The Templar Brotherhood
The Lost Treasure of the Templars #3
By James Becker
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
James Becker, New York Times bestselling author of The Templar Archive, returns with a breakneck thriller whisking readers into the shadowy secret chambers of the Knights Templar.
Having barely escaping the crosshairs of a deadly cult, Robin Jessop and David Mallory crisscross Europe, seeking to unlock the truth behind a conspiracy unresolved for seven hundred years—the mystery of what has given the enigmatic Templars their unwavering power.
Infiltrating the group’s vast archives, Jessop and Mallory make a startling find. An ancient Templar passport hints at a sacred mission: the transportation of a priceless treasure, an artifact of incomprehensible value. Delving through centuries of clues and deception, the two come face-to-face with a secret that could shake Christendom to its core—and cost their own lives along the way. (less)
This action-packed thriller is third in its series; it would be better enjoyed if the series is read in order as it seems to be written with the assumption that the reader has read the previous two book in the series. Other than that, it is extremely well-written and includes accurate historical information about the Templars that contributes to the assumptions and mystery.
Robin Jessop is the owner of an antiquarian bookstore that sells either through the store or its website. Betty manages the store and bakes the goods she serves as part of the store’s amenities. David Mallory is an IT expert with an unusual understanding of codes and ciphers that has helped them in their recent adventures of trying to find valuable antiquities stashed by the Knights Templar when they knew they were being pursued, literally, to the death.
Before their recent escape from Europe and return to Devon, England, they found and shipped home an encoded document that could lead them to assets, both huge property holdings and precious metals. Unfortunately, the document is is Latin used during the middle ages with no spaces between the words. It does not follow any of the usual ciphers. Worse, there are at least two groups of people following Robin. One was simply to take pictures and advise where she might be; the other is armed.
A rogue band of militant Dominicans want the treasure. Desperately. If the correct document comes to light, many, many assumed landowners, including those of castles, even whole villages, would be taken over with the owners tossed out. They will go to any length to get it, especially if Robin is able to decode it. Robin and Mallory begin another trip, this time to find the final documents, treasures, and a possible relic that, should it be authenticated, would change the course of Christianity.
The characters are strong and as three-dimensional as necessary for their roles. The bad guys outnumber the good guys, and the good guys invite the reader along for their dangerous trek through Europe to a destination I would not have anticipated. Robin and Mallory are intellectual equals; each bring their educational and experiential backgrounds to the search. It took a while to get to know them, but they are a formidable pair. I did not like any of the bad guys with the possible exception of the spy who becomes an ally of sorts. The rest were devastatingly good at what they do, except for Marco Toscanelli, who is determined to get them this time.
The history woven through this adventure was very interesting, leading me to look up and learn more about the terrible events occurring in the early 14th century. Thankfully, the sought-for “relic” of the Templars is not truth! The writing is excellent, inviting contemplation about the twelfth and fourteenth century events. It is fascinating to me to read about ciphers and codes and see how Robin and Mallory work on the seemingly impossible puzzle.
The action is non-stop, especially with the bad guys hot on their trail. Their final destination surprised and fascinated me, a land of intrigue and beauty. This should be on the must-read list of everyone who enjoys tightly-plotted historical thrillers based mostly in England and Europe. The end was astounding, yet I must say, I’m thankful the ultimate finding is fiction.