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on 1 November 2017
I bought this having read the very interesting Dan Jones non fiction book about the Templars and wanted a clever fiction book about them.
The writing in this book is pretty cringe and not engaging. Very cliche prose and characters. Plot seems ok so far but the historical analysis is pretty basic. The so called 'experts' that lead the investigation in the novel are quite slow....
Additionally, to be frank, I really don't feel any affinity towards any of the characters, they just seem like people out of a direct to video SyFy movie.

EDIT: I wrote the original review before finishing it. The ending is terrible and I wanted to throw it across the room but annoyingly my girlfriend wanted to read the blurb.
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VINE VOICEon 12 April 2007
With an incredible start with a raid on a museum with knights on horseback and decapitations, secret encoders and a villain you can actually relate to,gorey murders and a plot that Da Vinci Code could do well to consider. I loved every page right up until the everso slightly weak ending, not to say it is terrible as some people would have you believe but I think it was quite an easy get out from an intriguing and exceptionally thought provoking book. One of the best of the year so far and will definitely be grabbing his next novel when it hits the shelf.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 1 August 2005
The Last Templar is the latest book, since the Da Vinci code, to use as its hook the Order of the Knights Templar and the secrets about the life of Christ they may or may not have discovered back during the Crusades.
As such it is highly derivative and lacks real orginality. Yes, the secret that is eventually revealed may differ from the other books riding on Dan Brown's coat tails, but the expected elements are all present and correct. There is the academic who uncovers the central plot and is placed in danger as a result. There are the duplicitous elements within the Vatican who will go to any length to keep the secret. There is the globe-trotting and the discovery of hidden artefacts and there is the obligatory quantity of dicing with death and miraculous escape. Oh, and a romantic sub-plot is thrown if for good measure.
In other words The Last Templar offers nothing new. Accepting that the question remains however, is it any good? The answer is, yes. As far as this sort of genre novel goes its not a bad effort. Its fast paced, the plot is sound, with no gaping holes, and the characters are just about rounded enough to make the reader believe in and where appropriate care about them. The suspension of disbelief is required in places, especially the opening scene where knights charge out of Central Park and into a New York museum, but isn't hard to achieve with the way the book is written. The whole thing is also short and tight, with no flab to distract or bore the reader.
Overall then The Last Templar is a perfectly servicable disposable read. It will not win any awards for originality or style, but in a market flooded with Da Vinci code-style adventures it is does have the distinction of being both readable and entertaining.
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on 24 September 2005
I couldn't put it down, I just had to know what happened next. Having read lots of mystery fiction & non fiction books on the Templars, I (usually) tend to guess the plot, I didn't this time. The book has a very interesting plot, the same cannot be said about the caracthers. Nevertheless, I would definitely recommend it!
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(Pope Leo X, 19th century)

Since the Da Vinci Code was first printed six years ago, publishers have been in search of their own "Holy Grail" of books i.e. a similarly successful religious conspiracy thriller. I've tried a few (The Righteous Men, Rule of Four - don't bother) but nothing has come close until now IMO. This book is an obvious DVC copy/contemporary/competitor but once you have got past this fact it is not a bad read at all and in many ways it's an improvement but you will find yourself treading over quite a lot of familiar ground.

It begins quite dramatically with four horsemen riding into New York's Metropolitan museum and relieving the exhibition of many artefacts (on loan from the Vatican) from under the noses of the assembled academics and security. A police officer loses his head after some swanky swordplay in the melee. Archaeologist Tess Chaykin notes one of the raiders pays particular attention to one of the exhibits, a kind of codex machine and becomes intrigued by his actions.

As we all know from watching Raiders of the Lost Ark etc, today's archaeologists are a fearsome breed and with curiosity getting the better of her she goes in hot pursuit of the item, leaving Christian FBI agent Sean Reilly trailing in her wake. Meanwhile, the four horsemen find themselves permanently silenced one by one in grisly deaths around NY and the plot develops thick and fast. Vatican aide de Angelis is brought in to assist the case but proves to be not so helpful. Bill Vance, family friend and Templar expert, has his own agenda and leads them to Turkey where the treasure hunting really hots up.

During the book, we are told the story of the legendary Knights Templar and their achievements and ambitions (and the importance of the machine becomes clear). Their once noble actions became less so and the whole basis of the Christian faith is bought into question. Devout Christians may be offended by this book but bear in mind it is a work of fiction and a neat twist in the tale at the very end will not disappoint.

Khoury tells a good story (with more than a nod to a screenplay, no doubt) and it is an excellent debut. This book will no doubt suffer from DVC comparisons but if you're a fan of the genre you may well enjoy this as much as Mr Brown's offerings.
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on 13 August 2006
Another author I have not read before. I know that the author is a screenwriter, whose current credits include the BBC spy thriller, Spooks. I am not sure if this is his first novel, but anyway thank goodness for new authors, particularly when they can write books as good as this one.

The year is 1291, a lonely ship sets sail from the harbour of Acre. On board is a small party of Templar Knights and a bound chest that has been entrusted to them by the Order's Grand Master. They are leaving a city in flames, and under the onslaught of the Sultan's men. The ship vanishes from the face of the earth . . .

The time moves swiftly forward to present day America. At the Metropolitan Museum in New York, four mounted men dressed in the old fashioned garb of Knights Templars make a savage attack at an exhibition of Vatican treasures and escape with a medieval decoder.

This is the beginning of the story that will take an FBI agent and a female archaeologist half way round the world in an attempt to solve a centuries old mystery, while at the same time trying to stay alive . . .

If you like this type of book and there are a few about, not to mention the Da Vinci Code. This is one of the better ones. An entertaining and enjoyable read.
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on 20 September 2007
This book is another in a series of novels which use a conspiring church as the backdrop for their plot. In a sense, another attmept at da Vinci Code, perhaps inspired by the Code's phenomenal success. The author also uses more or less the same formula: a ghastly event at a museum, an attractive female archaeologist, a straight male companion (this time an FBI detective), a wicked priest(?), and a deadly church secret in the background.

Some of the touches that the author uses are an improvment on Dan Brown. For instance, there is a philosophical duel between faith and ratinality that the FBI detective fights within himself. Similarly, the initial scene about the museum robbery is quite vivid and spectacular and you can easily visualise the drama that goes on. Instead of being a sample of what is to come, the author gets a little lost thereafter, stretching coincidences across two continents, so that they all start looking extremely contrived. Possibly the museum scene comes out so well because Khoury is primarily a screen-writer.

In terms of characterisation, the FBI detective comes out very well. Similarly, the older archaelogist comes through with some conviction. The lady archaelogist is done in a weaker manner. However, the weakest work is the priest (?). His motivation, the background to his skills, is never filled in. Therefore, it is more difficult to understand his character. In fact, it may not be easy to figure out whether he was really a priest or a secret agent.

Talking of secrets, the Templar secret, over which they are supposed to have blackmailed the Church, itself comes out as a bit of a disappointment. The ending is interesting, in the sense that it is not anti-faith, but is somewhat disappointing, because the build-up is weak.

The weakest part of the book is the plot, which is full of unbeliveable coincidences. In Angels and Demons, Dan Brown does some manipulation of laws of probability to accomodate the development of his plot. In this book, Raymond Khoury simply assumes that no such laws exist. He also ignores how the US Government works (brining a priest into FBI meetings, and allowing him to dominate the meetings), and how the Vatican works (the link between CIA, the priest and the Vatican is never cleared up).

The result is a book which you can enjoy if you treat it as children's fiction.
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on 9 November 2005
In Raymond Khoury's 'The Last Templar' we begin with an exciting armed robbery of a Vatican exhibition at the Met in New York, by four horseman dressed as knights. An unusual start, but sets the tone for an entertaining book.
In the story we follow historian Tess Chayki and FBI agent Reilly as they are on a quest to find the thieves. But they become involved in something that is much more important than a mere robbery, but something that will shake the Vatican's foundations.
The story is a novel one, but nothing too surprising with conspiracy stories that are around these days. I did enjoy the mixture of the crime story set with a historical backdrop. And the flashbacks to olden times with the Knights Templar themselves in action was enjoyable. The story does lose pace a little towards the end and becomes more of a love story than an adventure chase.
But I enjoyed this, and would recommend it as a fun read.
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on 21 February 2006
This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read!
The Last Templar is definatly one of those books that WILL keep you turning the pages.
Raymond Khoury has created a story using many "facts" and mixed with "Fiction" He has created the ultimate mind blowing book!
When you start reading, you will find it virtually impossible to put down!
You will follow the charecters on this fantastic quest and be glued with every nail biting moment which happens.
Imagine someone saying "I have the most amazing news... but tell you later" THAT is how it feels after you read each page, you simply HAVE to go on!
It will make you look at things in a whole new way.
Cover to cover without wanting to put the book down!
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on 11 April 2006
I have an interest in the history of the Knights Templar and enjoyed the DaVinci Code, so the speil about this book enticed me to buy it. A good read, especially the historical chapters, but the relationship between the two lead characters was unbelievable and much too soppy (why the need for a love interest - just get on with the story). The Hollywood ending came as no surprise. The female lead who (take note) is also a scholar, historian and archaeologist deciding what to do with her find, and why, was very weak, (the 'why' was a fingers down the throat moment). Disappointing - could have been heaps better.
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