One of the recurring motifs in the Book of Mormon is the notion of “secret combinations.” Such combinations or conspiracies existed in many ancient and medieval societies, and I’ve published several articles on this topic:
(See also, in this context, two subsequent articles: Paul Mouritsen’s “Secret Combinations and Flaxen Cords: Anti-Masonic Rhetoric and the Book of Mormon” and Nathan Oman’s “‘Secret Combinations’: A Legal Analysis.”)
And there’s at least one more substantial article that I want to write on the topic. Perhaps sooner than later.
But we shouldn’t overlook Amalickiah. (As readers of the Book of Mormon well know, overlooking Amalickiah could very quickly become a fatal mistake.) By flattery and treachery, by careful and methodical plotting, by forming alliances, and by casting blame on others for his own murderous deeds, he established himself as king of the Lamanites even though he himself was a Nephite. It was, in its way, a remarkable achievement.
In the end, though, it was also an extraordinarily costly one — to both the Nephites and the Lamanites and, as it happened, to Amalickiah himself.