HUNTERS of the Holy Tub: A Comedy of Belief relates the adventures of three adult children of one of the first scientific showmen on television, Doc MacLantis, when they reluctantly take up the challenge of his life-long quest to find the long-vanished Holy Tub, also known as the Maundy Grail. They must face down their critics and solve the ancient mysteries that consumed their parents before their rivals, both open and hidden, do. The stakes are nothing less than redeeming their family honor and possibly even saving the world.
On the way, the Clan MacLantis must deal with libraries full of secrets, betrayals and bitter jealousies, tragic lost loves, crazy fans, forbidden sects, fanatics, killers, charlatans, spies, secret societies, deadly traps, and ancient mysteries of the skies – plus fakers, sex cults, drugs, and rock and roll.
The basin which Jesus used to wash his disciples’ feet, the Pelluvium Sanctissimum Christi or Most Holy Footbath of Christ, had been revered for over a thousand years — before being lost to history.
Two miraculous interventions believed by many to be from the Virgin Mary were involved with its disappearance, that she took it to Heaven along with the accompanying treasures. The “Scolding Madonna” as the dreadful apparition was later called, threatened death and destruction for their sins, but promised to send occasional reminders of the Sacred Basin to the faithful.
On rare occasions during the following centuries, an apparition of the Holy Tub would be briefly seen, floating eerily in the cathedral where it had disappeared. Meanwhile, secret factions and heretical cults were whispered to seek it amid desperate struggles in the caverns deep beneath the basilica.
By the dawn of the third millennium, the town in Southern France was making a comfortable living off the mystery through tourist attractions and conventions. Today called “Bellegraal,” this pleasant, seemingly-friendly city still secretly seethed with rivals coveting the Sacred Basin for themselves.
While on a secret mission during World War II, Doc MacLantis became involved after finding a hidden door to a vault while trapped underground. During a later attempt to open it on live TV, Doc’s hard-earned fame as one of the first pop culture scientific showmen was buried by public derision. He retired in disgrace.
The “Clan MacLantis” – Gus, Skip, Allie,
and their parents, Doc and Maureen.
When Doc MacLantis’ comeback show featuring his now-adult children fails in 2004, he surprises everyone at a long-planned celebration with an announcement that he is writing his memoirs. Yet moments later, Doc suddenly keels over and dies.
His children, the “Clan MacLantis,” Skip, a recently-divorced professional climber and photographer; Gus, an embattled academic archeologist; and their sister Allie, a shy, intuitive artist all just want to get on with their own lives. But too many people suspect Doc knew much more than he ever publicly admitted.
Mysterious forces will not let them be. Right after the funeral, Gus is approached by an intimidating minion of an aristocratic collector known as Count Roland. That and other disturbing events compel them to seek their own answers.
They are soon drawn deeper into the mystery due to a challenge from Doc’s long-time rival, Maestro Raimondo Fatamorgana. They stumble upon their father’s hidden study, nearly destroying all his secrets in the process. A few surviving clues point them to a secret think tank from which Doc had once sought a certain book. But their attempt to penetrate the archive ends badly when they are betrayed.
Later, helped by a friend, Nigel Buckhorn, a journalist with a dubious past, the siblings find themselves on their way to France. There in Bellegraal, they first have to get through a convention of “tubbies” – hardcore fans of the mystery. Gus encounters an array of peculiar people, including real spies. From one such agent, he learns the true reasons why so many seek the Holy Tub: the immense deadly power that it might actually contain.
He also encounters his lost love, Angelique, an artist, but their reunion seems doomed. For one thing, she appears involved with a strange, long-forbidden cult.
Gus publicly confronts Raimondo, but at the Count’s grand fancy-dress ball, he is launched accidentally on a drug-induced journey through space and time, followed by a descent to the underworld. Meanwhile, Skip and Nigel encounter goddesses in earthly form, while Allie recognizes her own chameleon protector.
Finally, though, they recover and return to the mystery at the Cathedral. Skip takes a bold move at Allie’s request, making a surprising discovery which changes everything. It gives them a chance to solve the mystery of the Visions of the Holy Tub if they can just secure the agreement of all interested parties.
Yet rivalries are too great and the price proves to be shockingly high as they attempt to prove their own solution. Before the long midsummer’s night’s vigil is over, riots, chases, ambushes, desperate struggles, fatal tricks and traps will occur. Yet, when the solution appears, it comes at a place and time none foresee, with consequences that can still ultimately doom the world.
Hunters of the Holy Tub is an epic action-adventure tale. It’s a broad, affectionate satire of archeological adventures such as the Indiana Jones series, ancient conspiracy mysteries like The Da Vinci Code, and even medieval Grail Quests, with inspiration drawn from the real-life mystery of Rennes-le-Château and spiced by the literary works of James Branch Cabell.