The third instalment of Jack Whyte's templar trilogy. The Order - a secret society of men from ancient, noble families, drawn together to safeguard the Christian Church's most precious secrets - has been decimated by a King's petulant will.
Its members are being persecuted and most have been forced to flee for their lives as their leaders are burnt at the stake. But the Order's secrets must continue to be protected and hidden; so as their world falls apart, the dangerous task of smuggling the sacred treasure out from under the nose of a vengeful king falls to just a few brave men.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 26/11/2009
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9780007207497
- EPUB from £6.49
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by Glorybe1
I enjoyed this third and final book of The Templar series, to my mind it was the best, maybe because there was a female as one of protagonists. It softened the story and made it more appealing (to me anyway!)The story starts in La Rochelle in France where on 13th October 1307 King Phillip Cabat decides to arrest every member of the Templar order that can be found, on completely bogus charges. The order have to escape to The Arran Isles and seek sanctuary fro Robert the Bruce, who gladly helps the men The story details their experiences on the Island and how the Order clawed back harmony to the Chaos that they have been cast into, the changes they have to make in order to survive.The female input makes the book a much more rounded story, Maybe not with the impact or adventure of the Camulod Chronicles which is really a fabulous peace of work, but a story worth reading anyway.
Review by Speesh
It's been a while since I read the previous one in this series, 'Standard of Honour'. I did actually enjoy the first two, even if I do remember thinking that the jump between one and two was a bit much and 'Standard of Honour' seemed to lose a lot of the momentum built up in 'Knights of the Black and White.' Having said all that, I couldn't really remember what happened in the second volume, I'll admit, but it didn't seem to matter. And I'd forgotten what happened at the start of this one by the time I'd finished, so no great loss.<br/><br/>Yes, there's once again way too much talking and discussion and general dialogue and way too little of...well, pretty much anything else. Sure, it starts well, with a bang of a start in the first few pages, but after that, very little. Really, you might as well wade through the Templars Wikipedia page, if all this is going to be about is their final days and dissolution. The lack of anything other than flannel, is surprising though, as the book covers a reasonably tumultuous event, namely the French King's destruction of the Templars. The very first Friday the 13th. October 1307.<br/><br/>Sir William St. Clair and the other Templar-folk who get forewarned of their impending doom, are (unfortunately for those action-lovers amongst us and typically for this book) not around when this happens. Having received a tip-off to set sail a few hours before, they watch the event from out at sea off the coast of La Rochelle. Even later in the story, the now disbanded Templars turning up late for one last ride to save the day by chasing off the English at Bannockburn, is related as a chat, after the event, between Sinclair, Robert the Bruce and various aristocratic friends. I mean, look at Robert Low's trilogy covering the self-same period on Robert The Bruce. I haven't actually read them (yet), but you're not telling me, looking at those covers, they're sitting around in front of roaring log fires talking? As they do here. So all we get are hours of fat-chewing before and after. Generally, all the way through, all we get is talk, talk, change of scenery, talk, talk, change of people, talk, sail to Scotland, discussion, talk. Etc. Reminded me of later 'Wheel of Time' nonsense. That's not good, by the way.<br/><br/>Then some of their 'conversations', many actually, are not between characters, as characters might have had the same conversations if we weren't reading what they were saying in real life. What they say, is clearly aimed at us. Imparting knowledge that surely the character knows, and the character doing the telling, knows they know. But we - the reader don't know. So it's really us that is being told. And that makes it over long, forced and stilted. Like reading a bad Wikipedia entry.<br/><br/>So what else could it be? A romance? A very long-winded one, if it is. You know from the off, in the first few pages where the two meet, how it will end. That is telegraphed in the usual way - they can't abide each other. So of course they're bound to fall in love. The older, stuck in his ways, monastic (and more importantly, life-long celibate) Templar fighting monk and the headstrong, newly widowed, baroness with a whole load of boxes crammed full with gold coins, Scottish noble-lady. Their 'romance', which isn't actually underway until the final hundred pages, develops as the Templars society crumbles. That's what this must be about. Romance and new beginnings. Yes, the lead up to and the realisation that it must be love from Will Sinclair's side, is nicely and deftly done. Though, I remember feeling that the moment of admission on his side, the end of anticipation on her side and the joy on both sides, could have been more forcefully written. But you can't have anything, when Templars need to sort out stocks and supplies and … At least we do get a marriage. Well, that'll please those who think Historical Fiction is only written about luv between people wearing funny, old-fashioned clothes. Hello Amazon and Goodreads!<br/><br/>To again be more fair than this deserves, when you strip out much of the endless detail about how to run a Templar community on a previously almost deserted Scottish island, then it is pretty well-written. The descriptions of Scotland are lovely and clearly written by a Scot living abroad. But that's too little to affect the overall meandering. And with that stripped out, you'd have very little else.<br/><br/>Could have been a lot better. Should have been a whole lot shorter.