The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry (Fiction)

posted 29 Mar 2010, 07:00 by DP Durlston-Powell   [ updated 4 Apr 2010, 09:42 ]
Backcover blurb:

The ancient Order of the Knights Templar possessed untold wealth and absolute power over kings and popes... until the Inquisition, when the Knights were wiped from the face of the earth, their riches left hidden - forever? In a quest to find the legendary lost treasures of the Knights Templar, Stephanie Nelle must crack a series of centuries old puzzles to unlock an ancient mystery. But she soon finds herself up against a deadly rival. So she calls on former covert US Justice Department agent Cotton Malone for help. Together they embark on a heart-racing chase across a chessboard of European villages, castles and cloisters, competing against powerful forces who will stop at nothing to win the historic prize. And at the end of a lethal game rife with intrigue, treachery and lust for power lies a shattering discovery that could rock the civilized world - and, in the wrong hands, bring it to its knees.

Books from the same author:
The Amber Room by Steve Berry (Fiction)
The Third Secret by Steve Berry (Fiction)

My review:

There is just something about the Templars; is it the compelling mystery, the lure of grand historic moments, the ability to make good authors write very average books? Certainly, all of those elements are here. Berry's previous work has been described as '...raises this genre's stakes' which is fair, but unfortunately, this novel is very much of it's genre and doesn't raise the stakes at all. It's not a poor example of Templar fiction, but it doesn't stand out from the crowd as it is based on the same speculative sources as many other similar thrillers and ignores historical fact, replacing it with wild claims that, whilst seen in print before, have been repeatedly proven untrue. On the basis of Berry's previous work, I had hoped for a more intelligent handling rather than something slap bang, middle of the road for this genre. So looking at it within that context, how does it fare? Well, the twist over the seneschal's identity and the double crossings were all obvious well before their reveal and many of the characters' motivations were inconsistent and unconvincing, so pretty standard stuff. The 'shattering discovery' is the almost obligatory 'Christ was real, but just a man' testimony that is seen in many Templar novels. Fro me, the characters of Henrik and Cassiopeia ultimately fail to deliver on their promise and hinted mysteries with them are never addressed satisfactorily - this may be a stepping stone to Berry's later books, but if so, I found it irritating rather than intriguing. And finally, I really did not take to the hero's name - Cotton Malone feels corny and should be the name of a character in a spoof detective novel or a Naked Gun film! This is far from being the worst Templar novel I have read, but it is also far from the top of the pile.


For a Templar novel it is fun for the ignorant, but it is run of the mill and lacks the creativity and originality of Berry's earlier books.