Shortly after the first Crusades in the 11th century the Christian wrested control of Israel/ Palestine from Muslim control and set up a Christian Kingdom. The Muslims were not too happy with this and many continued to maraud Christian pilgrims on the road. Hugh De Payan. The order originally consisted of 9 knights who took vows of discipline and poverty. Each new Knight had to provide his own weapons and horse. After a time they were officially sanctioned by the pope. They were housed in Solomon's Stables. It is widely assumed that they did excavations under these stable and brought back many artifacts. In time the Templars became a very powerful order and very wealthy. in 1307 Philip the Fair of France engaged in a slander campaign and destroyed the order. Jaques D Molay was their last leader. Philip wanted to plunder Templar wealth but was unable to. Many things were hidden. Including the Great Devise of the Templars.
The main character of the book is Cotton Malone a former US agent and navy soldier who now has a book store in Copenhagen. His friend Stephanie is visiting from the US armed with a journal from her late husband Lars Nelle. Lars was after the Great Devise of the Templars but never really found it. He ended up committing suicide.
Some at the outset tries to steal the journal from Stephanie but Cotton sees them in the act. He confronts then on a tower after which they hurl down to their death. Stephanie recovers the journal and whisks off. Later Cotton follows her to an auction where Stephanie tries to purchase a book on Templar History. She is outbid. Later on Malone will save her from a monastery.
The Templars are alive and well. They have an outpost in the Pyrenees mountains. They are going through turmoil as the old Master dies and a new master who is ruthless takes over. Roquefort pursues the protagonist relentlessly to retrieve the Devise. He dreams of reestablishing Templar greatness.
Mark the Senechal also goes in search of the Devise and is some one who is half muslim and half Christian. What is so imporatant about the Great Devise. Suffice to say it has an important revelation about Jesus.
This is a good book. The dialogue is much improved from some of his earlier works but could still use some improvement. The book is loaded with History that any Templar buff would enjoy. Steve Berry does have interesting and good story lines.
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