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Last Templar [Hardcover]

Raymond Khoury
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 24 2006
"It has served us well, this myth of Christ."
—Pope Leo X, 16th Century

In a hail of fire and flashing sword, as the burning city of Acre falls from the hands of the West in 1291, The Last Templar opens with a young Templar knight, his mentor, and a handful of others escaping to the sea carrying a mysterious chest entrusted to them by the Order’s dying Grand Master. The ship vanishes without a trace.

In present day Manhattan, four masked horsemen dressed as Templar Knights emerge from Central Park and ride up the Fifth Avenue steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the blacktie opening of a Treasures of the Vatican exhibit. Storming through the crowds, the horsemen brutally attack anyone standing between them and their prize. Attending the gala, archaeologist Tess Chaykin watches in silent terror as the leader of the horsemen hones in on one piece in particular, a strange geared device. He utters a few cryptic Latin words as he takes hold of it with reverence before leading the horsemen out and disappearing into the night.

In the aftermath, an FBI investigation is led by anti-terrorist specialist Sean Reilly. Soon, he and Tess are drawn into the dark, hidden history of the crusading Knights, plunging them into a deadly game of cat and mouse with ruthless killers as they race across three continents to recover the lost secret of the Templars.

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From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting read. Feb. 23 2006
By A Customer
In 1291 Acre, the Muslim onslaught devastated the last stronghold of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. As the city burned, Grand Master of the Knights of Templar William of Beaujeu, nearing death, knows they lost here, but sends Aimard of Villiers accompanied by his protégé Martin of Carmaux to escape with a mysterious chest on the only vessel left intact in the nearby harbor, The Falcon Temple, regretfully leaving behind their brothers to die. At the present day Metropolitan Museum of Art, Treasures from the Vatican are on display when four masked men wearing the medieval garb of the Templar Knights ride horses out of Central Park into MOMA. As the tuxedo opening gala crowd flees, stunned archaeologist Tess Chaykin watches in fascinating horror as one of the horsemen says something in Latin before reverently grasping one of the objects before fleeing into the night. FBI Agent Sean Reilly heads to investigation assisted by his longtime partner Nick Aparo and Vatican envoy Monsignor De Angelis and soon Tess joins them in a quest that crosses three continents and over seven centuries. The exciting thriller, THE LAST TEMPLAR contains two fine subplots with most of the action happening the present, but much occurring back in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. The historical aspects seem more fascinating as the audience obtains a taste of the Templar Knights' honor and faith while the present is fun but also suffers in part from the Browning of religious conspiracy theory novels syndrome. I also highly recommend-The Quest by Giorgio Kostantinos.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE DA VINCI CODE LITE... March 22 2007
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a thriller that those who like the historical fiction genre should enjoy. The book is really two stories in one, which keep alternating. One story takes place at the end of the thirteenth century through the beginning of the fourteenth century. The other takes place in the present. The past deals with the last days of the Knights Templar, a quasi religious group that ultimately met a most ignominious end. The present deals with an archaeologist who finds herself on the cusp of discovering one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Catholic Church. The book grabs the reader from the get-go with a thrilling beginning.

In the past, in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the battle of Acre has been fought and the Muslim onslaught has proven to be too much for the Knights Templar, whose mission to keep the Holy Land Christian has failed. Driven out by the ever burgeoning hordes of Muslims, the battle of Acre is lost and the Holy Land comes under control of the Muslims, as the Christians are massacred. The Knights Templar, realizing that the end is nigh, make a last ditch effort to preserve an ancient secret that they have been harboring, one which is capable of changing the world.

In present day Manhattan in New York, four horsemen, dressed as Knights Templar, ride into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where an exhibition of valuable art work and artifacts owned by the Vatican is taking place. In the ensuing chaos and bloodletting caused by the horsemen, an obscure and ancient decoding devise is taken by one of them. The theft is witnessed by Tess Chaykin, an archaeologist.

When the FBI enters the picture, Tess finds herself drawn to the lead investigator, FBI Agent Sean Reilly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Raymond Khoury does a phenomenal job in this novel. I was very pleased to see that the novel had been made into a movie. Like most movies, it does not fully capture the imaginative qualities that this book offers its readers. It keeps your attention throughout and delivers bang for the buck. Good read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last but not least March 7 2006
By A Customer
Frankly, I liked this book a lot-in some places. I think that people would have scored it a lot better had there been no such thing as Dan Brown or The DaVinci Code. It just felt like Khoury was biting off Brown's style... and not writing as well as Brown either. I didn't like the ending either; as others have said, it was quite disappointing. However, the chase was fun. I found it a little bit lame that Khoury insisted on scattering Armenian links all over the place, but didn't really follow through with that. It seemed a little forced. I'm 99% sure he is Armenian (Khouryan?)... If that was the route he wanted to take, he could have just made the main character Armenian. It was just vague references to Mt. Ararat and the Genocide that sort of disturbed the flow of the novel. I'm normally one for something more fast-paced, you know, a James Patterson book or something by----- Mccrae-think his "Katzenjammer"----- but decided to check this out instead.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start but Oct. 22 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved the opening sequences and, in fact, the first half of the book. The opening scenes in the museum are very memorable and a great set up for the book. However, it got to a point that seemed like "How do we finish this?" The last 100 pages or so of the book felt like a contrived, warm fuzzy ending.
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