The Templar Legacy by Steve Barry – I don’t know why I keep picking up these books that center around debunking Christian mythology, but I do. It must be rooted in my youthful rebellion against the mind-numbing church history classes I was forced to endure at my Catholic high school, which were taught by a nun, Sr. Delphine, who looked, moved and spoke as though she were a step away from one of the catecombs she taught about with such relish. But I digress.
This book is one of the recent spate of DaVinci Code-alikes that have hit the bookshelves. Now, I have to say that I wasn’t too enamoured of Dan Brown’s controversial tale, mostly because I thought Robert Langdon was incredibly boring, and that the French police officer was a total stereotype. I liked Templar Legacy much, much more…better characters, better pacing, better everything.
Our protagonists, Cotton Malone and Stephanie Nelle, find themselves smack in the middle of another gosh-darn conspiracy that will reveal a shocking historical truth intended to rock the foundations of the known world. Stephanie’s dead husband, Lars, spent most of their marriage searching for the lost treasure of the Knights Templar. Seven years after his death, Stephanie receives his journal, sent anonymously through the mail, and decides she must have closure. So, she pulls up stakes from her high level government job, and flies to Copenhagen, where she stirs up a whole bunch of trouble. Teaming up with former intelligence officer turned bookshop owner Cotton Malone (maybe I’m wrong, but I really do think this is the name of the sports announcer played by Gary Cole in the movie Dodgeball), the two follow clues supposedly leading to the Great Devise — the legendary Templar treasure hidden in the 14th century as the Knights were being exterminated by French royalty. The two are challenged by Raymond deRoquefort, Marshal, then Master, of the current, hidden Knights. Twists and turns abound as Cotton and Stephanie race against time to discover the Great Devise and foil the evil deRoquefort’s plans of world domination.
Yep. It’s a page-turner all right. Actually, one of the things I liked best about this book is the short sections within the chapters. There wasn’t that whole one-chapter-about-Raymond, one-chapter-about-Stephanie thing going on. I could pick the book up, read for about 5 minutes, put it down to check dinner, change the laundry over, or help a patron and then pick it right back up without missing a beat. And the story itself was full of surprises. I sure didn’t see the twists coming at the end.
The setting is almost identical to that in The Labyrinth by Kate Mosse — Carcasonne and other areas of France — and there are echoes of the same ancient legends in both books. Templar is a much better read, however. Definitely pick it up and give it a shot.