"THE history of the First World War is a deliberately concocted lie." Bold words, but you would expect nothing less from a book which claims to hold the key to the real origins of the Great War.

It sets the tone in the first few lines of the introduction. For the "lie" is not the sacrifice of the millions who died in battle, but how the truth of the war - that it was "unnecessarily and deliberately prolonged beyond 1915" - has been covered up for a century.

Chapter One, entitled "The Secret Society", begins the tale of how for ten years a secret cabal of very rich and powerful men in London plotted the destruction of Germany as the first stage of their plan to take control of the world.

In the past this theory may have been relegated to the stuff of conspiratorial fantasy, but in an age of hacking, intellectual espionage and the mainstream reporting of the Bilderberg Group's secret meetings, it does not seem so far-fetched.

Indeed, local authors Gerry Docherty (65) and Jim Macgregor (65) spent five years researching the story and cite several pages of sources.

The pair first met not long after ex-Alloa GP Jim, from Bogside, saw Gerry's self-penned First World War play 'Life of the Land' performed by the Alman Dramatic Club in 2008. The play focused on two cousins from Clackmannanshire who were awarded the Victoria Cross.

A few weeks later and the two writers eventually met - over a pint.

Jim said, "Our two sons graduated from Glasgow University on the same day and it just so happened we both went to the same pub for a drink. They brought the parents together and I discovered at that point that Gerry had written Lie of the Land. We got chatting and I told him I'd written an anti-war novel (The Iboga Visions) and had been mulling over a book about the First World War. It was a huge project and going to be too much for me so I invited Gerry to co-author, and he agreed - and we've been knocking ten bells out of each other since." His interest of the Great War stemmed from his childhood, having been brought up in a cottage in the grounds of war veterans' hospital, Erskine.

He was affected by the stories of the men who had been permanently injured by the conflict.

Jim said, "This war was abhorrent to humanity and the whole decency of mankind. There was no glory about it. This was a disgusting slaughter these men had been put through. That was very much the sentiment of the men in Erskine. The odd one or two used to strut about with the medals on but the majority looked and laughed at that." For Jim the history books "didn't fit" with his understanding of the war. He began to question why it all started and what happened between 1914 and 1918.

Gerry, who is the artistic director of the Alman and lives in Tillicoultry, admitted he was "not an easy convert" to the idea of an elite secret society pulling the strings. It was when they started to trace the men involved - guided by an American-published book - that his mind became open to it.

He said, "What was de-motivating and then incredibly motivating was the quantity of sources and resources that have been deliberately destroyed - burnt, shredded, culled. We spent a week in London and Oxford and it was fascinating and horrifying how much isn't there. It's not that it's covered by a thirty year, fifty year, hundred year, rule, it has disappeared.

"I liken it to doing a big jigsaw. We know there are pieces missing and we're still determined to do as much of the jigsaw as we can. Through that we will get a far better reflection of what happened rather than simply accepting what was churned out at the end of the war as 'the truth'." The book claims the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand - generally thought to be the trigger for the Great War in 1914 - was no chance happening. It reveals the event lit a fuse that had been carefully planned through a chain of command stretching from Sarajevo through Belgrade and St Petersburg to the cabal in London.

Gerry said, "We are reaching a time where people are realising that government has lied to them. The standing of MPs and bankers in the 1920s would have been without question. These days people dare ask questions and don't so readily accept what a government puts out so there is a sense in which we both feel this a very timely opportunity to say, wait a minute guys, do you really believe the first world war all happened because an archduke got shot in Sarajevo?" Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, published by Mainstream Publishing, is available to purchase online and through bookstores.