Monday, May 26, 2014
The Templar Legacy
Who were the Templars? The Templars were an order of military monks whose original mission was to protect pilgrims visiting the Holy Land in the time of the Crusades. However, they ultimately failed in this mission when the Arabs gained control of the Middle East. Before that, the Templars amassed a lot of wealth and property. After the failure of their mission in the Middle East, they retreated back to Europe where they continued to grow in wealth and property. Perhaps they became too ambitious. For whatever reason, Philip IV, king of France, turned against the Knights Templar and, with the cooperation of the Pope, many of the Templars were seized, tortured and burned alive. Their properties and assets were divided and distributed in various ways and their order disbanded. (For more about the Templars, see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14493a.htm ). Berry postulates a theory based on legend that the Templars hid much of their liquid wealth, including secrets about the Roman Catholic Church that would utterly discredit the Church.
So...Cotton Malone, an American living in Denmark, has retired as an agent of the US Justice Department and is running a bookstore. He sees his former boss and witnesses her purse being stolen. Malone gives chase only to have the thief jump to his death off a tower: "[the thief] made the sign of the cross and, with Stephanie's bag in hand, pivoted out over the railing, screamed one word--'beauseant'--then slashed the knife across his throat as his body plunged to the street." And thus are Malone and Stephanie first introduced to the Knights Templar.
The Templars are on the hunt for their lost treasure and for their "Great Devise" which is the ancient chronicle of their order, lost to them when the order was disbanded by the Pope back in the early 1300s. Stephanie's deceased ex-husband was a scholar and researcher of the Templars and in her handbag was a journal that belonged to her husband, which is why they tried to steal it from her. This event and subsequent events set Malone and Stephanie on the trail of the lost treasure and into direct conflict with an extremist element of the Knights Templar who will do anything to regain the lost power and influence of their order.
This was an OK, if a rather long read. I did learn quite a bit about the Templars which made reading it worthwhile. I guess my main problem with this story and the previous one is that I am not a fan of this genre of literature. I don't generally read thrillers or conspiracy type stories. Perhaps those who are a fan of this genre would enjoy more than I did.