The Newton Enigma.  A novel by Linton Herbert

Chapter 3b


Tampa, Public Library, reference desk, October 21, 2 PM:



They went over to the reference librarian. 


“We’re looking for the genealogy of Charlemagne.”


“That would be in the occult section.”


“No, we’re not looking for hocus pocus.  We just want the history.”


“You won’t find much of that for the Dark Ages, but there is a genealogy in the book Bloodline of the Holy Grail.”  It seemed only polite to go look at the book.  The genealogy was in an appendix. 


Jesus, Joseph, Josue, Aminadab, Catheloys, Manael, Titurel, Boaz, Frotmund, Faramund, Clodion of Tournai, Sigimer, Ferreolus, Ansbert, Arnoald, Arnulf, Ansegis, Pepin the fat, Charles Martel, Pepin the Short, Charlemagne.


“So Charlemagne comes twenty generations after Christ, Ivan.”


“Was he actually descended from Christ?”


“Remember what the librarian said.  These are murky times.  But somebody lived then.  It’s the number of generations we are looking for.  Not exactly the linkup.  Let’s see.  That puts our friend … holy … no ….”


“What’s wrong Jon?”


Terra Lane, or any of the rest of us for that matter, was sixty generations after Christ.”


“Nice round number.”


“No, THE number.”


“And who was just thumbing his nose at the occult?”


“Around here you can’t get away from it.  Anyway the number, the real number, is three hundred sixty.  It was taken as the bases of all numbering by the Babylonians and the Sumerians and all of the ancient Near East.  The Muslims still keep a three hundred sixty day year, even though it means that dates drift around the seasons, since the solar year is about three hundred sixty five and a quarter days. 


“They, the Babylonian astronomers, divided the sky into twelve houses of the zodiac.  We still have a twelve month year.  We still measure circles in three hundred sixty degrees.  So a house of the zodiac is thirty degrees exactly.  And we are exactly two houses after Christ, assuming you accept the one generation equals one degree idea. 


“Astrology is a way supposedly of telling the future by looking at the planets, or where the planets were when somebody was born.  It works sort of like this: Two planets – and that of course includes the sun and moon which means seven visible ones, where we get our week from – the planets work together for good if they are in the same house.  They fight each other if they are in opposite houses, that is at one hundred eighty degrees apart.  If they are next to each other, that’s all right.  But if they are at right angles to each other then you’re ‘star crossed.’ The planets don’t just fight, they subvert and betray each other.  Whatever forces in your life those planets represent will give you more problems than if they were only in conflict.”


“So what has this to do with being sixty generations, or degrees if you must, from Christ?” 


“I don’t know.  It doesn’t mean anything.  But they are exactly two houses apart.  It’s an amazing coincidence.  If you believed in that sort of thing, and I don’t of course, it would mean that Terra Lane had some monumental thing to do that would affect all of history.  Let’s look at that globe again.


“By the way, if two planets are four houses apart, or one hundred twenty degrees, that is the best of all.  It’s called trine.  The influences help and sustain each other in the most constructive possible way.  That’s probably why the Jewish star is two equilateral triangles.  It’s celebrating the perfection of the universe if everything is in trine.”


Jon measured with his string again.  At sixty degrees from Jerusalem they found Greenland, South Africa, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, Mongolia and Russia. 


“I’m not getting anything out of this, Ivan.”


Russia is pretty big, isn’t it?” said Ivan.


“I suppose we could look at the genealogy of Jesus, but there doesn’t seem much point.  I could just about quote you from the Book of Mathew.  He lists them all and says, ‘So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon to Christ are fourteen generations.’” 


They consulted the King James Version. 


Ivan said, “Count them.  There should be forty two.”


Jon counted forty three.  “I don’t think he counted Abraham as a generation.  It was Isaac who was the first generation after Abraham.”


“But why start there?”  Ivan asked.  “As long as you are bent on this, take it back to the start.  And another thing.  Why do you keep drawing circles?  He didn’t say ‘miles,’ he said ‘degrees.’  If you go ninety degrees west along the equator, you are going to travel a lot farther than if you go ninety degrees west along the Arctic Circle.”


“All right, good then,” said Jon.  We look up how many generations from Adam to Christ.  We add that to the number of generations since Christ; that’s sixty as we already know.  Then we will just look that many degrees west of Jerusalem at the same latitude, directly west of the city.


It took the greater part of an hour, but at last Jon had listed it all: Adam,

Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem,

Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judas.  Phares, Esrom, Aram, Aminadab, Naasson, Salmon, Booz, Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon, Roboam, Abia, Asa, Josaphat, Joram, Ozias, Joatham, Achaz, Ezekias, Manasses, Amon,

Josias,  Jechonias, Salathiel, Zorobabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph and Jesus


Jon looked at the list and counted names.  Then he looked shocked.  He looked again.  He repeated the arithmetic.


“Well at least we know.  Ivan, lets get an atlas and look up the exact coordinates of Jerusalem.” 


They did.  Then Ivan and Jon went to the globe again.  This time Jon did not draw circles.  He traced the line straight west.  He found the approximate location, and then in the atlas they looked up a detailed map of that area to find what lay one hundred twenty degrees west of Jerusalem.  The location was a place he had never been but had heard of.


Jon said, “Ivan.  We ride.”


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