The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury

In a hail of fire and flashing sword, as the burning city of Acre falls from the hands of the West in 1291, The Last Templar opens with a young Templar knight, his mentor, and a handful of others escaping to the sea carrying a mysterious chest entrusted to them by the Order's dying Grand Master. The ship vanishes without a trace.

In present day Manhattan, four masked horsemen dressed as Templar Knights emerge from Central Park and ride up the Fifth Avenue steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the blacktie opening of a Treasures of the Vatican exhibit. Storming through the crowds, the horsemen brutally attack anyone standing between them and their prize. Attending the gala, archaeologist Tess Chaykin watches in silent terror as the leader of the horsemen hones in on one piece in particular, a strange geared device. He utters a few cryptic Latin words as he takes hold of it with reverence before leading the horsemen out and disappearing into the night.

In the aftermath, an FBI investigation is led by anti-terrorist specialist Sean Reilly. Soon, he and Tess are drawn into the dark, hidden history of the crusading Knights, plunging them into a deadly game of cat and mouse with ruthless killers as they race across three continents to recover the lost secret of the Templars.

I was not very impressed with this book. First and foremost the story never got to me. It starts out slightly promising, but then it soon becomes obvious where things are going and how the author is stuck on the Vatican/Jesus-conspiracy theories. As mysteries are revealed, you don’t feel the wow-effect. I actually spent so much time being bored by the whole thing that I eventually didn’t really care what happened to any of them and thought about throwing the book out the window.

The writing is clumsy and cluttered. I had to reread several paragraphs to understand and try to keep track of the often flood of historical information and background. It gets confusing and it slows down the experience.

The story takes place in modern day America following the thoughts and doings of archaeologist Tess and FBI agent Sean. A few selected chapters throughout the book tell the story of 13th century Templar Knight Martin’s return from the lost Holy Land and the mysterious artefact he carries with him. Too many pages are spent in modern day time on long explanations concerning the origin and downfall of the Templars – so many in fact that you start wondering when exactly you signed up this history lesson. Had the explanations been balanced out with any sort of action by the characters it would have been fine, but unfortunately the author chose to throw a wall of text at the reader instead. The same problem occurs when it comes to the many theological discussions. Pages up and down, one person at a time (monologues rather than proper dialogues) ranting and raving about how organized religion is messed up and basically evil now, then another about how it’s all about having faith, then a third person being undecided, but leaning towards cold logic rather than believing in what you cannot see. It reads like a speech prepared by someone who isn’t even very good at it. Very little of the actual dialogue in the book reads like something people would truly say in real life. The different viewpoints are interesting, but the subject gets old so fast and it more just felt like Khoury was having a field day on his soap box in the town square when he wrote it.

The Last Templar was published in 2005 and it reads very much like the poor man’s version of a mixture of Dan Brown’s “Deception Point” from 2001 and his “Da Vinci Code” from 2003. It has all the obvious plot twists and evil character revelations and it uses several points of view, tuning in to the heads of several minor characters just for a few minutes of their lives to “add to the mystery”. Unfortunately you never really get to know the main characters and as such you don’t really care what happens to them or the development of the plot. The ever present predictable love story subplot is tiring and the constant return to their discussions on faith is agonizing. The book does have a few redeeming good ideas and points, but it was very poorly executed. Especially the happenings at the start of the book could have been put to so much more use, where instead something only really happens then and then again right at the end of the book.

I give this book only 1 star. I didn't like it and I won't be rereading it. Neither will I recommend it to anybody.

315 pages / published in 2005
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2010


  1. Hm! That's a shame. Guess I won't be in any rush to read that one then. Good thing it was cheap! :)

  2. haha, yeah Maria. Was just about to comment to you that there was a reason it was on sale :P

  3. That's a shame, sounds like it could have been interesting. I love the Da Vinci Code!

  4. Me too, Sam. As I said, this one did have the potential to have been grand but the execution was just too flawed to work


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