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The war between the Catholic Church and the Gnostic insurgency drags on in this ponderous Da Vinci Code knockoff. The latest skirmish erupts when horsemen dressed as knights raid New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, lopping off heads and firing Uzis as they go. Their trail leads FBI agent Sean Ryan and fetching archeologist Tess Chaykin to the medieval crusading order of the Knights Templars. Anachronistic Gnostic champions of feminism and tolerance against Roman hierarchy and obscurantism, the Templars, they learn, discovered proof that Catholic dogma is a "hoax" and were planning to use it to unite all religions under a rationalist creed that would usher in world peace. Screenwriter and first-time novelist Khoury spices up the doctrinal revisionism with Da Vinci–style thriller flourishes, including secret codes, gratuitous but workmanlike action scenes and a priest–hit man sent out by the Vatican to kill anyone who knows anything. The narrative pauses periodically for believers-vs.-agnostics debates and tutorials on everything from the Gospel of Thomas to alchemy. Though long-winded and sophomoric, these seminars are a relief from Tess and Sean's tedious romance, which proceeds from awkward flirtations as they listen to Sean's mix CD to hackneyed intimacies about childhood traumas. The novel's religious history is as dubious as its conspiracy plot, but anti-clericalists—and Catholics taking a break from the church's real headaches—could unwind with it. (Feb.)
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The Knights Templar, a small monastic military order formed in the early 1100s to protect travelers to the Holy Land, eventually grew and became wealthy beyond imagination. In 1307, the French king, feeling jealous and greedy, killed off the Templars, and by 1311, the last master, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake. The whereabouts of the Templars' treasure--and their secrets--have been the subject of legend ever since. Now, a new thriller tries to follow in the steps of The Da Vinci Code.
There's no doubt that Khoury's Last Templar has one of the most gripping opening scenes among recent thrillers. Four horsemen, dressed as Templars, ride their steeds up the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, crashing into a show of Vatican artifacts and stealing a coding device that can unlock the Templars' secrets about the early days of Christianity. Archaeologist Tess Chaykin is a witness to the theft, and her professional juices kick in, prompting her to join forces with FBI investigator Sean Reilly. The action moves back and forth in time between the Templars' last battle and the present-day search for the missing device and the message it will decode. Khoury is a screenwriter, and his story is nothing if not cinematic, as it skips across three continents and climaxes with a storm at sea of biblical proportions. A nice twist at the end spins the Christian history everyone's been chasing. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
This isn't a novel, it is the written version of a horrid B Movie. A more predictable, cliche, outright ridiculous book would be hard to find. Read morePublished on March 4 2013 by GDR
I don't regret reading the book, it kept me reading every spare minute I could find...The end was a bit disappointing, decisions made seemed counterintuitive and not in tune with... Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2007 by bookworm
As a Gnostic myself, I was bloody appalled. Tedious is a good description.Published on April 17 2006