Sunday, March 7, 2010

Knights of the Black and White

I am endlessly fascinated by the Knights Templar, the order of military monks founded shortly after the First Crusade and disbanded a little over 200 years later, to the point of wondering if I might have been one in a past life.  I'm oddly protective of their memory, and you can't convince me they were guilty of the horrendous accusations that led to the suppression of the Order.

And Jack Whyte is a favorite author of mine.  His reimagining of the Arthurian cycle in terms of strict historical possibility (if not always plausibility) is one of the best treatments of those legends I've ever read.

So I was pretty excited when I heard he was taking a break from his version of Lancelot to give us his version of the Knights Templar.  This novel, the first of a planned trilogy, follows Templar founder Hugh de Payens from young manhood through the first few years of the Order in Jerusalem, and ends just before the original nine Templars send an embassy to the Pope to enlist his aid in promoting the Order.

And I'm very sad to say I'm disappointed in this book.  It has hardly any action, and what there is seems peripheral.  The dialogue is mostly didactic; the characters make speeches rather than having conversations.  There's no villain for the first half of the book, and the bad guys in the second half don't seem to present much of a danger.  Not recommended, alas.

Originally posted at MySpace 9/1/06. Reprinted to prove I don't unilaterally like everything I read!

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