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The Templar's Secret (Caedmon Aisquith) Paperback – 22 Nov 2012
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Heart-stopping suspense, ancient mysteries and rollercoaster action ... a book that will have you cheering as you read (James Rollins)
The story crackles with tension and imagination from the first to the last page . . . intrigue, treachery, history and a wealth of secrets. Super (Steve Berry)
From the Back Cover
A long lost gospel - the Evangelium Gaspar - holds the truth about Jesus of Nazareth and whoever possesses it will wield unlimited power . . .
The death of the pope triggers a plot to seize the papacy. A shadowy conspirator and members of Santa Muerte, a satanic brotherhood, seek a lost gospel which holds a devastating truth about the Christain faith, which they will use to blackmail the Vatican.
But first they have to secure it . . .
Cædmon Aisquith, Templar expert and former MI5 operative, receives an ominous ransom demand: find the Evangelium Gaspar or your kidnapped daughter will be killed. Racing against time, he must solve a series of clues involving esoteric symbols and artfully encoded riddles. All the while staying one step ahead of the bloodthirsty Santa Muerte.
From India to Spain, and finally to a Merovingian church in the heart of Paris, Cædmon hunts the most explosive secret of all - a two-thousand-year-old cover-up that will forever change the course of history.
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I can't say I liked them much at all this time round. Caedmon has become an over-the-top. overeducated "English gentleman" charicature. He spent the whole book either physically or emotionally wringing his hands over a daughter he has never met, nor knew existed until about page five in the story. If he ever had an skills as an MI5 agent - he's pretty much forgotten them in this book as he goes about with tears threatening his eyes or wincing over his sore ribs after getting beat up every few pages.
Edie is almost still Edie - but even though she is supposed to be Caedmon's partner, the importance of their quirky, unlikely relationship, which was so endearing in the first books, has been pushed aside in favour of the "relationship" between Caedmon and his daughter (the soap opera daughter who no one knew existed until she's suddenly added to the cast). Another reviewer said that she felt something was missing from this book - in my opinion - this is it. Caedmon and Edie - their relationship, their "can't keep their hands of each other" sex, the sense that they are a team. Edie isnt the partner in this book - she follows Caedmon around while he wrings his hands and tries not to cry.
The story itself was a slog to get through (I am baffled by comments like "fast paced" and "exciting" in other reviews). The Latino thugs had an almost superhuman knack of turning up in the right place at the right time (even the back seat of a rental car from out of nowhere). They were able to get plane tickets at the drop of a hat - and even with a ruptured kidney and sliced off hand one of them STILL has the tenacity to go for his gun! Another thug turns up while Caedmon is desperately searching the grass for a gun he has only just dropped - and said thug is not only holding this gun - but the other shotgun also just recently in Caedmon's (well his daughters') possession. I suspect magical abilities myself. The central "bad guy" was essentially a mad monk - ie yet another lunatic believing god has a special purpose for him.
Caedmon's daughter didnt inherit much of his intelligence either if, after escaping, she flags down the very first car she sees on a lonely stretch of road not very far from where she escaped!
The prose was unnecessarily complicated. It felt as if the whole thing was written in Caedmon's rather pompous vernacular and often read more like a Non Fiction book. You know it's ok to say "way out" occasionally Ms Palov - you don't need to say "point of egress" all the time. Another thing which annoyed me was the number of times Caedmon (or someone else) grabbed or grasped someone's "upper arm". A nice grab on the elbow or wrist would have been nice to break the monotony. References to this classical piece of music or that contemporary artists style only distanced the characters from the reader (well this reader) and slowed the pace of the story. I felt closer to Edie when she was munching chocolate biscuits out of a packet than when Caedmon is spouting French or lecturing a gun toting cardinal in Greek using a blackboard. Indiana Jones was a professor of arachaelogy but he was also cool!
Perhaps it's the central plot - ie The Truth About Jesus - which just didnt appeal to me. It's been done and redone and frankly since The Da Vinci Code - really doesn't need to be done again. Add to that the mad priest who wants to cleanse the Catholic Church and I have to say that Angels and Demons pretty much covered that too.
Towards the end I found myself skipping or skimming over paragraphs, tired of long lectures about religion or unlikely but convenient plot developments. In the end there is no greater indicator of a books enjoyment value than this.
From take off till I finished it a few days later I was hooked. It is fast paced thriller, with nice twist and turns. Very entertaining.
As with all this kind of books I do not understand why one takes the religious dimensions serious. It is a novel, a thriller, not a religious book.
So just enjoy the story. I have already ordered my second book by C.M. Palov.
A definite read for lovers of Dan Brown and Chris Kuzneski.
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