And we also have to thank him for giving us such an exciting and rich read in our favourite subject and to the new areas of thought he has opened up … who can ask more of book?


Delphine Alsop-Parsons

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Beautifully written and absolutely fascinating!

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 22 November 2022

Simon Miles’ writing is wonderful to read, and all of his detailed research is so exciting to dive into, whether or not you are already familiar with the themes and topics. Definitely a book I didn’t want to put down as I was gripped on every page, absolutely loved it!!

Kate Cassidy

5.0 out of 5 stars 

A Fascinating Read

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 7 August 2022

Everyone loves a mystery and the Mystery of Rennes-Le-Chateau and its surrounding landscape, once home to the Cathars and Templars, is one of the most enduring.
‘The Map and the Manuscript’, contains everything I love: secrets, cryptography, puzzles, riddles, geometry, wordplay and more. I felt I was taken on a journey which managed to inject fascinating new information and insights that I had never encountered in previous books or films on the subject.
It is thoroughly researched with great attention to detail, and I valued the fact that it is not written by someone who has visited a handful of times, or indeed never, but from someone who, through a series of synchronicities, came to reside there and speaks French.
I have never visited this part of France but Simon Miles’ powerfully evocative descriptions transported me to the location to the degree that I felt I could touch the landscapes he was describing. This is a book which will keep even those familiar with the various theories hooked to the end and it delivers a new and satisfying ‘hidden in plain sight’ solution to one the most intriguing mysteries of our time.

Top reviews from other countries

Christina G. Waldman5.0 out of 5 stars An Author's Literary QuestReviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on 2 November 2022

"There are two villages bearing the name of Rennes in the foothills of the northern slopes of the Pyrenees, in the Languedoc, southern France. Though they are twinned by name, the pair could not be more different in aspect."

So the author, Simon M. Miles, begins his introduction to this book. And, while it is a book about a deep and ancient mystery involving these two villages, it is also the story of how an intelligent researcher goes about solving a riddle of grand scope. It took him twenty years. His tools included scientific knowledge, maps and books, intuition, and, of course, good sleuthing. His bio tells us he is an "independent author, researcher, and speaker" who "became a full-time writer in 2007," "after a successful business career in the field of scientific lasers." He is from Australia, now living in the U.K.

I knew nothing about the book’s subject matter when I first started reading it. I had heard of "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco and Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," two popular books which I understand touch on these mysteries, but had not read them. Nor had I heard of the French writers the author discusses whose works provided clues and context (whose names I will omit, so as not to give away any "spoilers"); but now, my curiosity is piqued. Miles discusses the prior literature, claiming that his book goes deeper into the topic than other writers have done to date, providing new information and solutions to some of its more mystifying aspects.

The author demonstrates a strong grasp of his book's subject matter. He manages to convey its detailed and sometimes complicated information in an engaging style. Matters of a technical nature, such as those discussed in chapter 15, must be dealt with (like showing your work in math class), but they will probably mean more to those with a scientific background than those such as myself. I confess, I skimmed a few pages here and there of this more-technical material. More to my liking was chapter 16 in which the author delved into Jung's ideas on the "artist as alchemist," metaphorically speaking. These later chapters helped me to understand why this topic mattered to the author and to relate to it more personally, as a person interested in literature, history, mythology, and puzzle-solving.

The author has provided abundant full-color diagrams and illustrations, and additional relevant material in five appendices (including a bibliography and expanded table of contents). I bought both the Kindle edition and the paperback (496 pages, of excellent quality). I had learned of the book in a forum discussion of an online group in which I participate. Some years ago, Miles wrote the foreword to a book I wrote. I enjoyed learning more about this ancient riddle whose secrets lay buried for so long, waiting to be discovered in the landscape, books, and maps.