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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 30 April 2017
A good entertaining read
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on 15 May 2017
Brilliant from start to finish !!!
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on 26 April 2017
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on 26 April 2017
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on 27 October 2013
I enjoyed the book but did find it very predictable. However, I will look out for more of his writing.
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on 26 March 2015
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on 14 June 2013
Having finished this ebook only moments ago, I thought I would take a little time and offer my first ever book review.

I am confident in having read a very high percentage of books relating to Templar, Crusades and Salah ah-Din etc. both as fact and fiction and feel that I can write with some authority albeit that of an amateur historian, though I'm sure a smart-ass or two will delight in pointing-out any error I make. I am the first to admit that I am not as elegant nor word proficient as other reviewers, for this I apologise.

Having followed a number of publishers on Twitter, I frequently found this title and author in my feed and thought I'd give this book a go. I must add that I am ashamed to write the author was then unknown to me.

When you start reading The Templar's Apprentice, it quickly becomes evident that we have an author who has grasped the knack in presenting a great story with a strong narrative. We start at a slow pace, the setting cleverly isolating the leading and supporting characters to set us on our path without barraging us with an assortment of names.

Our apprentice, setting and supporting characters continue to develop at a healthy rate, focusing on each in a manner that gives familiarity but not so much that it hampers our read. Reading from the eyes, thoughts and memories of the protagonist, we set out on a delightful journey; that is historically strong for a book of this genre.

It is plain from the start that the author has researched here, frequently presenting us with contemporary terms and names, however unlike some, does not go to great lengths to explain these. To continually explain what's and where's not only detracts from a story, I find it quite insulting. Peter Tolladay expertly continues with the story, assuming you are familiar with these words, or happy to turn for a moment to that omnipresent all knowing tool we call google.

Though-out our journey, we encounter Templars, including the Grand Master himself. Unusually for a book of this type, we do not dwell on ceremony or mysteries that many other have. For me this demonstrates an understanding of the period and the Order. Too often authors confuse Templar with Mason. Here we are made aware of Templar observations and obedience, with the author tactfully skirting ceremonies.

The story continues to gain speed, giving us plenty of pitched battles that include a little gore but certainly not disturbing in detail. The fight scenes in this book are expertly balanced and carry us smartly to a battle, where finally the armies of the Christian West, sweltering under the heat of the sun, charge headlong into the vast army of Islam and the great Salah ah-Din. A battle that has been retold in numerous books and movies but crafted expertly here. As the battle ensues we are not weighed down with bloody detail that you may find elsewher which I believe makes this book suitable reading for younger readers and giving an exceedingly good introduction to the period and dare I say honour.

spoiler alert: there are a few rude bits, just close your eyes, count to 10 and move on.

I'm teasing.

This book is about the development of the central character, supported by strong cast. It is only natural to include a chapter or two on the bonding of two people. We are given detail that isn't too graphic.

I did notice a couple of typos, which I would expect to see corrected in the next revision. These however were few (I've seen far worse) and didn't detract in any way from the story.

We have here an outstanding book. If you like this subject, you'd be a fool not to read this.

This is a Kindle exclusive, at £1.91 it is one heck of a bargain. Terry Tibbs would tell you it's `the sale of the century' and though I wouldn't go as far to agree, it must surely come a very close second. If you don't own a Kindle, I have to say you're missing out.

I've given this 4 stars. The book is exceptionally good, but anything can be bettered. So it is with a little regret that I will hold onto the final star for the foreseeable future.

Conn Iggulden watch out, we have here a challenger for your crown.

Oh, I'm going a little off piste here but can we please pressure the British government to drop the VAT on ebooks. Thank you, and thank you for reading. Now go download the book :)
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on 18 April 2013
I KEPT GOING BUT THE STORY, FOR ME, lacked a variety of settings and characters.I have said all I wish to and moving on
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on 2 November 2014
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