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The Templars and the Grail: Knights of the Quest Paperback – May 1, 2003

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The Templars and the Grail: Knights of the Quest + Knights Templar Encyclopedia + The Knights Templar: The History and Myths of the Legendary Military Order
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Editorial Reviews


"A Templar tour-de-force...In this work Dr. Ralls has created an important bridge between these two extraordinary and long-lived themes." -- from the FORWARD, by John Matthews

"A concise and easy-to-read survey of two richly symbolic and enduring aspects of the Middle Ages." --Renaissance Magazine (Fall 2003)

"A factual history of the medieval Templar Order...Informative and readable excursion into the ever-fascinating world of quest." -- Caduceus magazine (UK; June 2003)

"A practical history of the Templars...this book is a 'must' for those interested in the western mysteries." --Chev. Robert Brydon, Rosslyn Chapel Museum exhibition owner and Templar archivist, Edinburgh

"An open-minded look at the history, influence and mysteries of the Knights Templar...can be usefully read by anyone interested." --Freemasonry Today magazine, Summer 2003 issue

From the Back Cover

"Fascinating!  Karen Ralls steers a middle course between dry scholarship and extravagant speculation, with real insights into the Templar and the Grail traditions."
--David Lorimer, Director,  Scientific and Medical Network

"...Karen Ralls gives us the basic known facts about Templar history, and also deals with the colorful speculations in a fair, open-minded, yet responsible way.  If you're looking for the one indispensable book about the Knights Templar, this is it."
--  Robert Ellwood, Professor of Religion Emeritus, University of Southern California

"A practical history of the Templars...this book is a must for those interested in the Western Mysteries."   -- Robert Brydon, FSA Scot., Templar historian

Who were the mysterious medieval Knights Templar, and how can we separate fact from fiction?

How does their mythos and its meaning live on today?

Dr Karen Ralls presents the unfolding drama of the Knights Templar through time, examining the many beliefs and theories about their presumed powers and knowledge.  Drawing on both academic and popular sources, she provides a solidly-researched, up-to-date perspective and includes exclusive photos from Rosslyn Chapel and its museum exhibition.  The result is a riveting read and a vital contribution to Templar history and their enduring spiritual legacy.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Quest Books; 1 edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0835608077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0835608077
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

History, symbolism, and historic places continue to fascinate many all over the world today. Many say visiting historical and ancient places has often greatly inspired them, or, at times, even completely changed their life in some way. Anyone can enjoy and appreciate the beauty of an ancient, historical, or sacred site and its surrounding landscape, and celebrate an era gone by. New perspectives of the past can also help us create a better world today. As we mutually step back in time to explore the history and unexpected wonders of the ancient and medieval eras, we cross the threshold...and enjoy the journey.

About the Author:

Dr Karen Ralls, medieval historian and Celtic scholar, obtained her PhD from the University of Edinburgh, followed by six years as Postdoctoral Fellow and Sr Lecturer (Univ. of Edinburgh) and was Deputy Curator of the Rosslyn Chapel Museum Art exhibition (Scotland) before relocating to Oxford,UK, where she continues with specialized ancient and medieval historical research.

A former Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, and others, Dr Ralls completed a specialist Medieval and Renaissance Art History course at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum (London) and serves as professional Historical Advisor and consultant for selected film/media projects (Discovery, National Geographic, History Channel, etc) and for various travel, charity, museum and heritage-related organizations.

Noted for groundbreaking 12th-14th c. medieval research in particular, Karen is a conference speaker, historical and sacred sites tour guide, workshop/retreat presenter, and a musician (flute(s) and Celtic harp), interested in sharing and further exploring links between history, art, symbolism, music, and historic sites and the landscape today, i.e., at conferences, on workshops or retreats, or on a historical tour or sacred journey.

Recent books include GOTHIC CATHEDRALS: The History, Art, Places and Symbolism (Ibis/RedWheelWeiser/USA); MEDIEVAL MYSTERIES: History, Places and Symbolism (Ibis Press /RedWheelWeiser/USA); The TEMPLARS AND THE GRAIL (Quest Books), The KNIGHTS TEMPLAR ENCYCLOPEDIA (Career Press), MUSIC AND THE OTHERWORLDs (forthcoming), and five previous titles.

Join the Quest! See the Facebook Author page - Karen Ralls Author - and the website

'Taking the Wisdom of the past... into the Future'.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Shelli Wright Johnson on June 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
Having read books by various authors about the enigmatic Knights Templar and the ever mysterious Grail, each asserting a different spin of the so-called "facts" or proposing a particular pet theory, I was thrilled to get my hands on one book that not only provides carefully documented yet easy to read facts, but also shows us (to quote from the author)"how to distinguish between fact, sensationalism, and honest, informed speculation. This book aims to make the acedemic material accessible, as well as to take a fresh, up-to-date look at a selection of theories." Dr. Ralls' unique interdisciplinary approach makes for an informative and enlightning read about a historical era shrouded in legend, mystery and international intrigue. I found the extensive Bibliography very helpful, in addition to the Chronology of Events during the time of the Templars! I was also impressed by the heartfelt "tribute" to the Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, at the end of the Introduction, as well as the unusual information about the Black Madonna, the Jolly Roger pirate flag symbolism, and the mysterious beginnings of the Order. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
So much of the literature on the Templars is either dry and cynical or so wild that you don't know what to believe. This book strikes exactly the right balance, and it's extremely readable and evokes the whole extraordinary period, and the mystery too. It is authoritative enough to be trustworthy, but interested in the myth and the legends as well. It really is the best introduction to the subject I've read.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Alastair MacDonald on February 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Written by an academic medieval historian, this is one of the best history books on the Knights Templar to come out for some time -- it is balanced (many academic but also some popular sources used, but carefully) and thoughtful, yet still manages to be readable and very intriguing. An ideal combo. The sources are reliable, so this author simply does not need to resort to mere sensationalism, which is so often the case with books on the Templars. The material on Scotland is great, especially the chapter on the enigmatic carvings of Rosslyn Chapel, a place that was also featured in the novel The Da Vinci Code. I would have liked a bit more on medieval Templar naval strategies and warfare and the Jolly Roger, but overall, if you are looking for a solid, reliable book that still has compelling research, admitting that there are still some important unanswered questions about the 'White knights' of the Crusades -- it's a valuable reference book to have around, plus a great read!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Harrison on August 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
Every now and then a book comes along and you think 'thank God someone has done this!' This book really works on several levels -- firstly, the author is solid and credible, being a professional medieval historian, but also someone who has had previous curator experience at the museum exhibition at Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland --a place now known to many more of us, as it is featured in the last chapter of the Da Vinci Code novel. However, this book is a solidly-researched, nonfiction work and a fascinating read on the history of the medieval Order, the Grail, and Rosslyn Chapel, etc. For those who may already have read a bit about the Templars, it still has a lot of intriguing new stuff, yet it's backed up with solid, factual documentation and good references and footnotes-- again, something you often don't see nearly enough in popular books on the Templars. This is not the usual 'one theory book' on the Templars, which I found refreshing to say the least. But it's easy to read and follow overall, and this author doesn't attempt to 'take sides'. A variety of research and views are presented, and then, we, the readers, can take it from there. What seems to be unique here is that this author takes great care to distinguish between fact and speculation -- something in my opinion that is a problem with many of the existing books on the Knights Templars. But although I'd already read some on the Templars and still learned a lot more, a friend of mine who had read nothing at all about them also found this book really intriguing, which says something, too.Read more ›
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on December 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Karen Ralls has compiled a good study of the Templar Knights. Her book is divided into three sections: 1) recalling the Templar History; 2) addressing the various `non-academic' tales in circulation about the Templars and their connection to among other things, the Holy Grail, and 3) an overview of Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland in which she examines the history of the chapel and it's connections to the Templars and the Holy Grail. Ralls holds the equivalent of a Ph.D. and is an Oxford based medieval historian and Celtic scholar. She was the Deputy Curator of the Rosslyn Chapel museum exhibition.
Readers of the DA VINCI CODE will recognize the name Rosslyn (as will those living in Arlington VA which has it's own Rosslyn and is part of the original `square' created for the District of Columbia designed by Masons of old including George Washington). Rosslyn Chapel has an unique connection to the Rose Line in England and has been described as an architectural gem of medieval Scotland. Rosslyn was established by the St. Clair family who are said to have connections to the Holy Grail. The foundation stone of Rosslyn was laid on St. Matthews Day in 1446 C.E.. The chapel's orientation is east-west following the sun's ray as it fell that day-the equinox. The Chapel was damaged during the English Civil War by Cromwell's men who used the structure to stable their horses. However, it was restored by the St Clair family and currently serves as a Scottish-Episcopal church. If you plan to visit Scotland, especially Edinburgh, get this book.
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