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The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

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Author: Steve Berry / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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    2 Reviews
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      13.08.2010 00:12
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      A Brill Story That I Couldn't Put Down!

      I've just finished reading The Templar Legacy and enjoyed it loads more than I thought I would. It's a good conspiracy story that revolves round the modern day Templar Knights, even though it's always been a shadowy organisation now it's completely secret.

      700 years ago all the Templar history was hidden just before the organisation was nearly ruined by the Catholics who thought it was a corrupt religion. The Catholics should talk! lol The Templars saw the threat coming and hid all their jewels, riches and books. Over the centuries though people have found clues to where it is but now there is a new Templar master and he will do ANYTHING to find this history, he's only master because he tells the rest of the order that he knows where it all is!

      This all happens in France, but the master finds evidence that an American author has come close to finding the treasure. Like I said the Templars are very secretive so it suits him to have all the blatent looking down for him and then years later he comes on and tries to take the secrets by force.

      It's a dead exciting story, I couldn't stop reading and was glad I had a couple of free days because I could read the book quickly. An American detective who gets involved is a brill character, he knows how to look after himself so by using him you could get plenty of action into the story. I liked it because it went from modern weapons and killing to a more intellectual hunt for the treasure, it wasn't easy and I reckon it must have been proper hard for Steve Berry to write because the book is full of riddles and in the end he's made them all make sense! It's madly clever!

      There's quite a few characters in the book and they're all important to the story, they're all believable and that's a good thing. There's one character called Casseopia and I wasn't mad keen on her because they made her out to be a bit of a superhero and things don't even work like that in conspiracy theories! My favourite was Mark Nelle, he was a high up member of The Templars when the book started but when the new master took over he turned renegade. The way his story came out was brilliant because I felt like I got to know him big time during the story.

      There are loads of twists and turns in The Templar Legacy and I loved that, the story went one way and then another and that makes it even more exciting. I liked the way that we knew the new Templar master (who was called Raymond de Roquefort) was the bad guy but other characters are done in a way that you can't make your mind up about them.

      It was interesting reading how they solved the riddle too, there were different people looking for this treasure and it was never 100% sure who was going to get to it first. The puzzles were solved and then another riddle came up, the story was paced just right as well and it never got boring because something would always come along to help the story move forward.

      The end couple of pages wrapped it all up good and there aren't any loose ends, I liked that because a lot of times these conspiracy books leave loads of unanswered questions and that kind of spoils it. This one is just right and also tells you how the outcome affects each character, not too much but just enough so you can see how their adventure has changed their lives a bit.

      Recommended.... for anyone who likes thrillers, religious conspiracy or just exciting action books that make you think a bit.

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        27.10.2009 17:47
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        Another book which adds little new to the Templar mystery

        It seems that these days, pretty much every other book in a book store deals with some sort of religious conspiracy; and at least half of those will be connected with the Knights Templar. It stands to reason that in such a forest of similarly-themed books, new titles need to be offer something different to stand out from the crowd.

        On one level, The Templar Legacy fails on this score and never proves to be anything special. Yet, at the same time, at least it is reasonably entertaining and interesting to read. It never pretends to be anything other than a simple throwaway novel, designed to keep the read entertained and then forgotten about. It's true that the word "cliché" could have been invented for this book, but at least it's fun while it lasts.

        The central plot examines the mystery surrounding the French town of Rennes-le-Chateau and the supposed discovery in the 1800s of a mysterious, unspecified "treasure" which gave its finder (a priest) untold wealth, power and influence. Fast forward to the modern day, where investigations into the mystery start to take a sinister turn.

        For some readers, this will sound familiar, as it is actually based on fact. The mystery of Rennes is well documented and there have been plenty of non-fiction books written on the subject; parts of it were even written into the Da Vinci code. This, though, was the first fictional account I had read which dealt purely with the Rennes mystery.

        Still, don't come to the Templar Legacy expecting much in the way of originality: the characters, in particular, are about as clichéd as it is possible to get. There's the ex-Secret Service agent with a Past; the wise old master; the mysterious stranger working to their own agenda; the evil mastermind and his utterly good opponent. In fairness, this isn't as annoying as it might be. Whilst individually the characters might be paper thin, they do work well when put together. There's sufficient detail to make them passable, without so much that you become bogged down and disinterested.

        One of the frustrating things about this book is the very uneven pacing. At times the action is fast and furious, plot developments happen thick and fast and the characters move from location to location, keeping the reader interested. These are key staples of this kind of thriller, helping to distract the reader from the more obvious plot and character limitations.

        Yet sometimes the book plods along at a pedestrian pace and you find yourself getting frustrated at the lack of progress. Characters overlook very obvious clues and seem to take an eternity to realise the significance of items which are blindingly obvious. Then, in case you're even more stupid than the characters, the significance of particular objects or ideas are explained and discussed in excruciating detail. This seriously slows down the overall pace of the book and is a real source of frustration. There were several times when I almost felt like shouting at these characters to stop being so stupid and, in the immortal words of Basil Fawlty, realise the "bleedin' orbvious".

        Initially, I put this down to the fact that I was aware of many of the basic ideas behind the Rennes mystery. I accepted that the author needed to provide this background information for readers for whom this was all new and that as a result, that parts of the book would drag for me. Yet even allowing for that, Berry seems to explain things, re-explain them, and then repeat them for good measure; almost as though he doesn't trust his readers to have the intelligence to grasp them first, or even second time around.

        This leads to some very artificial-sounding conversations between characters and some highly convoluted dialogue to make sure the reader has understood the key points. It also means that the book is far too long. It runs to almost 600 pages, but there is not enough material here to justify and you sometimes feel as though the author has artificially inserted lots of artificial twists, red herrings and double crosses just to up the word count.

        It's clear that Berry has done an awful lot of research in preparation for this book and wants to make it as authentic as possible. Yet sometimes, he seems to be shoe-horning information into the plot, trying to impress the reader with how jolly clever he is and how hard he has worked. Again, this impacts severely on pacing and you wish he would just get on with telling the story. That is, after all, the purpose of a novel like this.

        Yet despite some quibbles and some frustrations over the pacing, I did mostly enjoy reading The Templar Legacy. Developments are frequent enough to ensure that the main quest never gets totally lost amongst the superfluous detail and it does succeed in keeping reading. Berry's writing style is enjoyable and manages to overcome the more hackneyed plot elements. Descriptions of people and places sound real enough to convince without over-burdening the narrative with unnecessary adjectives.

        All the plot elements (both fact-based and fictional) are carefully woven together and for the most part join up logically. Indeed, for anyone with no knowledge of the Rennes mystery, it would be difficult to determine which bits are based on real events and which the author has made up. To this end, the author provides an interesting postscript to the book making clear his embellishments.

        Yet this, too, brings its frustrations. If this novel whets your appetite for reading more about Rennes, you're in for a disappointment. Whilst Berry might have done lots of research, he's not about to share that with you. The book contains almost no references to the sources used, and even when it does, they are so vague as to be virtually useless. His postscript, for example contains things like "I read an excellent book by Smith and Jones" without giving you any details that would allow you to go off and read that book for yourself. I found this rather lazy and more than a little frustrating,

        Also a little lazy is when one of the characters solves the entire mystery... through a dream. This is such a weak, hackneyed plot device it had me screaming out in frustration. It's as though he had his characters at Point A and knew he wanted them to be at Point C, but there was no logical Point B with which to connect the two. So instead, one of the characters has a nice little sleep and has sorted it all out by the time he wakes up. Since the infamous Dallas "shower" episode, dreams have become a byword for authors who can't be bothered working out their plot progression properly and there is simply no excuse for it.

        Generally, this was an OK book to read. Its real problem is that there is not enough to distinguish it from all the other similar books already crowding the bookshelves. If I'm perfectly honest with you, it's several weeks since I finished the book and I'm really struggling to recall any of the plot details - it's that disposable and generic. As such, it's difficult to recommend at the retail price of £6.99. If you can pick up a second hand copy cheap, fair enough, but there's not enough to justify a full price purchase.

        Basic Information
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        The Templar Legacy
        Steve Berry
        Hodder, 2006
        ISBN: 978-0340899250

        © Copyright SWSt 2009

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