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The Temple and the Crown Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2001
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Kurtz and Harris continue their saga telling the secret history, begun in The Temple and the Stone (1998), of the Templars and of two members of the secret Cercle, the French knight Arnault and the Scotsman Torquil, in particular. The English have turned against the Temple because it supports Robert the Bruce in Scotland, and the greed of Philip the Fair of France for Templar wealth is being manipulated by his chancellor, who is secretly allied with the Knights of the Black Swan, servants of Lucifer out to destroy the Temple's power to champion Christianity. As grisly persecution of the Templars rises to a climax in France, and the Bruce's situation becomes more desperate, Arnault and Torquil must retrieve potent relics from the Holy Land and reach Scotland in time to help overthrow the Bruce's enemies in the thundering climax of the Battle of Bannockburn. There may be too much secret mysticism in it for some tastes, but the tale is soundly researched, well written, and briskly paced. Kudos to the authors! Roland Green
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Templar knights Arnault and Torquil and their brethren have succeeding in crowning Robert Bruce as King of Scots in defiance of England's King Edward I. But putting Bruce on the throne may be easier than keeping him there. Bruce's slaying of rival John Comyn, which the Templars know was justified since Comyn was demonically possessed, has the new king on the run. He and his are threatened on every front. And his Templar allies have troubles of their own, as the King of France is (with encouragement) trying to destroy the Order. Again, Arnault and Torquil travel throughout medieval Europe trying to defend both their Order and the kingdom and king both respect and love.
* A third book in the series, about one of Bruce's brothers in Ireland, has long been talked about but has never happened and might never be written.
If I sound like Robert and his Templar friends are personal friends, you may be right. In their latest collaberation Kurtz and Harris have created their best story yet. They skilfully weave fact and fiction in this tale of Scottish independence and the downfall of the Knights Templar.
Much has been speculated about these mysterious warrior monks. When Philip of France orchestrated their downfall in 1307 he expected to find great stashes of gold and other valuables. However, when the king's men invaded the Templar Chapter Houses, the vaults were empty. Not one ounce of the Templar's reputed wealth has surfaced even to this day. What better place to stage a novel than in the middle of an unsolved mystery?
We follow Arnault St. Clair as he struggles with forces both physical and spiritual to put Robert Bruce on the Scottish throne and to provide a place for his displaced Brethren. The book is full of battles, politics, spiritual evil, and spiritual good. It is fast paced and full of characters one can actually identify with.
I hated to come to the end of this novel. That is the highest compliment I can pay to any book. I just hope that the story will go on.....and on......and on.....
But. I'm interested in Scottish history, history in general, and occultism. I have books upon books.
Katherine Kurtz is awesome as a writer, and I agree with the person above who said it feels like you are there. It's part of how she makes the story work. The more farfetched mysticism feels real because of the way she describes it and the whole scene.
But if you are not interested in history-you might get a bit lost. To say the least.