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The Knights of the Cornerstone by James P.…

The Knights of the Cornerstone

by James P. Blaylock

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To sum it up: What a mess.

I grabbed this off the New Arrivals shelf at the library - it's the sort of book I'd have avoided (I'm wary of post-DaVinci Code books about the Knights Templar and Biblical artifacts, since most of them seem to be hastily slapped together to take advantage of the trend), except it's by a veteran fantasy author I've been intending to check out.

It would have been better off staying on the shelf. It's just shy of 300 pages, and yet it took me days and days to read. As I was trying to finish up the last 80 pages today, I feel asleep twice. The main character is pathetic and odd; he doesn't seem to have any friends, his fiance left him, and his life revolves around collecting obscure pamphlets and sketching very, very unfunny cartoons. He has a bad habit of not telling people things that really should be told, and he's so insanely passive that the book could have only been improved by replacing him with a turtle.

And that's saying nothing of the plot, which only half exists. There's some sort of malarkey about antagonists trying to steal a veil, or is it silver? Can we make up our minds? Nothing is explained very well, and all the characters do things that left me saying, "Okay, but WHY? Seriously?" The timing of everything is far too coincidental (of course plans that have been brewing for decades go down in the days that the main character just happens to be in town!) and by the time camels and a fake film crew and catapults came in for no good reason, I was just ready to burn this book. Except I think the librarians wouldn't appreciate that.

Any Blaylock fans out there who can tell me if this is representative of his other work, or if he just dropped the ball on this one? ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 23, 2013 |
A strangely relaxed little book peopled with odd characters who's preferred drink is soca pop - preferably Nehu Grape; the pages are saturated with the atmosphere of the 1970s - so much so that the mention of a cellphone is disturbingly anachronistic.

Calvin Bryson is an amateur cartoonist of independent means, recently ditched by his fiance but not exactly broken-hearted. When his family pressure him to deliver a parcel to an uncle living in the eccentric desert town of New Cyprus he is unenthusiastic but dutiful until the theft of his package rouses him to curiosity.

Calvin fully intends to return to California after a flying visit but he is not only drawn into a deadly mystery involving The Knights of the Cornerstone [descendants of the Knights Templar] and their guardianship of a sacred relic [the veil of st Veronica, with magical/mystical healing powers] but he also falls in love.

Murder, abduction, theft, romance - even ghosts and magic - all are presented in an unassumingly low-key matter of fact manner which result in the book being 'light' despite its sometimes portentious subject matter, and even being classed as magical realism. Actually, although I won't recommend Knights, it's not too bad - certainly not as bad as a classification of magical realism suggests.

I ordered it because it came up on my Recommendations list of few times. I must admit to being sorely disappointed. However, as a quirky story in a weird but timeless setting in which violence is tempered by romance and a happy ending is more or less guaranteed for reluctant hero Calvin, Knights is a good but unexciting read. ( )
  adpaton | Jan 3, 2011 |
Very nice, although not at the same level as Paper Grail and Aill the Bells on Earth. ( )
  kukkurovaca | Mar 12, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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The only way to come to know where you are is to begin to make yourself at home.
--Lilith, George MacDonald

Once he heard very faintly in some distant street a barrel-organ begin to play, and it seemed to him that heroic words were moving to a tiny tune from under or beyond the world.
--The Man Who Was Thursday, G. K. Chesterton
For Viki, John, and Danny

And this time for John Ciarcia and Karen King

Cha Cha and Karen: here's a book dedicated to the two of you, for years of New York hospitality. The Blaylocks thank you for your love and support. See you soon.
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Calvin Bryson read the letter a third time, but for some reason it insisted on saying the same thing it had said the other two times.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441016537, Hardcover)

When Calvin Bryson decides to visit his aunt and uncle, he learns that their small town is harboring some strange secrets-including a modern- day incarnation of the legendary Knights Templar.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Dedicated to his work and to his collection of rare books, a reclusive Calvin Bryson finally visits his aunt and uncle in New Cyprus, California, only to discover a town hiding strange secrets and an enigmatic group dedicated to the preservation of holy relics.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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