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This is the true story of the Holy Grail. "The Waste Land" chronicles the adventures of Hugh de Verdon, monk turned knight, during the extraordinary historical events of the First Crusade. He journeys from the great Benedictine monastery of Cluny to Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem. He encounters the Assassins, endures a personal epiphany and discovers the 'truth' behind the Holy Grail. Hugh de Verdon's tale is retold by a group of desperate Oxford professors, based on his autobiographical manuscript, discovered in their College Library. Their humorous - and murderous - story also provides a commentary on the eleventh century events and shows that they are perhaps not all they seem.
Simon Acland spent twenty-five years as a venture capitalist backing high technology businesses. The sale of his firm in 2007 gave him the opportunity to do something completely different. The Waste Land is the product of several overlapping interests: fascination with the original twelfth century grail romances as a result of studying French at Oxford, enthusiasm for the meanings and origins of ancient myths and legends, and awe for T S Eliot's genius in blending these elements together and giving them universal meaning. His first novel also betrays his suspicion of organised religion, his interest in medieval history, and his enjoyment of adventure stories in the old style.