How I Came to Write This Book

My initial interest wasn’t in General Patton and Heinrich Himmler, but with the holy relic known as the Spear of Destiny, the spear-point that a Roman centurion was said to have used to pierce Christ at the Crucifixion. I was fascinated by how this relic has been venerated over the centuries, that it wasn’t property of the church, as is the Shroud of Turin and most other holy relics, and how world monarchs, from Constantine to Napoleon, and finally Hitler, coveted the artifact. The challenge was how to tell the story in a compelling and personal way. How to humanize the story. I’m not a medievalist, and even if I had the credentials to tackle the subject, the documentary record doesn’t reveal what Constantine and Charlemagne and Napoleon really thought about the Holy Lance, or why they, and so many other world monarchs, went to such lengths to lay claim to it. Did they really believe in the spear’s alleged mystical power, or was possession of the artifact and the greater collection Holy Roman Empire Crown Jewels merely a matter of political expediency? Every emperor must have his crown, and spear too, perhaps. So I had given up on the idea of telling this story. Then, while I was digging through some boxes of recently declassified reports in the National Archives, in College Park, Maryland, I happened upon a report by Lieutenant Walter Horn. He turned out to be the officer who had been plucked out of the ranks and sent on the mission to Nuremberg, Germany to lay claim to the Spear and the other Crown Jewels on behalf of Generals Patton and Eisenhower and the Allied Army. As it turned out, a neighbor of the Horn family was a big fan of my Edgar Cayce book. She was also the best friend of Walter Horn’s widow. The rest naturally fell into place. I had a great story, and thanks to the support of the Horn family, I had my own treasure trove of material to write it. A Pandora’s Box, really.

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