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

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

by Raymond Khoury


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451233912
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/05/2010
Series: Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin Series , #1
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Raymond Khoury is the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Templar, The Sanctuary, The Sign, The Templar Salvation, The Devil’s Elixir, Rasputin's Shadow, and The End Game. His novels have been translated into more than forty languages and, in the case of The Last Templar, adapted into a comic book and an NBC television miniseries. An acclaimed screenwriter and producer for both television and film, he has also penned several scripts for BBC series such as Spooks and Waking the Dead.


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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Last Templar 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 290 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
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 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
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
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
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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.
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
When I'm going through a 'can't seem to read enough' phase, I need a book that keeps me enthralled; Raymond Khoury's 'The Last Templar' did just that, and it is now the measuring stick that I use to compare all other books. If you love modern stories that reach back to question history's 'truths,' this genre-defining title is for you. I would also recommend this story to fans of medieval/historical fiction, history buffs and those who might question some of those tales in King James' book.
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
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
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.
TheoClarke on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Pot-boiling light thriller in the wake of DVC. The first chapters are excellent but it soon becomes unremarkable.