Khoury's entertaining sequel to The Last Templar (2006) offers characters and plot lines that hew closely to the conventions of the religious thriller subgenre. In 1310, Templar knight Conrad of Tripoli stumbled on a trove of writings documenting the early days and divisions of Christianity. The Catholic Church has kept this material hidden since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, fearful that its release would undermine the church's authority and rock the foundations of Christian belief. In the present, Mansoor Zahed, an Iranian motivated by revenge for the CIA killing of his family in the 1950s, is bent on finding the trove and releasing it to undermine Western religion and stability. Meanwhile, FBI special agent Sean Reilly visits the Vatican on a quest to find a document that may help in his effort to rescue his love interest, Tess Chaykin, who's been kidnapped. The constant suspense, ever-mounting body count, and interesting historical lore will keep readers turning the pages. (Oct.)
Four years have elapsed since Khoury (The Sanctuary; The Sign) introduced us to archaeologist-turned-author Tess Chaykin. In this sequel to The Last Templar, Tess and FBI Agent Sean Reilly are once again on the trail of Templar-related documents that will change the course of history and Judeo-Christian ideology, if revealed. Here, Turkey is the battleground for a cache of extant gospels concealed by heirs of a Knight Templar. From the earliest pages, when we learn of Tess's abduction at the hands of an Iranian zealot to the climax 400 pages later, the action and intrigue never cease. As with most artifact novels, there must be equal suspension of disbelief and acknowledgment of possibility; after all, the Dead Sea Scrolls do exist. Khoury's choice of language and tone seems credible for each character, time, and place; his ample modern cultural references should withstand the test of time. The language and violence are graphic but appropriate and proportional to the story. VERDICT At times Khoury's style is more geopolitics lecture as he cites real events to intensify the plot, but his preachiness is offset by his sublime narrative. The result is a full-throttle action-adventure thriller wrapped in a political cautionary tale with a gratifyingly eloquent center. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/10.]—Laura A.B. Cifelli, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL
From Khoury (The Sign, 2009, etc.), a sluggish sequel to his runaway biblical bestseller, The Last Templar (2005).
Revisited are beautiful, brainy Tess Chaykin and tougher-than-most Sean Reilly, whose adventures rocketedTemplar to bestseller-dom. Three years have passed since last we saw them, but novelist Tess and FBI agent Sean remain undiminished superstars in their respective fields. Undiminished, too, is their love for each other though they've been apart for awhile. Having parked her 13-year-old daughter with relatives—Tess's approach to parenting has always been casual—she is now on a desert dig, gathering material for her next blockbuster. It's a plan interrupted by a mysterious Iranian, evil and unregenerate, who kidnaps her for reasons some readers may find unpersuasive. He wants her to lure Reilly to Rome where his famous resourcefulness will enable him to penetrate "the bowels of the Vatican," emerging at length with certain long-hidden documents. In turn, this will lead to certain pre–New Testament texts, the dissemination of which will unsettle, even undermine Christianity throughout the world. The villainous Iranian sees that as a good thing. From contemporary Rome, flash back to 13th-century Constantinople, where the Templars, too, will be revisited. The Knights Templar (think specials-forces units with a religious bent) have been decimated by powerful enemies, but there are a handful of survivors. Among these is the righteous Conrad, who, aided by his lover, the brave and adorable Maysoon, enlists in the struggle against malicious obscurantism. Thus, as it is with Tess and Reilly, so it is with Maysoon and Conrad, all warring on the side of the angels, the devil take the hindmost.
Probably irresistible to faithfulTemplarfans.But it's too talky, underimagined and much too heavy-gaited for mass conversions among the rest.