A wholly engaging and entertaining continuation and conclusion to 2010’s Solomon’s Thieves, offering the same mix of medieval history, political intrigue, and cinematic thrills in a swashbuckling heist adventure. After a very public arrest and dubious trial of the Knights Templar, renegade Martin of Troya is determined to retrieve the renowned treasure hoard of the holy brotherhood and clear its name. Along the way he’s joined by opportunistic but lovable thieves, fellow rogue Templars, a sympathetic old flame, and other allies as he schemes his way into and, more importantly, out of Paris, gold in tow. Mechner’s (Prince of Persia) tight plot never misses a beat, and the book is a definite page-turner. His passion for the subject is reflected in the story’s adherence to actual events and settings, ably visualized by husband-and-wife illustrators Pham and Puvilland, whose art lends itself well to the stirring narrative. It’s a rollicking good time and a real gem of a book, well worth the wait and price. (July)
Templar, Jordan Mechner combines true flair for classic adventure with a firm grasp of medieval history, for an unforgettable tale of love, gold and glory. And Pham and Puvilland bring their strong individual style to bear on 14th century France with gorgeous art that is both clean and lush at the same time. Put them together and you've got yourself a winner. Michael Curtiz should have been so lucky.” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, creators of HBO's "Game of Thrones"
“The creative trio of Mechner, Pham, and Puvilland got their high-adventure story rolling with
Solomon's Thieves (2010). What wasn't apparent in that first volume of the planned trilogy was how deeply into historically weighty territory the story would cut . . . [That history] constitutes a searing, sobering counterweight to the story's high-wire derring-do and jovial camaraderie. Add to all that a nifty Ocean's Eleven–style caper, outstanding artwork, and enough romance to get the heart invested, and you have an epic adventure comic for the ages.” Booklist (starred review)
“A wholly engaging and entertaining mix of medieval history, political intrigue, and cinematic thrills in a swashbuckling heist adventure . . . Mechner's (Prince of Persia) tight plot never misses a beat, and the book is a definite page-turner. His passion for the subject is reflected in the story's adherence to actual events and settings, ably visualized by husband-and-wife illustrators Pham and Puvilland, whose art lends itself well to the stirring narrative. It's a rollicking good time and a real gem of a book, well worth the wait and price.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A 480-page graphic novel and one of the most perfect representations of what the term means . . . The enormous work has a strong protagonist with complex and even conflicting goals, a wealth of secondary characters with their own goals and stories, and a rich background in a troubled world. It even comes with a selected bibliography and a discussion of further reading. Not many other graphic novels go to that length. Mechner gives a human face to one of the most whispered-about and objectified organizations in Western history: the Knights Templar.”
Jeff Provine, BlogCritics.org
Templar is a beautifully executed historical thriller written by famed game designer Jordan Mechner (who created Prince of Persia) and drawn by Leuyen Pham and Alex Puvilland . . . A classic caper story filled with glorious and horrible swordfights, skullduggery, torture, romance, banditry, piety, bravery and treachery. I came to this not knowing much about the Templars and caring about them even less, but found that once I picked the (massive) book up, I couldn't put it down. This is some great and exciting storytelling.” Cory Doctorow (author of Homeland and Little Brother)
In fourteenth-century France, the Knights Templar were famous for their loyalty to the Pope and their courage in battle. But after the disastrous Crusades and the return of the knights to France, the King of France was uneasy. Seeing the Knights as a threat to his reign, he engineered their downfall, executing or exiling almost all of them. This is the story of one of the Knights, Martin, and his friends as they try to recover the treasure that their compatriots hid in Paris. The story is told with wit and humor, and has a subplot the love interest between Martin and Isabella, a beautiful woman who plays an essential part in the search for the treasure. The characters have depth that makes them eminently likable, and the plot moves along at a reasonably quick pace. The color illustrations are excellent; some are full-page, and the battle scenes are particularly dramatic. In many cases, the illustrations tell the story without any need for words. The author describes the story and his writing method in an excellent preface, and also includes an afterward, a list of resources, and a selected bibliography. There is no doubt that this author has definitely done his research. A minor drawback is the mixing of standard English with modern-day slang, a combination that seems somewhat inappropriate for the time period. In addition, some important loose ends are left unresolved (this may, however, portend a sequel in the offing). Mr. Mechner has written a graphic novel that is entertaining, fun, and educational. With a touch of Alexander Dumas, Indiana Jones, and the Holy Grail, this book will be a good fit for preteens. Reviewer: Leona Illig; Ages 10 to 15.
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
The Knights Templar were the noblest and bravest knights in Christendom, fighting for the Church and the Pope, not under the direction of any king. In 1307, the king of France ordered the mass arrest of all Templars in his kingdom. Those who denied the charges were tortured until they confessed. The arrest and trial were a political nightmare that ended with the Pope sacrificing the Knights for his own political survival. Against this historical backdrop, Mechner has created an adventure story featuring an unlikely group of heroes. Martin escapes from the king's men and recruits a band of surviving Templars to steal the Templars' treasure from the middle of the capitol city and restore it to their order. Martin tries to stay true to the ideals espoused by the Knights and overcomes his weakness to accomplish his mission. With the help of an old flame, a reluctant knight, and a maid, they find the treasure and sneak it out of Paris. It is never seen again. This is a dark tale, but flashes of humor and romance lighten the intensity at times. The art portrays an accurate image of medieval life using color effectively to elicit emotion from the reader. Fans of
Solomon's Thieves (First Second, 2010), the first book of the trilogy, will want to continue the story. This will appeal to readers of fantasy and gamers familiar with Mechner's Prince of Persia video games. Reviewer: Deborah L. Dubois
Esteemed author, screenwriter, and video game designer Mechner (Karateka; Prince of Persia) and renowned husband-and-wife team Pham and Puvilland have created a story where the Knights Templar, who, known for their devout faith and warrior prowess, have fallen on hard times and become anachronistic and heretical in the eyes of the Church and certain French magistrates. This leads to the wholesale hunting and slaughter of the remaining bands of the Templar, along with the theft of the treasures amassed by the Knights over decades. Martin, a rather atypical knight, has escaped detection along with a cadre of others. Together, they devise a clever and daring plan to take back the store of plunder and possibly salvage the honor of the Templar.
Verdict At nearly 500 pages, this is an ambitious work that maintains its momentum throughout. At times the coloring is a bit muddy, creating an imbalance in the delicate line art. Over all, a lovely and moving adventure both in print and picture. Librarians will love the afterword.Russell Miller, Prescott P.L., AZ
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A sweeping medieval caper set amid the persecution of the Knights Templar during the early 14th century. After righteously serving Christendom during the Crusades, the Knights Templar returned from the Holy Land and faced their new reality as a powerful army that answered only to the pope yet operated in lands ruled by kings. Mechner (
The Making of Karateka, 2012, etc.) unspools their downfall--the result of trumped-up charges orchestrated by Nogaret, chancellor to the king of France, who is determined to seize the vast treasure the Templars have hidden in their Paris temple--by following the order's less pious members. Boozing and lust keep a trio of knights, led by valiant Martin of Troyes, out of the initial sweep that imprisons nearly the entire order. Martin goes on to lead a ragtag team of Templar misfits on a quest to decipher the location of the treasure and spirit it away before Nogaret can claim it. The sprawling, often circuitous tale features a large cast of characters and a rich historical setting, but the two elements don't fully mesh, both settling at the depth of a Hollywood blockbuster. Few Templars resist the outrageous persecution, and their limp response is addressed only in a remark by their browbeaten grand master: "In this new world there is no place for men like us." The sentiment is poignant but largely unexplored, and the lack of fight from the Templars--who are, by all accounts, fierce warriors--gives the story an odd hollowness that undercuts its rousing third act. Illustrators Pham ( The Boy Who Loved Math, 2013, etc.) and Puvilland ( Solomon's Thieves, 2010, etc.) imbue the book with a sketchy beauty that feels akin to the work of Guy Davis, though the influence of Puvilland's role at DreamWorks Animation is also apparent. The art's small details are the best, like a flung canteen frozen in midair, windblown shrubs on a lonesome street, a long-imprisoned Templar shielding his eyes from the sun, or the tilted head and closed eyes of a distant kiss. An explosive but overly wound clockwork whose center doesn't hold.