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The Last Templar (Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin Series #1)

The Last Templar (Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin Series #1)

3.7 256
by Raymond Khoury

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In a hail of fire and flashing sword, as the burning city of Acre falls from the hands of the West in 1291, The Last Templar opens with a young Templar knight, his mentor, and a handful of others escaping to the sea carrying a mysterious chest entrusted to them by the Order's dying Grand Master. The ship vanishes without a trace.

In present day Manhattan,


In a hail of fire and flashing sword, as the burning city of Acre falls from the hands of the West in 1291, The Last Templar opens with a young Templar knight, his mentor, and a handful of others escaping to the sea carrying a mysterious chest entrusted to them by the Order's dying Grand Master. The ship vanishes without a trace.

In present day Manhattan, four masked horsemen dressed as Templar Knights emerge from Central Park and ride up the Fifth Avenue steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the blacktie opening of a Treasures of the Vatican exhibit. Storming through the crowds, the horsemen brutally attack anyone standing between them and their prize. Attending the gala, archaeologist Tess Chaykin watches in silent terror as the leader of the horsemen hones in on one piece in particular, a strange geared device. He utters a few cryptic Latin words as he takes hold of it with reverence before leading the horsemen out and disappearing into the night.

In the aftermath, an FBI investigation is led by anti-terrorist specialist Sean Reilly. Soon, he and Tess are drawn into the dark, hidden history of the crusading Knights, plunging them into a deadly game of cat and mouse with ruthless killers as they race across three continents to recover the lost secret of the Templars.

Author Biography:
RAYMOND KHOURY is an acclaimed screenwriter and producer for both television and film. Educated in France and the United States, Khoury now lives in London with his wife and two children. This is his first novel.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Fans of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code who are searching for another outstanding historical thriller need look no further than Raymond Khoury's spectacular debut novel about the Order of the Templar Knights, their hidden history and agenda, and a civilization-altering secret that has survived seven centuries.

When four horsemen clad in shining armor and wearing the insignia of the Templar Knights pillage the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the opening of a "Treasures of the Vatican" event and disappear with priceless artifacts, adventure-seeking archeologist Tess Chaykin and FBI agent Sean Reilly become embroiled in a mystery that, if confirmed, could turn the Christian community upside down and irrevocably change the religious landscape. One of the artifacts stolen was an unremarkable cryptographic device, but the device leads to the decoding of an ancient manuscript written by one of the last Templar Knights, which in turn leads to a secret submerged somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea -- a secret that, if uncovered, could transform humanity forever…

An insanely fast paced thriller that includes breathtaking twists and jaw-dropping bombshells on practically every page, Khoury's conspiracy-laden debut -- a blend of historical fiction, suspense, romance, and wild religious speculation -- will open up a can of existential worms that will be all but impossible to close. Like the compelling dialogue between atheist Chaykin and the devotedly Catholic Reilly concerning faith versus science, the highly volatile subject matter discussed within The Last Templar will spark endless hours of heated debate -- and the conclusion (oh, the brilliant conclusion!) will leave readers absolutely dumbstruck. Veritas vos liberabit: The truth will set you free. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
The war between the Catholic Church and the Gnostic insurgency drags on in this ponderous Da Vinci Code knockoff. The latest skirmish erupts when horsemen dressed as knights raid New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, lopping off heads and firing Uzis as they go. Their trail leads FBI agent Sean Ryan and fetching archeologist Tess Chaykin to the medieval crusading order of the Knights Templars. Anachronistic Gnostic champions of feminism and tolerance against Roman hierarchy and obscurantism, the Templars, they learn, discovered proof that Catholic dogma is a "hoax" and were planning to use it to unite all religions under a rationalist creed that would usher in world peace. Screenwriter and first-time novelist Khoury spices up the doctrinal revisionism with Da Vinci-style thriller flourishes, including secret codes, gratuitous but workmanlike action scenes and a priest-hit man sent out by the Vatican to kill anyone who knows anything. The narrative pauses periodically for believers-vs.-agnostics debates and tutorials on everything from the Gospel of Thomas to alchemy. Though long-winded and sophomoric, these seminars are a relief from Tess and Sean's tedious romance, which proceeds from awkward flirtations as they listen to Sean's mix CD to hackneyed intimacies about childhood traumas. The novel's religious history is as dubious as its conspiracy plot, but anti-clericalists-and Catholics taking a break from the church's real headaches-could unwind with it. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
With "Templar" in the title, this debut novel will inevitably draw comparisons to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Set in post-9/11 New York City, the action begins with a daring raid on the Metropolitan Museum of Art by four horsemen during the gala opening of an exhibition of Vatican treasures. When one of the witnesses to the crime, archaeologist Tess Chaykin, recognizes that the bandits masqueraded as Knights Templar, Chaykin and FBI agent Sean Reilly become involved in an intrigue whose roots date back to the 1291 fall of Jerusalem. Among the artifacts stolen from the museum is a rare rotor encoder. What will it decode? Can Chaykin and Reilly authenticate certain Templar assertions? How far will the Vatican go to protect the faithful? Khoury proffers a unique Templar secret and a subsequent Vatican cover-up that, if revealed, would change Christendom forever. For those fatigued by the recent spate of Mary Magdalene/Holy Grail books, this novel will come as a welcome relief. Recommended for most popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/05; also coming in February is Steve Berry's The Templar Legacy from Ballantine.-Ed.]-Laura A.B. Cifelli, Fort Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Keep the code, scratch da Vinci. It's 1291, and in Jerusalem, the Knights of the Templar-long allied to the established church-are taking a pasting from the Saracens. The Grand Master Templar, seeing the handwriting on the wall, summons trusted aides, and places in their care an unassuming little item containing metaphoric dynamite. Flash forward 700-plus years to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It's the fancy opening of a special exhibit: Treasures of the Vatican. Crashing the event are four marauders on horseback, wearing iron clothing and masquerading as Knights of the Templar. They gallop up the steps of the Met clearly intent on larceny-of a particular kind, it turns out, when they ignore the sumptuous array of glittering prizes in favor of a gadget described in the catalogue as a "multigeared rotor encoder." Lovely, feisty Tess Chaykin, an archaeologist, is witness to the curious events. Her interest changes from mild to near-obsessive as she continues to ponder implications: If an encoder is so urgently sought, she reasons, it follows that somewhere there's a really big-time code in need of breaking. Enter stalwart, semi-hunk FBI counter-terrorism expert Sean Reilly, who is equally struck. And more than a little struck by Tess as well. Now enter the bad guys-chief among them a rogue archaeologist with an unquenchable hate for organized religion, and his opposite number, a Catholic priest with ninja-type moves. The game's afoot, a humongous mystery needs to be solved, and at the center of it is a certain Jeshua of Nazareth, carpenter, who kept a meticulously detailed personal journal, and who may or may not have been "just a man."A mostly implausible first novel.

Product Details

Duckworth Publishers
Publication date:
Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin Series , #1

Meet the Author

Raymond Khoury is the bestselling author of The Last Templar and The Sanctuary. An acclaimed screenwriter and producer for both television and film, he lives in London with his family.

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Last Templar 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 256 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I gave this book one star only because I did not have a zero-star option. Based on the now familiar secret-religious-history-conspiracy theme, the book opens with promising scenes of a daring museum robbery, but quickly degenerates into a series of absurdities that are easily punched full of holes. The characters are a group of cliches, not at all interesting, and the budding romance between the two major characters reads like a Harlequin romance on quaaludes. The writing style is unimaginative and uninspired. Mr. Khoury writes as though this were merely an outline of a story, to be fleshed out later. Unfortunately, he never fleshes it out. In half-page sketches, Mr. Khoury runs through scenes that should have taken whole chapters. I finally gave up and tossed it in the trash less than half finished. Some books just aren't worth the time. I strongly recommend that you give this one a wide berth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this up at the airport kiosk, I am interested in anything to do with the Crusades and most especially the Knights Templar and I had not seen a review. It is an interesting read, but I was very disappointed when, about 1/3 of the way in, Khoury inserts a small reference to a late-term abortion. A Catholic priest who talked the prospective mother out of an abortion is the bad guy (she went to term and died in delivery). Then, about midway, the now-familiar nonsense about Christ's brother, the revelation that Jesus Christ was not divine, nefarious cover-ups and murder by the Vatican and church hierarchy, etc. Unfortunately, the usual fever-swamp of anti-Christian fiction. If you enjoy that rubbish buy it, otherwise be warned, this is another anti-Catholic, anti-Christian guidebook. Not badly written, but full of both gratuitous and plot-central anti-Catholic elements. The central theis is that Islam, Judaism and Christianity can be integrated to achieve world peace, and the first step is to recognize that Jesus Christ was a fraud. Oh, and the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and The Temple of Solomon, rather than being legendary heroes of Christianity, should be unmasked as bad guys. I found it offensive. And, for about twenty pages, Khoury pounds away at his anti-divinity theory, for this section it was a bit like a Defensive Driving class. Insulting to me but so badly written it was boring too. Skip it if you are not still a college freshman looking for plausible theories as to why your parents' religious beliefs are at the heart of the world's problems. The Knights Templar were God's Warriors and Raymond Khoury is a small mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up to read on a flight from Indiana to California. I am wholly intrigued by the Crusades, the Templars,the Church etc and have been for some time now. I have read many books on the subject both fiction and non-fiction and I was hoping that this book would be an exciting and suspensful adventure into the myths as opposed to the often dull historical books I read. This was not the case, I found the plot to be weak. The characters were poorly developed. I knew what was going to happen before I read it, which takes away all the suspense. The dialoque between characters was flat and uneventful. Their language was dry and had no emotion. And as for the ending, horrible. Just a case of another writer trying to cash in on Dan Brown's success.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The storyline was a bit difficult to believe, and the end was so disappointing that I wanted to throw the book out a window. There were moments of potential, but Khoury needs to really refine his writing skills before attempting another book at this level. He's certainly not the next Dan Brown.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was not a good book...too much exposition, mostly bad dialog, nonsense passed off as historical fact, and a plot that was so completely implausible as to be laughable. The first 100 pages (maybe even the first 200) or so worked in spite of all that, but the last 1/2 is just brutal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wasn't expecting a lot from this book, but it was still incredibly dissapointing. Tha dialogue was completely ridiculous, and the book was so awkwardly written it felt like a third grader had done it. Not exciting, pedantic, and blah.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was trite and so over the top that it was riduculous. Don't FBI agents and archeologists have to report into their offices every so often? And a CIA-agent priest??? Give me a break. This made the DaVinci Code look plausible. Save your money and time and read something substantial like Doris Kearns Goowin's biography of Lincoln.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Almost the same historic characters. Same secrets. Same format with hidden codes and such. The writing was not as compelling, however. I slogged through it, got to the last line where I discovered a slight payoff for the story, but also felt like the author had cheated. Not only do I not recommend this book, I was so disappointed I took my copy and threw it in the trash to make sure no one else would be subjected to it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lacks Dan Brown's talent or the writing skills of a seventh grader
Guest More than 1 year ago
Plot: Jesus Christ is a myth, he was just a human being, and the Catholic Church knows it. The Templars discovered His diaries in Jerusalem in the 1200's, a decoder is stolen in New York that will eventually lead to where His diary is hidden. Good so far, but then the people that were looking for it decide that is best if it remains hidden, as the Church has always wanted, perpetuating the lie. Never read a book that starts so well and ends so bad. Don't bother buying it, you will be dissapointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In keeping with the popularity of Dan Brown's blindness leading the blind, we are presented with a story line based on false information. Like 'The DaVinci Code' (remember? there was never a real Priory of Scion or Dossier Secrets), this book is based on a quote misattributed to Pope Leo X. The quote which shows up on the back cover of the book as well as the inside first page, was not actually said by Pope Leo X. Khoury fails to let the reader know that it was actually written by a man named John Bale in the 16th century, sometimes miquoted as 'how profitable this fable of Christ has been to us'. Bale wrote a satire of the Roman Catholic hierarchy called 'The Pageant of the Popes'. This satire was written in the fury of the Reformation, so it would make sense that something like this would be written at that time. But it was not said by Pope Leo. When I first started reading the book I was so impressed by Khoury's knowledge and reasearch of the Templars, but that's obviously the only research he did, especially in terms of the New Testament and early Christian writings by people like Josephus, Clement, Ignatius and even Pliny the Younger, as well as on any Reformational literature and knowledge of the general political tone of the day. Since Khoury is a screen writer, the book easily reads like a screenplay. I'm sure he had movie-making in mind when he wrote it. I would hope that whomever buys the screenplay rights will do more research than Khoury did, but based on Hollywood's record with facts, but that's doubtful (unless it's picked up by someone like Ridley Scott!). The book uses the latin 'veritas vos liberabit' -- Indeed, the truth will set you free.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The opening scenes of this book give one hope that an intelligent thriller is about to follow. Instead, the book becomes a series of ridiculous improbabilities. Also, the writer is not blessed with the ability to write realistic dialogue. The characters take turns delivering lengthy academic lectures with 10-line sentences. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book had so much potential, it really did, and had the author put more time and effort into really developing his characters it could've been great. The hero and the heroine were kind of 2 dimensional, the story itself was choppy in a lot of places, and the ending just peetered out and left you unsatisfied. I just didn't feel that Mr. Khoury captured me to where I didn't want to put the book down. I wasn't worried about the characters when they got into a tight situation, the villians were a bit transparent, and in many spots it became predictable. Like I said, had he given himself more time to give the story more of a smoother flow and make his characters a bit more 3 dimensional than it could've been a great read. But, we should all remember what it says on the inside back portion of the dust jacket, this is Mr. Khoury's first novel. Perhaps his next one will be better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having thoroughly enjoyed the Da Vinci Code and other thrillers with some historical features, I looked forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, it takes only a few pages to realize this book falls far short of expectations. Lacking in logic, stylistically sloppy, and uneven in plot development, it fails to draw the reader's sympathy or interest. To certain people of faith it could even be construed as insulting- something that similar books have managed to avoid. Yes, it is a book of fiction- but a flimsy story at best. This author is certainly capable of better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Felt the story rushed ahead too fast and the answers came too quick and easily to the main characters. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a Da Vinci Code rip off, but it is an extemely similiar story and ending. All in all I'd say wait for the paperback or grab it at the library if you fell you absolutely must read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OP_Semloh More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for a plane ride and down time on a trip. I never had any down time so I ended up staying up later than I should have to read this book. If you are interested in Templar or Da Vinci type books, this is the book for you. I was disappointed when I missed the mini-series and thrilled when I saw that there was indeed a book. It did slow down a bit here and there, but, overall it was a good book that was easy to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not worth it. He does not know what he wants his style to be yet. He had some great moments. But the boring long winded stuff won out and just dragged the story way down. Wait for paperback or better yet if you want to read it borrow it or check it out from the library. Dont waste your money
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was only able to get through about one-third of this highly-publicized book before the trite dialogue, silly and predictable plot, and ridiculous love story sent me back for a refund. This author, a noted screenwriter, may do well in the movies but he fails miserably at being an acceptable writer. This book is compared to the Da Vinci Code but pales in contrast--at least that book was entertaining and controversial. Yet I would't be surprised if this book sells well and, of course, winds up on the cinema screen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me interesred from page 1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book. It is well written, with historical flashbacks written throughout the book that help to spice it up. The characters are a bit stagnant and more than a little underdeveloped, but they don't need to be too deep to fit the story well. There are exciting, scary, somber, thrilling, and happy scenes, with everything in between. The subject matter is slightly sensitive, as it does undermine the legitimacy of Christianity as a whole, but it is fictional, as some people need to remember, and it also praises the Church at many points for all of the good things that it does for the whole world's population. Overall, it is a well-written book with a well-developed plot, and I would definitely recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jgypsy More than 1 year ago
Lots of relative information on both the Templars and the organization of the New Testament. This information is not "new" but is presented in context along with an historical timeline, which I found usefull. Several good points about the gnostic gospels as well. All in all, a really good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago