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The Temple and the Stone Hardcover – August, 1998

26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Like a chain-mail Tom Clancy thriller, The Temple and the Stone is a big, brash story full of political machination, conspiracy, and macho heroes. The forces of good here are the legendary Knights Templar, protectors of the Temple of Jerusalem, and their fearsome opponents are the evil worshipers of the old gods. Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris conceive of an alternate history in which the Templars guard the astral manifestations of the Kingdom of God as well as the physical realm. The titular stone is not only the traditional seat of Scottish monarchs but also the cornerstone for a new holy temple. The heroic knights Arnault, Brabant, and Torquil must restore the stone's powers and fight the black-magic designs of the Pictish Comyns--all while fulfilling their knightly duties in the dangerous conflicts between fiercely independent Scotland and an increasingly powerful England. This is richly satisfying historical fantasy, with a magical twist. --Therese Littleton

From Publishers Weekly

Kurtz and Harris's Adept series established the authors as reliable voices in fantasy. Here, as in two story anthologies edited by Kurtz (On Crusade, etc.), the subject is the enigmatic Knights Templar, the powerful religious-military order renowned for its role in the Crusades and medieval world politics. This novel's heroes, Arnault de Saint Clair and Torquil Lennox, belong to le Cercle, an initiated inner order possessed of good magic with Hebrew, Christian and Celtic sources. Their goal is to establish a Fifth Temple in Scotland?but this means Scotland must be free, while King Edward and even fellow Templars seek to institute English rule. Against the magic of le Cercle is set evil, ancient blood-magic, leading to exciting conflicts and a final banishment of the goddess Gruagah and her servants. Yet reviving the Stone of Destiny?seat upon which all true Scottish kings are crowned?demands a sacrifice, though a willing one in imitation of Christ. This seamless combination of historical novel and fantasy offers rich background and, especially in the second half, substantial suspense and adventure. The magic scenes will please fantasy readers, while the atmospheric and well-detailed setting holds promise that the novel might cross over to fans of historical fiction.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect; 1st edition (August 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446522600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446522601
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,914,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Elderbear VINE VOICE on April 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
It's better written than Braveheart, but somehow doesn't quite flow like the adept series. This stew of Templar magic, William Wallace, Longshanks & Robert the Bruce, hold enough interest to finish the book. I'm not a Celtic scholar, but it sounds like Kurtz & Harris have done their homework. They certainly don't resort to some of the wildly unbelievable fantasies that meander through the movie Braveheart.
It disappoints me that, yet again, this duo has chosen to demonize the religions of pre-Christian Europe. While finding bright light in their Christian/Templar/Masonic magic, they elaborate the darkest forces in the Old Religion. They neglect the fact that the equalitarianism of Celtic culture provided one of the few bright lights of a more democratic process than the totalitarianism which so characterized medieval Christianity. Celtic Christianity did, indeed, shine like a light in those dark ages, not inspite of the dark religions they had forsaken, but precisely because their pre-Christian religions were so full of light, celebration, and lie-affirming beliefs and celebrations.
Overall, it was an enoyable book. Plenty of action, although a bit formulaic. The magical & occult material is not as rich as that found in Dion Fortune's novels, but this book is much more readable. If you're a die-hard Adept fan, you will want to read this book to experience more of the Saint Clair story.
Fun, longer than it is deep, perhaps even historically accurate. Doesn't quite make it to 4 stars, though. It gets 3.5 stars, rounded down because it felt a bit tired.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By An adult reader on September 9, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book skips and starts between plot development and detailed descriptions. While successfully capturing the balancing act required of a neutral order of knighthood while competing kingdoms are at war, Kurtz and Harris all too often lose the reader in detail, however well written.
The book taken as a whole is not particularly compelling. No character evokes much empathy with the reader, and too many of the characters are two dimensional. On the other hand, the description is detailed, and rich pictures are painted with prose during the scenes where occult and heavenly powers are exercised.
The alternative history style holds great dangers to any author, most of which are successfully navigated. The linkage of early Celtic christianity to the highly politicized christianity of the 14th century is fairly well presented. If you don't know much about the Knights Templar, or Scottish history, you may enjoy the book for pure entertainment value. The more you know about 13th and 14th century European politics and history, the less this book is likely to entertain you.
A strong point to this book is its very digestable length. Far too many phone book sized fantasy novels on the market. This book is self contained and will create few problems with reading until 4 in the morning the night before and important meeting or exam. It may inspire interest in medevial European history, which is a rich and fascinating historical period for anyone to study or even just browse.
In a nutshell: worth a read, but not a must.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. F. Queally on May 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What if...William--Braveheart--of Wallace was involved in a plot to revive both the Scottish monarchy and the mythical Temple of this lost militant Christian order. Turner & Kurtz weave a masterfully researched yarn that strives to answer the above while capturing the haunting magic of the Celtic Isles and blending it with it's Christian successor's beliefs. This page turner will thrill fans of fantasy and sword & sorcery while keeping those who love involved, political plots intrigued. The details of daily life are stunning...this is a labor of obvious love for the peroid and it's people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By fuzcat on February 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Temple and the Stone
by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris
If you enjoyed the Adept Series by these authors you will enjoy this book. If not, this probably is not the book for you either. Much like the Adept books this is an Esoteric Mystery book. Some of it takes place in the solid every day reality we are used to, but many of the clues are to be found in the Astral/unseen world.
I think that these are definitely niche market books, since I can easily see it offending both main stream Christians and die hard pagans. You need to be open for a place for both aspects in the world to be confortabe with the setting of this books world. The story is from the point of view of Templar Knights, and therefore has a Christian point of view, but they are also aware of and work with the esoteric world. It is very much a white light/dark light type of battle, but this book is even more from a Christian perspective because of the protagonists. Most of the good pagan aspects are also found among Christians in this book, in the form of the Columbian Monks. These monks seem to have taken all of the traditional druidic values and added the teachings of Christ to them. Alternately there is the dark cult that our protagonists battle.
As to the plot, I found the book to be fun light read. The points of history seem to be fairly accurate from what I can remember. It begins with the death of the Maiden of Norway and sees Scotland thru to the coming of the Bruce. For reasons of their own (which are given in the book, but I am trying to avoid spoiling the plot too much), parts of the Knights Templar have decided that it is important that Scotland remains sovereign. This is the story of how they aid in bringing that about.
To think of it this book would probably make a fun Module for NeverWinter Nights. There is a magical artifact for pretty much every need.
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