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Knights Of The Black And White [Hardcover]

Jack Whyte
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 2006
From the author of Uther and The Eagle comes Knights of the Black and White—the first in a dramatic historical trilogy about the rise and fall of the Knights Templar

It is 1088. While many French nobles continue their occupation of a violently hostile England, one young knight, Hugh de Payens, is inducted into a powerful secret society in his father's castle in Anjou. The Order of Rebirth in Sion draws its membership from the ranks of some of France's most powerful families, with only one son from each generation eligible to be selected, and its members' loyalty to the ancient brotherhood transcends loyalty to both Church and state. When the new Pope calls for knights to join his Crusade to redeem the Holy Land, Hugh is commanded by the Order to go along and finds himself in hellish battle in Jerusalem.

Sickened by the slaughter of innocents and civilians and appalled by the savagery of his fellow Christians, Hugh appeals to the Order to allow him and a few of the brotherhood to follow a different path. Determined to remain true to their own beliefs, they become the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ, a unique order of fighting monks, and use the skills honed in battle to defend and protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. But the Order has a different plan, and soon the brethren are charged with an outlandish and dangerous task—a seemingly impossible mission to uncover a treasure hidden in the very center of Jerusalem, a treasure that might not only destroy the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem but also threaten the fabric of the Church itself.

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The Stuff of Mystery and Legend: a note from author Jack Whyte

Best-selling novelist Jack Whyte, whose nine-novel cycle on the Arthurian legend has captivated readers internationally since first being published in 1992, now brings his analytical and interpretative storytelling skills to bear on the Order of the Temple, tracing the rise and fall of the greatest and most mysterious of the Military Orders. Knights of the Black and White, the first novel in the Knights Templar trilogy, examines the story of those nine original knights and offers a feasible and logical explanation of where they came from, why they did what they did, and how they were able to unearth their treasure. Author Jack Whyte took time out from writing to set the stage for this dramatic new Templar trilogy:

This is the year of the Knights Templar, with popular interest in the medieval Order and its lore stirred up as never before by the success of The Da Vinci Code and other thrillers it has inspired. The Templars, it is known, had a wonderful Treasure, its existence verified by historical record. But the treasure disappeared some time after being shipped from Acre in the Holy Land, just before the collapse and destruction of the Templars and their fortress there, to the island of Cyprus, and it has never been seen since.

What that treasure actually was, and what happened to it once it left Cyprus, is unknown, but historical records indicate that the Order of the Temple was founded by nine penniless knight monks, who formed a brotherhood in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, in the second decade of the twelfth century, for the ostensible purpose of protecting the Christian pilgrims using the roads to visit the Holy Places. They were the first religious Order ever to be entitled to kill in the name of God. The same records indicate that in return for their unpaid services, the knights were given permission to occupy the abandoned stables on the Temple Mount below the Al Akhsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, where for the next nine years, working in secrecy, they tunneled downward through the rock to find the remnants of the original Temple of King Solomon, and the treasure hidden there. Whatever that treasure was, they retrieved it and took it back to Europe, where the mere knowledge of their possessing it enabled them, within the next forty years, to become the strongest, wealthiest and most powerful organization in the Christian world. This is the stuff of mystery and legend, but the question that begs to be asked is: how did the nine original monks know where to look?

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran of eight Arthurian novels (The Lance Thrower, etc.), Whyte turns to the Crusades with this tedious first volume of a Knights Templar trilogy. In 1088, young knight Hugh de Payens is initiated into the secret Order of the Rebirth of Sion, who believe the Christian Church to be "an invalid creation... built upon a myth." Founded by Jewish families fleeing the Romans, the Order believes that the truth about Jesus and the founding of Christianity lie buried beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. When Pope Urban calls for a Holy Crusade to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, the Order"given to interminable monologues"sees an opportunity to perhaps retrieve those ancient documents and sends Sir Hugh and others to join the Crusaders, yakking the whole way. After the bloody fall of Jerusalem, Sir Hugh establishes a new order of warrior monks as a cover for the excavation of the Temple Mount, and the race is on to find the hidden treasure, if it exists, before their activities are discovered. This tepid Templar foray will be crowded out at the gates. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New ground for Whyte Sept. 3 2006
Ah, after finishing his Roman/Arthurian series (which is quite brilliant and one of my favourite series) I patiently waited for the first of his Templar books to arrive. It did arrive and I quickly devoured it. What a beginning, and I say that because I realize this is a trilogy and so what we get here is the very beginnings of another generational story (as it begins in 1099 at the formation of the knights templar, and we know from history that their demise did not occur until October on Friday the 13 of 1307 I believe). We get introduced, like the first two books of "A Dream of Eagles", to the forefathers of the story, Hugh De Payens, Godfrey St. Omer, and Stephen St. Clair (along with the other of the original 9 knights Templar). We spend the first quarter of the book in the company of the first two fellows, and the latter part mostly with St. Clair, and though you can feel the switch, which I think had to happen, you still fell as you did in Eagles Brood when Luceia and Publius took the back seat and role of teacher. It is very much the same here. Where as the earlier two fellows are very thoughtful about EVERYTHING they do, St. Clair is in turn reckless to a degree, and I liked that. The main female character in this one is the King of Jerusalem's second daughter Alice, and boy oh boy do we love to hate her. She is dripping with such nastiness. She is a very strong character, but in that villainous way.

Long story short, this book takes ideas from Holy Blood Holy Grail about what the grail actually IS and makes them rather fresh, because I think we ALL know now that the chances that it is a cup are slim to none, so this story is timely, for we have never before heard the story of the Templar knights, and if their story is half as intriguing as A Dream of Eagles was to Arthur, then we have begun something extrordinary.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars knights and ladies Nov. 27 2006
Don't be swayed too much by connections to Holy Blood, Holy Grail - this book is storytelling at its best - the things that little boys dream of - knights in shining armour and ladies - well 'lady' aka alice is a stretch...Lincoln's blood/grail is a treatise which at times reads like fiction - but that's as far as it goes - it's not good fiction and it does 'go on' at times -

I'm not a fast reader and i've finished this is a few days.

I have been to France a dozen times in the past several years and i ve read many (all?) the books associated with the Magdalene myth as well as the Cathar legend - although interesting, i found many of these books poorly written (read grammar!). Whyte writes using the Queen's English. He uses correct grammar and his vocabulary is extensive as is his knowledge of early Christianity, the Muslim world and the history of the first crusade. I can't wait for the next book in this series. I've just discovered Mr Whyte, so in the meantime, i ll get his other books.

I highly recommend this very enjoyable saga.

richard harrop (toronto)
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4.0 out of 5 stars History worth reading Aug. 10 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read a few things about the Knights Templar over the years, as have many of the other reviewers here. To those of you who read every word of Holy Blood/Holy Grail: my hats off to you. I painstakingly read the first half and forced myself to skim the second half just to be able to say I read it - dry -dry -dry!

I am not quite done Knights of the Black and White but I am a little miffed by the hijacking of the story by Princess Alice and the sudden maturing of Stephen St. Clair when he is being interviewed by Bishop Odo; maybe I missed it, but it seemed the young uncertain boy becomes the savvy politico in the space of heartbeat. I recognized this as the turn that will wind down to the end of the book; and maybe it will all come out in the wash.

The foundation of the book is masterfully written, imbuing historical characters and events with personality and colour; allowing the reader to follow history as it unfolds through the eyes of lovable, or less-than-lovable in the case of Bishop Odo and Alice, characters.

Jack Whyte's command of the English language and grammar is impeccable. Nothing more need be said on that account.

All in all this book is a good read and brings ideas to light that require some pondering in this modern age of ours where God has not failed us but religion has.

Steve Bonin - Toronto
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good Knight Templar fictional read. Feb. 3 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Whyte does a very fine job is the blending of historical events and Knight Templar history - very good research. Those wishing to learn factual based knowledge about the Knights Templar will be disappointed as this book is as stated - fiction. It does offer the reader, as in my case, a great read and is a real page-turner. I sailed through all three. He did a great job, leading me to purchase some of his other works. He has matured in this series compared to his last.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read May 16 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Good book - great character development and an interesting story. The book somewhat lacks a climax as, for myself anyway, the end was somewhat predictable. That being said I think the groundwork has been laid for an exciting second and third book and I will definitely be picking up the second of the trilogy as soon as it is released. The book is a more substantial read than the typical Knight's Templar or Da Vinci-type thriller but is worth the extra investment of time.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I am in the process of re-reading this excellent trilogy. It is very...
I am in the process of re-reading this excellent trilogy. It is very finely crafted and keeps the reader fully engaged. It is well worth the read as are other works by Jack. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Brian McNish
2.0 out of 5 stars Cheesy.
Expected a serious historical novel, not one given over to a cheesy romance and overall poorly written. Sorry I bought the trilogy!
Published 4 months ago by Don Blanchard
5.0 out of 5 stars On the strength of reading the first book of the trilogy that was lent...
The history and story were knit beautifully throughout the book. Very good character development and great descriptive visuals for location. Read more
Published 12 months ago by David Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
This was a gift but the recipient was happy with it. And it completed his set! He was excited to complete it.
Published 15 months ago by Christine
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining yarn about the Knights Templar
I quite enjoying reading Whyte and have read his King Arthur books. This one here is the first I've read in the Templar Trilogy and it doesn't disappoint Whyte fans. Read more
Published on Sept. 26 2011 by Fred Houpt
3.0 out of 5 stars Knights of the Black and White
Jack Whyte's epic series on Camulod was outstanding, and prompted me to order this book re his series on the Knights Templar. Read more
Published on May 26 2010 by Celtic fan
4.0 out of 5 stars Knights of the Black and White
Excellent series of books. The first two volumes of this series has caused great anticipation with readers for the release of the final volume. Read more
Published on Oct. 6 2008 by WG Macx MacNichol
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn.. where was I?
Oh dear, another novel about the Templars and the secrets of the true origins of Christianity. Even if you liked the "Da Vinci Code" this one set in the early 12th century will... Read more
Published on Dec 26 2007 by Prairie Pal
3.0 out of 5 stars Suffers from weak characterization, yet remains a good read
I've been fascinated with the Knights Templar and their demise ever since watching a documentary on their order during my early teenage years. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2007 by Patrick St-Denis
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Loved this book...can hardly wait for book 2...If you enjoy reading on Templar history you will probably enjoy this book.
Published on Sept. 4 2007 by bookworm
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