Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Last Templar

Raymound Khoury's The Last Templar is a novel similar to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. Its story revolves around the mystery in Christ's life and identity, that according to theories, is being kept by the Roman Catholic Church. To devout Catholics and Christians, this novel may be taken as blasphemous or as an intriguing read.

The novel begins in the 13th century Acre when the Templar lost the holy city to Muslims. Then it switches to a gala night in modern day New York, where Vatican treasures are displayed at the Metropolitan Museum. Four horsemen dressed as Templar arrive, and the glamorous crowd and media applauds at what everyone thinks as an exhibition-- until someone is beheaded and one of the horsemen began to shoot.

"This wasn't routine armed robbery. It was a full-blown raid.  Automatic machinegun fire had raked New York's A-list. The mayor's wife was taken hostage. A man was executed in plain sight; not just host, but beheaded, and not in a walled courtyard in some Middle Eastern dictatorship, but here in Manhattan, on Fifth Avenue. 
On live television." 
The anthropologist Tess Chaykin was nervously hiding behind a cabinet when she witnesses a horseman reverently take a decoder and  recite, "Veritas vos liberabit". After the raid, Tess emerges with her mother and daughter unharmed, but whatever Tess witnessed that night, kept her baffled in the next few days.

Later that night, the FBI arrives at the scene. Sean Reilly, an FBI agent, immediately felt uneasy about this case. None in their team could fathom the public aspect of the crime. Sean Reilly is convinced that someone or some group was trying to convey a message. At the top of his list for suspects were the extremist groups. But all his ideas changed when he meets Tess Chaykin, and learns about what she witnessed and researched. The investigation suddenly shifts to another angle, one that includes the mystery of the Knights Templar.

Throughout the novel, Sean constantly struggles to understand the historical significance of the case. But every time he doubts, Tess Chaykin's charm and determination convince him otherwise. In the course of their investigation, Tess and Reilly realize that there are other parties hunting, and racing  against them, to get to the truth.

The Last Templar is narrated in third person point of view, divided in short, action-packed chapters that leave readers either hanging or in shock. There is little development for the characters but the gripping plot and Raymound Khoury's descriptive narration makes up for it. The romantic tension between Tess and Reilly served both as a variety and complication for the plot. With all those qualities in the novel, a reader can easily be reminded of a Hollywood movie (and it did become a miniseries). The Last Templar can be an entertaining read for those who are interested in the history of Christianity, Knights Templar, and conspiracy theories.

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