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The Templar Legacy: A Novel Hardcover – February 21, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Berry goes gnostic in this well-tooled Da Vinci Code-knockoff, his fourth novel (The Romanov Prophecy). Ex-U.S. Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is intrigued when he sees a purse snatcher fling himself from a Copenhagen tower to avoid capture, slitting his own throat on the way down for good measure. Further snooping introduces him to the medieval religious order of the Knights Templar and the fervid subculture searching for the Great Devise, an ancient Templar archive that supposedly disproves the Resurrection and demolishes traditional Christian dogma. The trail leads to a French village replete with arcane clues to the archive's whereabouts, and to an oddball cast of scholar-sleuths, including Cassiopeia Vitt, a rich Muslim woman whose special-ops chops rival Malone's. Malone and company puzzle over the usual Code-inspired anagrams, dead language inscriptions and art symbolism, debate inconsistencies in the Gospels and regale each other with Templar lore, periodically interrupting their colloquia for running gun battles with latter-day Templar Master Raymond de Roquefort and his pistol-packing monks. The novel's overcomplicated conspiracies and esoteric brainteasers can get tedious, and the various religious motivations make little sense. (Thankfully, the author soft-pedals the genre's anti-Catholicism.) But lively characters and action set pieces make this a more readable, if no more plausible, version of the typical gnostic occult thriller. (Feb.)
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The Knights Templar, a small monastic military order formed in the early 1100s to protect travelers to the Holy Land, eventually grew and became wealthy beyond imagination. In 1307, the French king, feeling jealous and greedy, killed off the Templars, and by 1311, the last master, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake. The whereabouts of the Templars' treasure--and their secrets--have been the subject of legend ever since. Now, a new thriller trieas to follow in the steps of The Da Vinci Code.
There's a secret about early Christianity at the core of Berry's Templar Legacy, but he dispenses the clues too slowly. The cat-and-mouse game between Cotton Malone, a former Justice Department agent, and a modern-day order of Knights Templar is weighed down with too much confusing backstory about the Templars' connection to Rennes-le-Chateau and the mystery that surrounds it. (The real-life town plays a part in The Da Vinci Code as well.) Like Dan Brown, Berry draws on the seminal nonfiction work Holy Blood, Holy Grail for many of his themes. After nearly grinding to a halt through all the premise building, the novel finally gathers steam in the last 100 pages or so, concluding with a revelation that seems refreshingly clear after the many convoluted twists that precede it. Until the next Dan Brown opus is released, this should hold devotees. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
My only quibble is that he sometimes frames what is fairly commonly known Biblical history and tries to make it sound like scholarly knowledge known only to a few. But, then again, he wrote this for mass consumption and most people probably would not know those common facts.
Overall a fun read combining the Knights Templar, a smattering of alternative theology and a spy novel.
improves in his later novels. Also the dialog was often inane, especially in Stephanie's case. Hard to believe this book was a best seller.
But the author deserves credit for using the Templar history and I learned a lot by reading this book.
Cotton Malone is such a complex character. and he deals with such complex characters. the situation is so fraught with emotion with the balance between knowledge and ignorance, loss and finding again, it really keeps you glued.
If Steve Berry couldn't be bothered to do the research on something as simple as a single danish phrase, then I shudder to think of where else he cut corners.
character personality are not credible. motivations are ridiculous. action illogical. solutions are found by leaps of logic that strain readers credibility
I speed read just to see if dramatic conclusion woudl be interesting. don't bother