It's funny sometimes how some of your interests have always been with you, and sometimes they drop on you like one of those practical jokes involving doors and buckets hanging from ceilings.
Such was Holy Blood Holy Grail for me. Before I read this book I knew next to nothing about early Christian history and the Middle Ages. I couldn't tell a Mason from a Crusader from a Templar even if they walked up an beat me with a stick. Because of this, HBHG was mind-crashingly difficult to work through. I ended up finishing the thing just to prove I could.
But by introducing me to these concepts, events, and characters this one book set me down a path that would dominate my library and my life up until this time. Now not only can I tell the difference between a Templar and a Temple, I can also follow along with and contribute in detail to historical discussions on periods as far back as 3000 B.C.E. (and I know what that means too!) all the way to the present.
I often wondered just what, exactly, the rest of the world thought of HBHG. At the time I didn't know enough to judge either way. As I learned more about the various fields it became pretty clear to me the book was more about making the authors rich than revealing any real conspiracy to place an ersatz descendant of a marginal Jew on a reconstituted Roman throne.
So, sitting here trying to figure out excuses not to write I decided to find out, exactly, whether or not there was in fact anyone out there who went to the trouble of debunking HBHG. It wasn't too hard to find them, and since there may be some of you out there who had similar experiences with the book I figured it might be of interest what I found. Turns out our man's name is Paul Smith. His work can be found here, and an informative interview is here.