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The Oath (Knights Templar Mysteries (Simon & Schuster)) Mass Market Paperback – 8 Jul 2010

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (8 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857200348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857200341
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 0.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 708,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Who is this guy Jecks?

Michael was a moderate student and early on, being a callow youth, decided on a career as an actuary. This decision was based solely on the fact that he heard it was the highest paid profession. Well, he had a father who was one, and a brother, too, but the money certainly helped.
Not realizing that a standard definition of an actuary is "someone who finds accountancy too exciting", he achieved the relevant grades at A level and wandered off to City University, London. There, he excelled - as bar chairman - but not at actuarial studies. Firmly convinced that his course was incomprehensible (Life & Other Contingencies? Advanced Statistics? Programming in Pascal?) and other parts were designed by knaves, cretins and the criminally insane (Economics), he left the course after failing every exam for two years.

With the glittering example of a second, unqualified, brother who earned very good money, had a bonus scheme, free car, free petrol, expense account and free holiday each year, Michael decided to follow this brother into computer sales.
Joining one company selling "office automation" from the back of Gray's Inn Road (typewriters), he soon progressed to a company selling personal computers. Especially the ACT Sirius. He left and set up a division of PC sales for City of London Computer Services, only to lose his job when a second partner, who didn't believe PCs would take off, returned from a long holiday.
Following that, Michael went to a new start-up to help form Electronic Office Services. When that firm collapsed (with one director disappearing, apparently to the Bahamas with all the company's money), Michael was left without a job.
He saw an advert for an interview with a company called Wordplex, and went to see the company at an open day in a London hotel. After a lengthy interview process, which involved five formal meetings, he was accepted.
Later he heard he had been taken on because he was "the only twenty-one year old I've ever seen turn up to a job interview smoking a pipe, you berk" - (Dick Houghton, Regional Director, Wordplex, 1981).
For the next four years, Michael sold Wordplex systems as one of a hundred salesmen in the UK. He was consistently one of the top salespeople in the country, and as a result was headhunted to join Wang Laboratories in 1985.
Wang was a challenging company. All salespeople who did not achieve their monthly targets at least once in every three months were summarily dismissed. Michael survived until 1990, when Wang collapsed, and Michael took a job with Rank Xerox. This interesting job involved selling equipment that was roughly eight years out of date. There he lasted six months before being asked to join NBI, a Colorado-based firm created by ingesters of certain illegal substances, who (out of respect for the success of IBM, ICL, NCR and ACT) named their business: Nothing But Initials.
The company closed their international operations three months after Michael joined them.
At a loose end once more, Michael looked to a job with a more secure future. Thus it was that he entered the leasing business. At the time no leasing salesman could earn less than £100,000 per annum. Michael joined a new firm called Celsius Computer Services, and in the first three months sold £1.25 million of business. Then Atlantic Leasing crashed and the entire market fell with it. Michael was unemployed without redundancy - again.
Moving to safer shores with software sales, Michael joined IBM's largest software supplier, Bluebird. They went bust a year later (owing him a lot).

Out of Computing, Into Writing
It was a while later, after 13 jobs in 13 years, that Michael finally took the hint. He found himself at the beginning of 1994 once more without a job, and so he sat down to decide on a new course. He had no qualifications, but he knew he loved reading. With that conviction, he began to write, becoming a full-time homeworker while his wife went to work and supported their (exorbitant) mortgage.
Those were interesting times.
In three months, Michael worked seven days a week, fourteen hours a day. In that time he wrote a modern day thriller, a management book on how to get work when made redundant (he had experience of that) and a historical crime novel that was to become The Last Templar.
The thriller was snapped up by Bantam over the phone - and rejected two days later in writing because it was all about the IRA, and they had just agreed their first ceasefire. The second book was rejected by his agent because her husband had recently left her for an IBM Systems Engineer. She wanted nothing to do with books about computers or computer people, and if Michael's book could help them find contentment and employment, she was content to see it burned.

Since 1995 and the launch of The Last Templar, Michael has been a persistent and prolific author. City of Fiends was the 31st story in the series that follows the lives of Sir Baldwin de Furnshill, a renegade Templar, and his friend Bailiff Simon Puttock through the miserable period of famine, war and disease that was the first half of the fourteenth century.
The series is the first to tell the tale of that time.
It charts the incompetent reign of King Edward II, the appalling avarice and criminality of his chief advisers, Sir Hugh le Despenser and (sadly) Bishop Walter II of Exeter; then the war against France and the desertion of Edward by his wife Isabella, and her return with a small army to remove him from the throne.
However it is not merely a crime series. The whole of the Kingdom was changing: after fifty years the language of authority stopped being French and became English; the feudal system was broken; farming was becoming efficient and organised; new towns were springing up - and the king was losing control of law-making and even war-making. It was probably the period in which England changed the most, apart from perhaps the fifty years post World War II.

Over the years, the series has sold well in the UK and America, with translations into Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, and many other countries.
In America it has been taken on by many schools as a means of imparting accurate social history. It has revived interest in Edward II's reign, and has made Michael friends all across the globe.
With the publication of Templar's Acre in 2013, which was a prequel to the series, Michael felt it was time to take a break. As a result, he wrote ACT OF VENGEANCE, a modern day spy thriller, which received the comment from Lee Child who said it was "An instant classic British spy novel - mature, thoughtful, and intelligent ... but also raw enough for our modern times.  Highly recommended."

Michael has made many friends with authors in the medieval period. He founded Medieval Murderers as a performance group, and soon had the idea that the group should write a collaborative novel. This collection of linked novellas was published as Tainted Relic by Simon & Schuster. DEADLIEST SIN is the tenth anniversary edition, published in 2014
As well as the Templar Series and Medieval Murderers, Michael has compiled ebook collections of his short stories. FOR THE LOVE OF OLD BONES and NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM have all the short stories previously published in collections from Maxim Jakubowski, Mike Ashley and the Crime Writers' Association.
Michael is now writing a thrilling trilogy based on the lives of a vintaine (platoon) of archers during the early years of the Hundred Years War. FIELDS OF GLORY, the first, was published in 2014.

Michael has long had an interest in helping new writers, and for two years he organised the Debut Dagger for the Crime Writers' Association, helping five authors win their first publishing contracts as a result.
In 2004 he was elected as Chairman of the CWA, and afterwards he accepted a post as judge on the CWA/Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award, on which he served for three years. More recently he has been working with the International Thriller Writers and in 2011 he helped create the Historical Writer's Association, and remains on the organising committee.
In 2007 Michael was proud to be asked to collaborate with Conway Stewart to produce the Michael Jecks fountain pen. Other honours include being invited as the International Guest of Honour at the Bloody Words gala 2014, to being the Grand Master of the first parade of the 2014 Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Michael is a regular speaker about the Knights Templar, the end of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, about writing and publishing, and about finding work. He is also keen to help those who are now going through the latest recession. He endured enough hardship, and lost all his savings, during the last recession, and understands what it means to risk losing everything.

An enthusiastic photographer and watercolourist, Michael can often be seen walking across Dartmoor where he lives, gaining inspiration into the lives of our ancestors for his stories. When relaxing he can usually be found clad in white in a pub near you before dancing mad stick Morris.

For more on Michael Jecks, check out writerlywitterings.com, look him up at writerlywitterings on YouTube, check his pictures on Flickr.com/photos/Michael_Jecks, like his page on FaceBook, or check for him on Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and all other social media!

Product Description

Review

"Stirring intrigue and a compelling cast of characters will continue to draw accolades from fans of the author's hefty historicals." --"Mystery Lovers Bookshop News" on "The Malice of Unnatural Death"

About the Author

Michael Jecks gave up a career in the computer industry to concentrate on writing and the study of medieval history. A regular speaker at library and literary events, he is a past Chairman of the Crime Writers' Association. He lives with his wife, children and dogs in northern Dartmoor.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bookaholic on 16 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will not bother with a detailed summary, as what some consider to be a review of a book, of this most recently released of Jecks Knights Templar Series (now published by Simon & Schuster, U.K.). You can find that information elsewhere if you so desire. Suffice it to say that I had considered being patient and waiting for "The Oath" to be released outside of the U.K. Having had it delayed already to July from May, 2010, I wondered if I could wait until October or November to obtain the book. I considered cost and currency exchange rate, not to mention air mail charges. I wanted to see if I was made of sterner stuff, but caved in after a few days. Having just finished it, I can say without reservation that it was more than worth the expense! Jecks remains devoted to historical detail while weaving a superb fictional murder mystery within the historical events of October to November in England / Wales of 1326. I will say that I might have done one or two things differently myself in writing this book, but I definitely could not have done better! Some years back, I decided that I needed to get away from a heavy load of academic reading in various disciplines. I read a few authors in the historical mystery genre, but I am thankful to have found Jecks quite by accident. I found myself obtaining his earlier works in short order and have kept up with him to the present. There are but one or two others I bother to read in the genre, e.g. Bernard Knight, but I find these men the most dedicated to what they write and afford me hours of reading enjoyment.

U.K. readers I hope appreciate Michael Jecks as an author. If they do, they should take a few moments to say so to others. There are authors who exist because of good "PR" more than the quality of what they write.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Wick on 10 Aug. 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Oath gives excellent insight into the troublesome year 1326 in England.
I could empathise easily with the various representatives of people from different classes and what they went through. Of course the author used his fantasy in describing feelings of f.i. Edward II, but he used his facts and fantasy to produce a highly realistic and well written narrative. Through the entire series the returning characters become very real and respectable persons. I hope we get a follow up on the lives of Simon and Baldwin.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Dec. 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Readers who love Historical Fiction set in the time of the Black Prince will absolutely love this title by Michael Jecks. Its got something for every fan. You want combat, you got it, you want a serious storyline, you've got that as well. Add to the mix some good solid prose, a great understanding of dialogue and an overall story arc that's going to take the reader on an adventure over the next few titles.

Seriously good fun and one that will take the reader on an adventure that will keep them glued to the last page as you try to figure out exactly what's happening. Great stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ephesian on 25 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the latest title I have read in the Knight's Templar series. It has been a journey of interest and learning and shocking horror of the terrible times people lived in during the Hugh Despenser (Edward II) period. There are a number of chapters bringing in interesting characters before the story picks up with Simon and Baldwin and I can't wait until all these paths cross. I am still reading it, it is better than watching a series on the television as I can't wait to settle down in peace and quiet to continue this horrifying journey in history. Some of the main characters are so unpleasant and brutal it is a joy to come to the quiet waters of the sections dealing with Baldwin and Simon knowing that if possible they will try to take the moral and ethical path.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Louise Jones on 10 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this book because of its title, I knew Sir Baldwiin would have to keep his word whatever it entailed. A most enjoyable read, unfortunately I have not read all of the books by Michael Jacks , but I have thoroughly enjoyed the ones I have read. I would urge anyone who likes 12th century history to read Michael Jacks as I think they will find them compelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Puglia Birdman on 19 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jecks really is the master of this genre with enough fact to put reality to the fiction. He makes history interesting. After reading his books I have to review the period of history he has written about to learn more. If only it was taught like this when I was in school all those years ago. Great stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian W on 8 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second Michael JecKs book I have bought and read. I am very impressed and while I know I am reading the Knights Templar Mysteries in the wrong order I have now bought books 1 & 2 along with 2 other books by Michael Jecks.

Good story - well worth reading
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Liz on 23 Jan. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
found this to be a gripping book - after finishing c j samson I needed something new, and michael jecks has not disappointed. wish there were more than 2 of his books available for kindle!
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