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review 2017-10-07 15:23
First Templar Nation
First Templar Nation: How the Knights Templar Created Europe's First Nation-state - Freddy Silva

by Freddy Silva

 

Non-Fiction

 

This is a historical record of the rise of the Knights Templar, but the author tells us in his opening notes that he writes it in the form of a novel to make it more engaging than many historical accounts tend to be, and in this he largely succeeds, though it sometimes slips into academic treatise. Even then it holds interest. It gives a detailed history of a time before we had the European countries as we know them today, when they were small duchies that would eventually form the nations of Europe.

 

It is well researched and provides maps of the European continent as it was in the year 1080 A.D., when the Holy Roman Empire covered much of the land. One of them is a close-up of the county of Portucale, which will become the country of Portugal as a result of the history about to be told. This history begins with a decree from Pope Urban II in late 11th century that gathers various factions of rabble together and calls them Holy Knights, then sends them off to do a land grab in the Arabic countries because Christians believe certain locations to be theirs by God's will.

 

There is more detail to the political situation with Turks killing pilgrims and access to sacred sites beset by Bedouin raiders as well as payments demanded since 1065. In just the first couple of chapters, the causes and reasoning behind the Crusades becomes clear and is told in a way that holds interest.

 

The book is professionally notated and would make a great reference source for anyone looking for information on the rise and background of the Templars or the history behind the Crusades. I personally found it fascinating and an enjoyable way to increase my knowledge of this area of history.

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review 2017-06-01 23:38
Reading progress update: I've read 475 out of 475 pages.
The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

I wasn't quite prepared to give ths four stars, but it was better than 3.5.  If there had been a 3.75,, that would have been perfect.

 

The plot is nicely complex, with several unexpected twists and turns.  Again, it's easily compared to Dan Brown's blockbuster The DaVinci Code, but this is by far the superior book.  Plot, characters, everything, head and shoulders above.

 

Recently retired Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is settling into his new entrepreneurship as a bookseller in Copenhagen when he's pulled into a deadly quest to locate the long-lost treasure of the Knights Templar.  Much of the action takes place in the environs of Rennes-le-Chateau in southern France and incorporates the same background "facts" as the Brown book, generously borrowed from Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

 

The extensive borrowing became annoying to me after a while, but probably only because I've read HB/HG several times -- I have my own tattered copy -- as well as some of the fan fiction/fact-tion that grew up around it and some of the source material.  Berry goes into a great deal of detail, maybe more than he needed to.  That pulled the rating down for me.

 

But the writing is good and the characters very well done.  I like books where I can easily imagine the characters as real -- I can hear their distinct voices in my mind as I read, see their actions and even facial expressions -- and Berry accomplished this. His characters are also varied, they have baggage and doubts, and they aren't perfect.

 

There were a couple of small bloopers that didn't really impact my enjoyment of the story, but did bring me out of the action for a while and left me alert for others rather than being completely absorbed. 

The first blooper was that Malone didn't check his rental car for a tracking device.  The second was that the back window of that rental car was shot out, but he continued driving through the rain storm and never mentioned anything about the car being wet inside.

(spoiler show)

 

The ending veered into the too good to be true end of the spectrum, and I wasn't entirely comfortable with some of the moralizing, but it wasn't bad.

 

I have a couple more of Berry's books and may take a look at them when I have time.

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text 2017-06-01 18:15
Reading progress update: I've read 324 out of 475 pages.
The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

I sneaked in some extra reading time this morning.

 

Can I finish it today?  Maybe.

 

Although author Berry really lays on the details of history/mythtory, the plot is intricate enough to keep the action moving.  At times the background does become intrusive -- and repetitive, especially for someone who has already read Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The DaVinci Code and any number of others on the same theme.

 

But there are some intriguing twists, enough to keep it interesting.

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text 2017-05-31 18:51
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 475 pages.
The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

Much better written than The DaVinci Code, though based on the same "myths."  And the plot isn't nearly as transparent.  I read Dan Brown's book in an afternoon but had the "mystery" solved in about three pages.  At least Steve Berry's book has me intrigued and guessing.

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text 2017-05-30 15:39
BL-opoly - Adventureland #26
The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

I picked this up from the library sale room for 75 cents a few weeks ago.

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