The Last Templar (Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin Series #1) [NOOK Book]


"The Last Templar" miniseries is now available on DVD! For more information, click here.

"It has served us well, this myth of Christ."
Pope Leo X, 16th Century

In a hail of fire and flashing sword, as the burning city of Acre falls from the hands of the West in ...
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The Last Templar (Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin Series #1)

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"The Last Templar" miniseries is now available on DVD! For more information, click here.

"It has served us well, this myth of Christ."
Pope Leo X, 16th Century

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101158555
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/19/2006
  • Series: Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin Series , #1
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 42,333
  • File size: 526 KB

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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1. How did you go from a career in architecture and real estate development to writing?
The short answer is: purely by accident.
When I came to Europe in the mid-80s, architects were going through exceptionally hard times. I tried it for a few months and quickly realized I'd have to do something else if I wanted to live here. I was in my early 20s and investment bankers were having a ball, and it seemed like a cool thing to do, so I did a quick MBA before joining a French investment bank that was headquartered in London.The money was great, but the work wasn't. I did it for three years before deciding I had to get out before the bonuses got too big to turn down. I eventually ended up trying to combine my architecture background with my newly acquired financial skills and working in real estate development - which, bizarrely, led to writing - on a beach in the Bahamas. A real estate developer friend of mine from Manhattan had asked me to be part of a project he was putting together there, along with two Wall Street bankers who he'd also invited there as backers. Over dinner one night, one of the bankers mentioned how he was investing in developing screenplays for Hollywood, using a couple of writers he knew there - more as a hobby than a serious investment. I jokingly told him of an idea of mine which I'd always thought would make a fun movie. He loved the idea and suggested we develop it together by hiring one of his writers. We had several conference calls with a screenwriter in L.A., but when the first outline was faxed to me, it was very different to what I had in mind. I told them both I'd put my thoughts on paper, in the hope of making things clearer. When I faxed the pages through, my partner in New York called me and said the screenwriter wasn't going to write the screenplay anymore: I was. "You're a writer," he said. "Just sit down and write the damn thing. You can do it." Which I did. And that screenplay got me nominated for a Fulbright Fellowship in Screenwriting, which gave me the confidence to try writing another one: "The Last Templar." In 1996, helpful friends and fortuitous events soon led to my finding myself sitting in the office of one of the biggest publishers in New York who thought my story would make a bestselling novel. Things didn't quite work out at that time. However, an agent I'd signed up with a few years later read the screenplay and loved it, insisting I should still write it as a novel. She would call me up every few months, asking if I'd started. And in the autumn of 2002, I finished a long commitment to a screenwriting project and decided I was ready to do it. For myself. For the readership I had in mind. And tell the story I wanted to tell. 2. In The Last Templar several characters have strong feelings about organized religion. What are you trying to get across about religion?
I've always found it shocking that, in this day and age, a massively significant amount of people all over the planet can behave in the most amoral and savage way towards others, all because they hang on every word of religious documents that were written thousands of years ago, at a time when the world was a very, very different place.It seems to me that the world is, sadly, reverting to a more primitive state where religion is being perverted and turned into a great divider of people, which, ironically, one could say was the original intent of the founders of these movements: to create a unifying force in order to overturn a pre-existing belief system that's been abused and turned into an oppressive force. In "The Last Templar", I've tried to explore the history of one of the planet's big religions, in an effort to lay out the often overlooked origin of the Catholic Church and perhaps inspire a broader curiosity about other religions and how they came to be.3. What attracted you to the Knights Templar?
I was introduced to the Templars by a friend who knew a lot about their history and thought I should use them as the basis of my next work. As I began researching them, I was fascinated by the wealth of material about them, and by the myths and legends they inspired. The Templars' missing treasure was one of the great hooks of history, and as I got deeper into my story, it became clear that this premise presented the opportunity to do much more than just write a conventional thriller: it allowed me to present some widely overlooked, but historically accurate and possibly unsettling information relating to the early days of the Church, and in particular, how the Bible was actually put together; and by opening that door, it allowed the characters in the story, and by extension, its readers, to explore their own faith - or lack of it - and, consequently, the effects - good or bad - of organized religion on the world today, which may not be a bad thing at a time when spirituality is being polarized across the planet.4. Is there anything in the Templars' real history that corresponds to the object or 'treasure' desperately sought by the characters in your book?
What is widely accepted is this: that the Templars did spend many years cloistered in the huge quarters they were given, which stood on the remains of King Solomon's temple, when they were supposed to be escorting the pilgrims from the ports of the holy land to Jerusalem; and that their great wealth, their treasure, was never recovered.5. Why do you think ancient secret societies are such a hot topic?
I think there's a general yearning for something more fulfilling spiritually, and part of that search is manifested through exploring the hidden secrets of our past. 6. It sounds like you've lived all over the world. Where are you from, and how has exposure to various locations influenced your writing?
I was born and grew up in Beirut, Lebanon until my early teens, when the civil war there erupted and my parents and I moved to Rye, New York, where I went to high school. By the time I graduated from Rye, the fighting in Beirut was calming down and although my brother and sister preferred to stay in the US, my parents needed to go back for my father's work and I chose to go back with them. I studied architecture at the American University of Beirut, living through six years of intermittent civil war which were amazingly intense, emotionally taxing, and, oddly, utterly riveting. The situation there deteriorated again very badly towards the end of 1983 after the Marines compound at the airport, and it was time leave again, this time for good. We spent a week huddled in the underground parking of our building before being evacuated from the beach on a Chinook.Living in New York in the mid-70s was a phenomenally enriching time for me which continues to influence my writing. At school, I had some wonderful English lit and creative writing teachers who introduced to the work of Ayn Rand, Dashiell Hammett and SJ Perelman. New York City was very different from European cities I knew, it had an amazing energy and range, its own pace, its own sounds and smells. I try and spend as much time as I can there, and when I'm not there, have to make do with using it as a setting for my writing.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 252 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 254 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2008

    Another dirty shot at Christianity

    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.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2006

    A great book to avoid.

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2007

    A reviewer

    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.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Too MUCH

    With the people going nuts with The Da Vinci Code (and I have a feeling that may be Brown's last book) a lot of other authors followed. This one is OK but I'm glad I read it from the library. I won't buy it and it isn't good enough to read again. Sorry.<BR/><BR/>I think Steve Berry's books have better characters and plots. Berry's thrilling fictions have suprising twists and turns. Just better.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2007

    I gave it away

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2006

    Maybe in the hands of a more talented author...

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2006

    Not good

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2006

    written by a third grader?

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2006

    UGH! Save your money

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    A lot of fun. Depends on the reader as to whether the subject matter is to be taken seriously. Makes a great read inbetween serious books. Comparable to Divinci Code and stirs up the same sellable ideas.

    A lot of fun. Depends on the reader as to whether the subject matter is to be taken seriously. Makes a great read inbetween serious books. Comparable to Divinci Code and stirs up the same sellable ideas.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Really Good Book

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2006

    Not worth hardcover price

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2006

    Aye, it was a canny read!

    This was a well paced and exciting ride from the Holy Land to modern day New York (amazing how the Yanks not only win World War 2 single handily, but somehow get involved with the Nights Templar's as well) sorry I diverse! Anyway ,I enjoyed this yarn about the Templar's, but couldn't help feeling this book was a poor man's Da Vinci Code, well written and revealing but somehow not as technically well detailed as Dan Brown's classic. May I be a bit of a devil and say, was this book written on the coattails of Dan Brown, trying to cash in on his success, don't get me wrong I really enjoyed this novel but just had the feeling I had been there before, fighting mad contract killer priests etc, having said that, if you have a burning desire to read similar novels that encompass the ethos of the religious conspiracy theory, this will get your anti- Catholic religion juices dribbling all over yourself in no time! Read and enjoy, but only take the DaVinci Code as the Gospel truth (ha-ha).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2006

    Terrifyingly written

    Lacks Dan Brown's talent or the writing skills of a seventh grader

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2006

    Don't Bother

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2006

    Save your money

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2006

    what a mess

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2006

    Fast start, stumbled throughout

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2006

    Premise of book is based on a misquote

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2006

    Wasn't ready for publication

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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