Sifting myth from history, Piers Paul Read reveals the Templars ¿ the multinational force of warrior monks, in their white tunics with red crosses over chainmail. They were not only unique among Christian institutions but constituted the first uniformed standing army in the western world and became pioneers of international banking. Expropriated by Philip IV of France in 1307, and confessing under torture to blasphemy, heresy and sodomy, the Order was finally suppressed by Pope Clement V in 1312. In a narrative that incorporates the story of the crusades and the many colourful characters who had links with the Templars, Piers Paul Read examines the question of their guilt and identifies their relevance to our own times.
'A highly readable and nicely paced book that draws on the lessons of modern historical scholarship while also communicating a sense of narrative excitement and drive'
'Evocative, measured and engaging' Evening Standard
'Magnificent in every way' Mail on Sunday