Without giving away too much, there’s a part in The First Face of Janus where Crow and Rosenfeld are talking about a particular quatrain. Crow is skeptical that Nostradamus’ predictions come true. He says that Nostradamus specifically predicted something big would happen in 1999 in Century 10, Quatrain 72.
The year 1999, seventh month
From the sky will come a great King of Terror
To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols
Before and after Mars to reign by good luck.
Did I make the reference to Putin up? Let’s see. Make it up? Not in the literal sense that I just fabricated something. What I did was I actually interpreted the quatrain. Here’s what I mean. In researching this book I read all of Nostradamus’ quatrains. That’s how I devised ways to work those prophecies into the storyline. I had come across this particular quatrain and rejected it from the standpoint of a prophecy in the book because 1999 had obviously already happened.
In the course of writing the book, I found myself needing a quatrain to use that had not been widely interpreted. I remembered that particular quatrain because of the reference to 1999. If one character was skeptical, the other had to make that quatrain make sense. Everything the characters talk about concerning that quatrain is true. To be honest, it was a little spooky.
I first focused on Mongols which is an ethnic group. I soon learned that the Mongol Empire was something much bigger and was not just China but much of modern-day Russia. When I learned Russia was part of the Mongol Empire I immediately thought of Vladimir Putin. And this is where it gets weird. I started looking into when he came to power and it was 1999. That’s when Boris Yeltsin snatched him out of obscurity and made him Prime Minister. The hair on my arms stood up. Then I looked at the month he came to power. August. August 9, to be exact. That was the eighth month, not the seventh. But it was so early in August it dawned on me that Yeltsin must have chosen him before the 9th of August. It had to have been in July—the seventh month.
“From the sky” I interpreted for my purposes to mean “out of the blue.” It fit quite snuggly. “Will come a great King of Terror?” That fit Putin to a T. “To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols”? An obvious reference to putting the Soviet Union back together. Just like that I had essentially interpreted a Nostradamus quatrain. As far as I know, I was the first to associate Putin with that particular quatrain. Yes, that quatrain was used as a vehicle in the novel, but you must admit that it fits.
The short answer to the question is yes, I essentially made the Putin part up. But there’s no escaping the fact that my interpretation for the book is completely plausible. Don’t know that I’ll ever get that lucky again, but this one just sort of fell into my lap.
Phil Valentine is an award-winning talk show host, screenwriter, and documentary producer. His radio show is syndicated with Westwood One.