The Templar Legacy: Book Review

I sit day in and day out in my improvised office at my local library. It is actually quite nice.There among the other regular patrons, doing much the same thing, I am quite content. I have a nice wide table big enough for me to spread out. I have my files and legal pads, a pencil cup and a post it note pad. I have my phone (on a stand) and my lap top and both of which are going constantly all day long (quietly).

Technically in the corner, it has a terrific view. Big windows to wrap around to my right and rear, the entire first floor of the library spreads out in front of me and on my left, The Stacks. Fiction A-B is almost within touching distance and for months I have been staring at the Steve Berry shelf. Full of intriguing titles like, The Lincoln Myth, The Venetian Betrayal, and The Romanov Prophecy, they seem like a spectacular blend of mystery and history. I have been itching to read one of them. With an obligation to read least one book every other day and to post five or six days a week, I don’t have a lot of time for purely recreational reading and no one in Steve Berry’s camp is asking for reviews so… Then came the reading challenge and a window of opportunity opened up.

So #ReadCPL2016 topic #74 Book published in 2oo6, The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry.

Few legends grab attention like that of the Knights Templar.

They are the archetype body of knights that so much fantasy fiction has been based on for the last 700 years. The basic gist is during The Crusades, a group of knights moved into what was left of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Something they found there, gave them power to hold sway over the kings and popes and amass a large amount of wealth. Driven by greed, jealousy or fear, (maybe all three), eventually the pope along with the king of France had as many of the Templars arrested as could be found. They were accused of all kinds of crimes against the church and man (mostly the church) and most were put to death. Whatever secrets they held died with them then. No matter how successful the purge was, no one ever found the bulk of Templar treasure nor ever found out exactly what it was that they knew to give them so much power in the first place.

The Templar Legacy is a novel about Cotton Malone, an intriguing person. He is a lawyer/super spy/former US Government agent now retired in Copenhagen, selling books. As the story opens he about to meet his former boss for a visit over lunch as she ‘just happens’ to be in the city. Plans change immediately as a cut purse grabs her bag and runs. Cotton gives chase. Yet rather than be caught the thief leaps to his death. Obviously, this is more than a typical purse snatching.

The story, centering on two books; a dead man’s journal and an antique book many don’t believe even exists, moves from Denmark to France where Malone and his group follow the clues laid down by long dead clergymen and the more recently departed husband of Malone’s former boss. They are in race with the leader of a clandestine organization who has already shown that he will take out anyone who gets in the way of his plan for vengeance.

The Templar legend just makes good story. Lost in the depths of history it is like literary tofu, picking up whichever flavors of intrigue and thrill a good storyteller chooses to season it with. It was used expertly in book and I have to admit there was a lot to this story that I had never run across before. It was impeccably laid out to the point that I am dying to take a day and just research the background on Rennes.

I adore character driven stories, yet so often one has to choose between great characters that leap off a page and become real in the mind of the reader or a larger than life tale that transports the readers to other places. No such choice here. There were so many mysteries within the mystery and no one was who they seemed to be. Just when you think you have every one figured out they to make an abrupt turn about and you find yourself reeling to keep up. Though, this is about the good guys and the bad guys, no one was totally innocent and even the bad could be justified in a certain light. Superbly done!

I have to admit that I love history at gunpoint, probably a left over from my days of crushing on Indiana Jones, and this book had plenty of action to keep it moving at breakneck space even with the ton of exposition that is required to keep up with the story. Foot chases, car chases, death defying heights and creepy underground chambers, mixed with state of the art surveillance and some cunning good old fashioned know how keep up the heart pounding ride through this story.

The back story is seamlessly woven into the modern day action, so that the reader is well able to move through time easily, from the inception of the brotherhood, through the inquisition and even the deaths of Mark and Lars Nelle and back to present day.

I suppose it is no surprise that I enjoyed this book. There are several more Steve Berry books sitting on the shelf, staring at me, waiting for me to find an excuse to read them.

Title/Author: The Templar Legacy (Cotton Malone #1) / Steve Berry
 Genre: Thriller / Action- Adventure
 Publisher: Ballantine Books
 Date of publish: February 2006
 Pages: 511

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