From the Inside Flap
The Knights Templar were self-styled defenders of the Christian faith whose meteoric rise to power in the 12th century became legendary. There were formed to protect pilgrims making the dangerous journey to the Holy Land, but became a powerful force in the Crusades and beyond, admired for their feats of bravery, their chivalry, and their wealth. But with this influence came persecution, as powerful leaders sought to discover the secrets of this proud order - with an obsession that led to betrayal, torture, cruelty, and the Templars' sudden and ignominious downfall. Shrouded for centuries in mystery, the secrets of the Knights Templar are at last revealed in this enthralling journey through the Order's history. S.J. Hodge examines how they rose to become advisers to kings and popes, commanding a pioneering network of banking and building that spanned Europe and left them wealthy beyond imagination. The allegations of licentiousness, idolatry and political intrigue that led to the Order's downfall are rigorously examined, as well as the truth behind the most enduring myths surrounding the knights: their connection to the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail, the curse of Jacques de Molay and the final resting place of the Templars' immense wealth. S.J. Hodge's accessible narrative explores the reach of the Templars' deepest riddles today - their links to secretive orders, powerful organisations, church cover-ups and why we continue to be fascinated by them in the modern day. Sumptuously illustrated and eminently readable, this is the thrilling history of one of the world's most mysterious societies.
From the Back Cover
'A new knighthood has appeared in the land of the incarnation, a knighthood which fights a double battle, against adversaries of flesh and blood and against the spirit of evil.' Bernard of Clairvaux, c.1129. For over two centuries the Knights Templar were the elite fighting force of the Crusades - but it is the legends and secrecy surrounding the order that continue to fascinate historians and general readers alike. From the true location of the Holy Grail to the curse of Jacques de Molay, and from the Templars' mysterious downfall to their modern-day links, S.J. Hodge uncovers the Knights' secret practices, rituals and codes, and their continued influence today.