Book Review: The Templar Legacy

Title/Author: The Templar Legacy (Cotton Malone #1) / Steve Berry
Genre:Thriller / Action- Adventure
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Date of publish: February 2006
Pages: 511
Book Links: Amazon The Templar Legacy: A Novel (Cotton Malone) / Goodreads / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Riffle


I sit day in and day out in my improvised office at my local library. It is actually quite nice.There among the other regular patrons, doing much the same thing, I am quite content. I have a nice wide table big enough for me to spread out. I have my files and legal pads, a pencil cup and a post it note pad. I have my phone (on a stand) and my lap top and both of which are going constantly all day long (quietly).

Technically in the corner, it has a terrific view. Big windows to wrap around to my right and rear, the entire first floor of the library spreads out in front of me and on my left, The Stacks. Fiction A-B is almost within touching distance and for months I have been staring at the Steve Berry shelf. Full of intriguing titles like, The Lincoln Myth, The Venetian Betrayal, and The Romanov Prophecy, they seem like a spectacular blend of mystery and history. I have been itching to read one of them. With an obligation to read least one book every other day and to post five or six days a week, I don’t have a lot of time for purely recreational reading and no one in Steve Berry’s camp is asking for reviews so…  Then came the reading challenge and a window of opportunity opened up.

So #ReadCPL2016 topic #74 Book published in 2oo6, The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry.

Few legends grab attention like that of the Knights Templar.

They are the archetype body of knights that so much fantasy fiction has been based on for the last 700 years. The basic gist is during The Crusades, a group of knights moved into what was left of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Something they found there, gave them power to hold sway over the kings and popes and amass a large amount of wealth. Driven by greed, jealousy or fear, (maybe all three), eventually the pope along with the king of France had as many of the Templars arrested as could be found. They were accused of all kinds of crimes against the church and man (mostly the church) and most were put to death. Whatever secrets they held died with them then. No matter how successful the purge was, no one ever found the bulk of Templar treasure nor ever found out exactly what it was that they knew to give them so much power in the first place.

75024The Templar Legacy is a novel about Cotton Malone, an intriguing person. He is a lawyer/super spy/former US Government agent now retired in Copenhagen, selling books. As the story opens he about to meet his former boss for a visit over lunch as she ‘just happens’ to be in the city. Plans change immediately as a cut purse grabs her bag and runs. Cotton gives chase. Yet rather than be caught the thief leaps to his death. Obviously, this is more than a typical purse snatching.

The story, centering on two books; a dead man’s journal and an antique book many don’t believe even exists, moves from Denmark to France where Malone and his group follow the clues laid down by long dead clergymen and the more recently departed husband of Malone’s former boss. They are in race with the leader of a clandestine organization who has already shown that he will take out anyone who gets in the way of his plan for vengeance.

The Templar legend just makes good story. Lost in the depths of history it is like literary tofu, picking up whichever flavors of intrigue and thrill a good storyteller chooses to season it with. It was used expertly in book and I have to admit there was a lot to this story that I had never run across before. It was impeccably laid out to the point that I am dying to take a day and just research the background on Rennes.

I adore character driven stories, yet so often one has to choose between great characters that leap off a page and become real in the mind of the reader or a larger than life tale that transports the readers to other places. No such choice here. There were so many mysteries within the mystery and no one was who they seemed to be. Just when you think you have every one figured out they to make an abrupt turn about and you find yourself reeling to keep up. Though, this is about the good guys and the bad guys, no one was totally innocent and even the bad could be justified in a certain light. Superbly done!

I have to admit that I love history at  gunpoint, probably a left over from my days of crushing on Indiana Jones, and this book had plenty of action to keep it moving at breakneck space even with the ton of exposition that is required to keep up with the story. Foot chases, car chases, death defying heights and creepy underground chambers, mixed with state of the art surveillance and some cunning good old fashioned know how keep up the heart pounding ride through this story.

The back story is seamlessly woven into the modern day action, so that the reader is well able to move through time easily, from the inception of the brotherhood, through the inquisition and even the deaths of Mark and Lars Nelle and back to present day.

I suppose it is no surprise that I enjoyed this book. There are several more Steve Berry books sitting on the shelf, staring at me, waiting for me to find an excuse to read them.

5 stars

Goodreads Summary: The ancient order of the Knights Templar possessed untold wealth and absolute power over kings and popes . . . until the Inquisition, when they were wiped from the face of the earth, their hidden riches lost. But now two forces vying for the treasure have learned that it is not at all what they thought it was–and its true nature could change the modern world.

Cotton Malone, one-time top operative for the U.S. Justice Department, is enjoying his quiet new life as an antiquarian book dealer in Copenhagen when an unexpected call to action reawakens his hair-trigger instincts–and plunges him back into the cloak-and-dagger world he thought he’d left behind.

It begins with a violent robbery attempt on Cotton’s former supervisor, Stephanie Nelle, who’s far from home on a mission that has nothing to do with national security. Armed with vital clues to a series of centuries-old puzzles scattered across Europe, she means to crack a mystery that has tantalized scholars and fortune-hunters through the ages by finding the legendary cache of wealth and forbidden knowledge thought to have been lost forever when the order of the Knights Templar was exterminated in the fourteenth century. But she’s not alone. Competing for the historic prize–and desperate for the crucial information Stephanie possesses–is Raymond de Roquefort, a shadowy zealot with an army of assassins at his command.

Welcome or not, Cotton seeks to even the odds in the perilous race. But the more he learns about the ancient conspiracy surrounding the Knights Templar, the more he realizes that even more than lives are at stake. At the end of a lethal game of conquest, rife with intrigue, treachery, and craven lust for power, lies a shattering discovery that could rock the civilized world–and, in the wrong hands, bring it to its knees.

About The Author:

3621Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The 14th Colony>, The Patriot Threat, The Lincoln Myth, The King’s Deception, The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. His books have been translated into 40 languages with 20,000,000 copies in 51 countries. They consistently appear in the top echelon of The New York Times, USA Today, and Indie bestseller lists.

History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It’s his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular writers workshops. To date, over 2,500 students have attended those workshops. In 2012 and 2013 Steve’s devotion to historic preservation was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve it’s spokesperson for National Preservation Week. Among his other honors is the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award; the 2013 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award given by Poets & Writers; the 2013 Anne Frank Human Writes Award; and the Silver Bullet, bestowed in 2013 by International Thriller Writers for his philanthropic work. A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.

Steve was born and raised in Georgia, graduating from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years. He is a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of more than 2,600 thriller writers from around the world—and served three years as its co-president.

Author Links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Google +

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