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.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Steve Berry’s The King's Deception and a Cotton Malone dossier.
Berry goes gnostic in this well-tooled Da Vinci Code-knockoff, his fourth novel (The Romanov Prophecy). Ex-U.S. Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is intrigued when he sees a purse snatcher fling himself from a Copenhagen tower to avoid capture, slitting his own throat on the way down for good measure. Further snooping introduces him to the medieval religious order of the Knights Templar and the fervid subculture searching for the Great Devise, an ancient Templar archive that supposedly disproves the Resurrection and demolishes traditional Christian dogma. The trail leads to a French village replete with arcane clues to the archive's whereabouts, and to an oddball cast of scholar-sleuths, including Cassiopeia Vitt, a rich Muslim woman whose special-ops chops rival Malone's. Malone and company puzzle over the usual Code-inspired anagrams, dead language inscriptions and art symbolism, debate inconsistencies in the Gospels and regale each other with Templar lore, periodically interrupting their colloquia for running gun battles with latter-day Templar Master Raymond de Roquefort and his pistol-packing monks. The novel's overcomplicated conspiracies and esoteric brainteasers can get tedious, and the various religious motivations make little sense. (Thankfully, the author soft-pedals the genre's anti-Catholicism.) But lively characters and action set pieces make this a more readable, if no more plausible, version of the typical gnostic occult thriller.
This book is fairly well written, with occasional awkwardness where it seems the author was at a loss for the right words. As the novel progressed, I was disappointed to see the author’s anti-Christian bias take place of the story line.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a talk the author gave about his work. He described the difficulty he had getting a first book published 85 preceding rejections.
I had read a history of the Templars years ago and did remember their forced disbanding. Ivanhoe was my first encounter with them in literature.
This story is about a secret continuation of the group and the groups search for lost treasure and archives.
I'm a history buff so I gave this a try. It's a good book. Makes u think. If u like history & mystery mixed give this a try. Will be buying more Steve Berry books.