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The Lost Treasure of the Templars by James…
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The Lost Treasure of the Templars

by James Becker

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Beware, readers who enjoy books with a conclusion. This book has none, which unfortunately has become more common in the publishing world, I suppose as a marketing ploy to get readers to buy further books in a series. This maddens me, and if it does you, stay away from this. The novel does not have a cliffhanger ending, which would be more of an affront, in my opinion. It does end with with things on an even keel, so it has that much going for it, although as a result, the reader gets the sense that the book could have ended at any other point in the plot line and been as coherent.

For the subject matter, I found the writing a bit prosaic and expository. There was a LOT of explaining, and not as much action as you would expect here, although for students of history the exposition and constant review of the facts and historical background might be interesting.

The characters were so-so, and I felt never fully realized. Robin herself starts out as a cipher of sorts, a homey, mousy sort of woman who runs a bookshop, who, bewilderingly, is revealed to have the skills necessary to fight evil Italian crime rings, including a mastery of martial arts, ability to pilot a plane, a very serviceable knowledge of Latin, and a car racing license. How convenient. Equally opportune, her partner in crime, David Mallory, just HAPPENS to be writing a book about the Knights Templar when they meet up and are forced into researching the mysterious Templar scroll Robin finds. The pair manages to escape the Italians not once but three times, using her marital arts and his expertise as a former cop. This doesn't hold up to much scrutiny, in my opinion. Once maybe they got lucky. Thrice? The reader cannot help but compare the couple to Dan Brown's historical-researching adventure-finding pairs, to this couple's detriment.

A note on the author's assertions about the evils of religion: At one point, Robin snaps that she's an atheist, and the reader can't help but position the author on her side. Message: atheists, good, religious people bad. Exhibit A: the evil Italian mob, part of a syndicate of religious zealots intent on snuffing out "heresy," in their words, thus putting them in the same camp as the Inquisition and, ostensibly, the Muslim fanatics Robin and David criticize. The author has Robin postulate: "You know, I really believe that more atrocities have been perpetrated in the name of some organized religion than by every atheist and nonbeliever who has ever lived. I think you could argue that every religion is inherently evil, simply because of the way that committed believers absolutely know that they and they alone are right and therefore everybody else is wrong." She goes on to lump militant Islam in with "equally militant" Christianity. David responds with his own condemnations of religion, adding that the basis of the violence committed by believers is only ever "beliefs, not facts. It's never about facts where religion is concerned."

Now, putting aside the fact that atheism has its own set of beliefs, not facts, about the universe and its creation, and putting aside the moral equivalency of "militant Christianity" with militant Islam for the moment, the assertion that there is more evil done in the name of religion than anything else is just irresponsible and reprehensible. Perhaps the author is unaware of the 92 million killed under (non-religious) Communist regimes in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China in the 20th century alone? Hitler was non-religious, even anti-religious, himself. That's another 10 million. How about the political executions of about 2 million in the Khmer Rouge killing fields? Compare that to the approximate 3,000 people that died in TOTAL under the Catholic Inquisition.

I don't mind an author inserting his or her political or other views into his works. But those views should have a basis in reality, especially when espousing supposed historical facts. ( )
  ChayaLovesToRead | May 5, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451466462, Paperback)

The national bestselling author of The Lost Testament returns in a thrilling new novel that uncovers the powerful secrets of the Knight Templar—and a conspiracy too shocking to believe.

In a quiet English seaside town, antiquarian bookseller Robin Jessop has acquired an odd medieval volume. What appears to be a book isn’t a book at all, but a cleverly disguised safe, in which she finds a single rolled parchment, written in code.

For encryption expert David Mallory, the text is impenetrable. Until an invaluable clue opens the door to a mystery, and a conspiracy, stretching back seven centuries, when the most powerful man in Europe declared war on the most powerful clan, the Knights Templar.

Now, Jessop and Mallory find themselves on a global hunt for an unsurpassed treasure and this much closer to the keys to secrets that could change history, topple an empire, and bury them both alive. Because they’re not only the hunters. They’re also the hunted.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 15 Jul 2015 18:21:11 -0400)

"In a quiet English seaside town, antiquarian bookseller Robin Jessop has acquired an odd medieval volume. What appears to be a book isn't a book at all, but a cleverly disguised safe, in which she finds a single rolled parchment, written in code. For encryption expert David Mallory, the text is impenetrable. Until an invaluable clue opens the door to a mystery, and a conspiracy, stretching back seven centuries, when the most powerful man in Europe declared war on the most powerful clan, the Knights Templar. Now, Jessop and Mallory find themselves on a global hunt for an unsurpassed treasure and this much closer to the keys to secrets that could change history, topple an empire, and bury them both alive. Because they're not only the hunters. They're also the hunted"--… (more)

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