Knot of Stone

Written by Nicolaas Vergunst
Review by Janet Williamson

In 1510 the first murder in South Africa’s history was committed. Francisco d’Almeida, disgraced ex-Viceroy of Portuguese India, was returning to Lisbon but put ashore beneath Table Mountain accompanied by fifteen other men, who were all executed, allegedly by a militant religious fraternity of armed Knights, The Order of Santiago.

D’Almeida was believed to have used rationalism, superstition, doctrine, and divination to break through the cordon of Islam to spread Christianity, but had fallen foul of the order’s leader, Albuquerque, who accused him of betrayal after a rare book and stone went missing. In the present day, when bones are found at the massacre site, anthropologist Sonja Haas and Jason Tomas from the South African Museum are asked to investigate the site and unearth the truth. Assisted by the revelations of the psychic Laurence Oliver, Sonja and Jason begin their search believing that d’Almeida was one of a number of reincarnated souls chosen to drive Christianity throughout the eastern world.

Their travels take them to Portugal, where they are followed, attempts to steal their research materials are made, and one colleague is murdered. Now alert to danger, they receive further messages from Oliver and begin to wonder what their personal connections to the massacre might be. Oliver hints that a dossier compiled by Walter Johannes Stein reveals the full story and will provide them with the knowledge needed to draw together their own knot of karma.

Vergunst states that his story seeks to find cohesion between science, sorcery, rationalism, philosophy, prophecy, and mystic Christianity—and out of information on those subjects emerges a good story.