The Last Templar

the last templar review raymond khouryTHE LAST TEMPLAR, you had me at “beheading.” MI-5 screenwriter Raymond Khoruy’s first novel begins with a bang, as the opening night of a Vatican treasures exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is rudely interrupted by the arrival of four horsemen dressed as Templar Knights, who ride right up the steps and decapitate a guard before making off with an ancient encoder. By page 15, I was hooked.

It wasn’t until around page 200 that the hook came free. I really liked the first half of the novel, where FBI Agent Sean Reilly and archaeologist Tess Chaykin search for the encoder, thought to decipher ancient Templar texts that destroy the very foundations of Christianity, all while the horsemen meet grisly fates by an unknown assailant. But the second half, in which Reilly and Chaykin take off for the Turkish outback in pursuit of the bad guy, is problematic. Thus begins the cycle of narrow escapes and long-winded exposition disguised as religious debate. In other words, the thrills of this thriller dissipate once the novel’s core mystery is no longer just that. It simply lacks the fire and spark of a rather intruging first half.

The modern-day narrative is supplemented with the occasional jump back to the 13th century, during the time of the Templars, secret crusaders for the Vatican. But these chapters are so few and far between, their effort to serve as a thread goes unfulfilled.

Nowadays, any thriller with just an inkling of the religious historical gets tagged as a DA VINCI CODE knock-off, but THE LAST TEMPLAR is one that truly merits it, and even asks for it. The whole theory of Jesus having a twin brother and a relationship with Mary Magdalene – both points of contention in Dan Brown’s book – is retread here, but given even greater emphasis, which many readers will find offensive or even blasphemous. Me? I simply found the whole thing half-hearted. –Rod Lott

Buy it at Amazon.

RSS feed | Trackback URI


2006-02-21 05:59:24

[…] • Steve Berry’s THE TEMPLAR LEGACY – not to be confused with the recent THE LAST TEMPLAR, though we wouldn’t fault you if you did – is another thriller with religious overtones like his previous works (i.e. THE THIRD SECRET), but now with the added value of Templar Knights. […]

(Comments wont nest below this level)
2006-08-23 23:59:14

[…] QUILL YOU PLEASE VOTE? Nominations for the 2nd annual Quills Awards were announced yesterday, honoring the best in books among 20 categories. Well, at least they say “best,” but Tyler Perry is nominated in the humor category for DON’T MAKE A BLACK WOMAN TAKE OFF HER EARRINGS. (Really? Were only five humor titles published last year?) The nominees are all over the board and appear to have been picked randomly, although they did have the good sense to nominate James Swanson’s MANHUNT in two categories, and it remains our favorite non-fiction title of the year (for damn good reasons, hoss). Other titles nominated that we’ve reviewed here include Stephen King’s CELL, Christopher Moore’s A DIRTY JOB and Raymond Khoury’s startlingly mediocre THE LAST TEMPLAR. So go vote now in their laborious one-category-at-a-time process before Sept. 30, at The awards ceremony will be televised on NBC stations Oct. 11, to even fewer viewers than the least-watched episode of JOEY. However, if we can get Elizabeth Kostova (a winner for last year’s THE HISTORIAN) to show up in a slightly more revealing dress than she did before, that could change. […]

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> in your comment.