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Ashland writer pens mystical novel

Ashland author Allysha Lavino has just published a novel, “The Heretic,” which deepens the religious mysteries laid out in the best-selling 2003 thriller novel and later movie “The Da Vinci Code.”

The mystery from "The Da Vinci Code" is that, while Jesus may have died, he lives on in the flesh of his children, born of a union with Mary Magdalene. Her children migrated to the south of France — the center of much sacred geometry and holy spots — and intermarried with the Kings of France.

Lavino traveled to the region and says had a meeting at a sidewalk cafe in the Languedoc region with Henry Lincoln, a co-author of “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” (1982), which set the foundation for Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.”

The book is told from the point of view of spiritual journeyer Lily.

Lavino, a native of California, came to Ashland with her family for summers and Shakespeare. After college, she lived with her grandmother here and worked at Bloomsbury coffee shop and took piano lessons from Jim Quinby.

Although “The Da Vinci Code” was assailed by many Catholics, it has a great following among people who see it as an expression of the sacred feminine missing from major religions, she says.

When Lincoln and Lavino visited sites in the Languedoc region, including churches, caves and mountains, he made a point of just sitting with her, waiting for “it” to happen.

She says Lincoln was waiting for her experiences, aligned by “natural geometry,” and would be quiet, as “something might happen. ... These places are magical.”

Lavino says Lincoln prompted her to write a book and pass along his research. She mounted a Kickstarter campaign that netted $40,000 to write and produce the book, published by White Cloud Press of Ashland. A June book launch in the Rogue Valley was scrubbed by coronavirus, and Lavino retreated to her present home in Quebec to learn about virtual book promotion.

Her book has a theme, she says, of “climbing out of grief and healing, climbing out of the difficult traumatic world we live in and letting go of the mind, putting science and magic together, as they are two sides of the same coin. My book is the answer to a prayer. It offers the actual, individual experience, though it’s different for everyone.”

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

This article has been corrected from a previous version

Pam Danielle PhotoAllysha Lavino