The missing keystone,
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This review is from: The Templars and the Grail: Knights of the Quest (Paperback)
For someone who presumably needs to retain the professional respect of her scholarly peers, Dr. Ralls has certainly taken some risks in writing The Templars and the Grail. She sticks her neck out especially in airing a number of conspiracy theories concerning the nature, the origin and the fate of the so-called Templar treasure.
For my money, Karen Ralls book does not make enough distinction between the wealth the Templars are known to have accumulated, a treasure in itself, and ancient biblical artefacts they are assumed to have discovered beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Reading between the lines, however, it is usually possible to infer from the context which is intended in different parts of The Templars and the Grail.
Anyone coming to this book with some previous reading about either the Templars or the Grail Quest literature will find that it starts rather slowly. On the other hand, a reader with a fresh eye should find that (s)he is caught up in the plot quite quickly, and probably fairly evenly throughout. That is, with all parts except the final Chapter on Rosslyn Chapel. As a description of a piece of isolated history (or historical speculation) this Chapter is interesting enough. But it falls down in having too little obvious connection with the book's declared aim - to link Templar history and mythos with the (holy) Grail.
Dr. Ralls occasionally makes the point that more research is needed in certain areas of knowledge. One sometimes gets the impression that she is already `on the case'; so, maybe we can look forward to a second edition, or a sequel, in which the awkward gaps are filled with convincing answers.
The area where The Templars and the Grail scores most highly is in the way it turns the spotlight onto the French city of Troyes. It is this one flash of perceptive brilliance that I believe justifies a 5-Star rating, rather than 4- or even 3-Stars. All of the more compelling links between Templar history and the Grail Quest literature, and there are many of them, somehow point to Troyes. The only thing that is still lacking is the keystone manuscript or artefact that can lock them all together. Knowing where to look is an important step towards finding an answer. And, when the answer is finally recognized, Dr. Ralls' book will be seen as one of the few clear signposts in these investigations.
To see the missing keystone:
In the Beginning: Building the Temple of Zion