Book Name: The Last Templar
Author: Raymond Khoury
Genre: Adult Fiction
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Format: Hard-Cover checked out from the local libraryGoodreads’Words: “It has served us well, this myth of Christ.”
Pope Leo X, 16th Century. In a hail of fire and flashing sword, as the burning city of Acre falls from the hands of the West in 1291, The Last Templar opens with a young Templar knight, his mentor, and a handful of others escaping to the sea carrying a mysterious chest entrusted to them by the Order’s dying Grand Master. The ship vanishes without a trace. In present day Manhattan, four masked horsemen dressed as Templar Knights emerge from Central Park and ride up the Fifth Avenue steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the blacktie opening of a Treasures of the Vatican exhibit. Storming through the crowds, the horsemen brutally attack anyone standing between them and their prize. Attending the gala, archaeologist Tess Chaykin watches in silent terror as the leader of the horsemen hones in on one piece in particular, a strange geared device. He utters a few cryptic Latin words as he takes hold of it with reverence before leading the horsemen out and disappearing into the night. In the aftermath, an FBI investigation is led by anti-terrorist specialist Sean Reilly. Soon, he and Tess are drawn into the dark, hidden history of the crusading Knights, plunging them into a deadly game of cat and mouse with ruthless killers as they race across three continents to recover the lost secret of the Templars.
My Words: I am not a history major or history fan. And not the least immersed in Christian history. All of my existing knowledge of the templars, and Holy grail comes from reading Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. I loved Da Vinci Code. But its not the history of how Christianity was formed that interested me but the stories of the world from all those years ago intrigued me. Also, the descriptions of all the exotic places just made me want to go there. Not to forget the amazing riddles, codes and clues to the treasure hunt! And I was just as much curious to know about the templar history. And I wanted to see how Raymond Khoury places the facts about the templars around a fictional story. But this book didn’t excite me in the way Da Vinci Code did.
The initial few pages were fast paced and intriguing enough to make me go further. But I found that the story was rather slow with lots of information crammed within. The twists in the story were too many to make me feel impatient and exasperated and wanting the protagonists to just get on with it already and arrive at the conclusion. The historical anecdotes were enjoyable. As well as the Gnostic versus church debate that is described in every one of such books I guess. I have no idea if the author got the correct approach of the gnostic/templar view. And it didn’t really matter to me as there was enough to keep the story going ahead and I wanted to see what the big secret of the templars was that the author had cooked this time. It thankfully was not the secret that Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code had but then whatever it was it really didn’t impress me that much.
The central characters seem flighty and change their views and belief system from time to time. And boy! Is Sean the most patient/forgiving boyfriend all time or what? Tess bails on him three times! and yet he is by her side everytime making excuses for her. I did not relate with this at all!
I wouldn’t say that its a major rip-off of the Da Vinci Code, but you can’t help point out the similarities. The basis of the “secret” about Christianity, secret brotherhoods, The church, the brutal murders to either hide/gain the secret etc.,etc. its all in there. So I’ll call it quite similar to Da Vinci Code in story and premise but exactly opposite in writing. Coz I found the writing to be very sketchy and lacked the stellar level of sophistication that I saw in Dan Brown’s book. Also, it lacked the whole meaning of adventure and excitement inspite of the central characters going on a secret mission to look for the “secret”.
It’s mildly entertaining if you can digest and deal with the way it is written by the author. I give it a 2.5 out of 5