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What first prompted prehistoric man, sheltering in the shadows of deep caves, to call upon the realm of the spirits? And why has belief thrived since, shaping thousands of generations of shamans, pharaohs, Aztec priests and Mayan rulers, Jews, Buddhists, Christians, Nazis, and Scientologists?
As our dreams and nightmares have changed over the millennia, so have our beliefs. The gods we created have evolved and mutated with us through a narrative fraught with human sacrifice, political upheaval and bloody wars.
Belief was man's most epic labor of invention. It has been our closest companion, and has followed mankind across the continents and through history.
Matthew Kneale studied Modern History at Oxford University. He then spent a year in Japan where he began writing short stories. He is author of several novels, including English Passengers (2000) which won the Whitbread Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He currently lives in Rome.