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on 1 April 2017
This is not an easy book to review because it pulls me in two directions: first, it’s a strong story-line, and it would be hard to go wrong with the story of the struggle and ultimate defeat of the Knights Templar in the Holy Land. Lots of strong characters are involved, and there’s enough action to keep any “Boys’ Own Yarn” fan happy. I can’t say that I found the hero Honfroy particularly convincing, or admirable, as he kills and shags his way through pretty much every one he meets, and the transition from the aspirant Templar of the title to some kind of monk to warlord is all a bit fuzzy. I didn’t feel there was any believable development of character - but perhaps that is not surprising since, quite incredibly, our hero is still only 18 by the end of the book. No doubt people grew up faster in such rough times, but even so, it’s a bit far-fetched. Another reviewer compared him with Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe, but that is wrong - Sharpe is much too ubiquitous in every single action of the Napoleonic Wars to be genuine, but he is undoubtedly drawn as a real and convincing person whose steady progress to maturity and senior rank is properly considered. (Actually, Honfroy would be closer in attitude to Cornwell’s Uhtred, in the Saxon Chronicles.) But the narrative of this book does drive along, and it’s certainly a page-turner, so forget your incredulity and enjoy the story.

If, that is, you can put up with the absolutely appalling English (and indeed, random bits of other languages). It is astonishing that an author who has clearly done a lot of historical research and can correctly use really obscure words like “lamellar” cannot, as it seems, write decent, grammatical English. He doesn’t know the difference between “I” and “me”, he doesn’t know the difference between “may” and “might”, he thinks ‘reticent’ means ‘reluctant’ - oh, the list is practically endless. Nor must I allow myself to forget the many appearance’s of greengrocer’s apostrophe’s. I reckon Uhtred of Bebbanburg writes better English than this, and he’s a Saxon.

What is really worrying is that right at the end of the book, in an Afterword, the author comments that readers of the first edition complained about his grammar, so he got a chap at Daisy Bank Editing to proof-read the second edition. All I can say is that the result is by far the most disgraceful exhibition of editorial illiteracy that I have ever come across.

It’s no better in other languages either. Apparently “Deus le volt” is supposed to be French for ‘As God wills’. Deus is Latin, le is French (got that bit right, anyway), and volt is wrong. And what on earth are we to make of the oft-repeated “A vous, douce Debonaire, aim on cuer donne. Ja n’en partire”? This is supposed to mean “I have given my heart to you, my sweet and gentle love. I shall never take it from you.” I suppose it could be (supposed to be) Frankish, which I admittedly don’t speak, but I somehow doubt it. As a love-phrase, “À toi” would surely better than “À vous”; the word “douce” is feminine, and should be ‘doux’ when applied to a masculine noun; perhaps fortunately in this context, therefore, the word “Debonaire” does not exist, but its correct form “débonnaire” is an adjective not a noun. We can reconstruct the next bit as “j’ai mon coeur donné”, and the final sentence as “Je n’en partirai pas”. “Partir en [e.g. avion]” normally means ‘to go away in [an aeroplane]’. There are a couple of words in French that mean ‘to take away from’, such as ‘emmener de’, ‘enlever de’, but I’m blowed if I can find ‘partir’ used like this. I know all this is pernickerty and pedantic, but my view is that if you’re going to use a foreign language in a book you should take the trouble to get it right. Everybody knows somebody who speaks French . . . well, better French than this, anyway!

I don’t speak Arabic, but words like “feranj” look pretty ropey to me, and “Is-salaam alleekum” certainly isn’t how this phrase is usually spelled.

Actually, stop - two minutes of simple research in that hugely reliable source Wikipedia indicates that ‘ferenji or ‘faranji’ is indeed Arabic for foreigner’, and ‘farangi’ or ‘firang’ is “a term for foreigners in Persian, possibly linked to the Franks”, which is very persuasive in this context. Possibly it is a bastard version of ‘foreigner’, perhaps like ‘ferengi’ in Star Trek. So if it's meant to be Arabic why not spell it correctly?

In summary, if you are happy to ignore all the sort of thing that makes me whinge as above, and just want something exciting to read on the beach this summer, go for it. But I for one won’t be buying volumes 2, 3 & 4 in the series. Forgive me, Delilah, I just couldn’t take any more.
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on 12 September 2017
I have not read a templar novel for some time. I really enjoyed this book. I wondered if certain phrases would have been used in that era such as "twat" but they did amuse me.
Story moved along at a good pace and gave good feel for the time of crusades.
I liked the slightly different and irreverent view on the Templars and their monastic behaviours and religious beliefs.
Main character was very young at 18 to be such a leader but if you accept that you will enjoy the story. I suppose you had to grow up quicker then and at 18 you were almost middle aged. Worth a read.
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on 27 July 2016
Blood and Honour is the battle cry and there is certainly a lot of both in this gripping tale. There is also sex, betrayal and politics.
We follow the fortunes of Honfroy - who certainly ends with far more fortune than might have been expected from the low level of his status at the beginning of the book.

I have no idea how accurate the history is, but for me this was an exciting read
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on 2 April 2015
Books are a very personal preference, but if you like historic fiction similar to Bernard Cornwell books, then you will LOVE THIS !!

The book revolves around a young Templar and is full of intrigue, battle scenes, politics, and sex. I found it impossible to put down, always wanting to read one more chapter.

Cannot understand some of the few negative reviews of this book, as the characters and action just explodes off the page !!
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on 29 April 2015
I found this book to be most enjoyable and interesting you names and facts about places, you can almost feel yourself there watching it all unfold before your eyes, I would recommend anyone who likes to read about the temples and Knights to read this book, I am just about to start to read the second book and I hope it's just as good perhaps better.
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on 30 November 2013
The method of 'an old man telling his story' can sometimes be confusing as it moves between present and past but the author handles this very well. Good characters, great battle scenes and a plot that kept me reading. My only disappointment was that it was a standalone rather than a trilogy. Disappointing for me but a credit to the author, I'll be looking for more of his work.
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on 9 October 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed The Templars Apprentice and look forward to part 2. I liked the lightheaded attitude of the apprentice,giving me quite a few smiles.
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on 19 May 2015
I couldn't put this book down. The plot is gripping, the characters well developed and the author's sense of humour subtle but hilarious. I have just started the sequel and, so far, it hasn't disappointed! Keep up the good work Peter Tolladay!
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on 19 March 2015
I found this book gripping with plenty of toing and froing to keep the interest going. This is a complete book which is not the norm for this type of novel. I am not knocking the chronicles but it is a nice change to have a start and end in one book.
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on 27 February 2018
Interesting book, rambles a bit and at times feels a little disjointed.
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