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Fiercely independent, stunningly beautiful female archaeologist? Check. Brave, principled law-enforcement type who needs to learn to love again? Check. Villains who work (or used to work) for various respected institutions and will do anything to find / hide a world-changing occult secret? Check. Scenes in which the aforementioned must [briefly] put aside their differences to work together? Check. A plot line that combines The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail-esque imagi-history with soap opera sexual tension and hoping-for-Hollywood cliffhanger scenes? Check.
The book is a triumph of box ticking.
On top of this there is a subplot featuring our last Templar of the title: a 13th Century knight who has escaped the fall of Acre and been entrusted to safeguard the SECRET OF THE TEMPLARS.
Whatever could the secret be?
While Micheal of Carmaux's story (for that is his name) undoubtedly serves authorial purpose on word count alone, it also allows the author to provide background information and construct parallels between the ancient and modern action that attempt to disguise the plot's reliance on coincidence. His adventures also provide opportunities for TV-rights sword fights and allow the author to signpost the deeper conclusions which readers should be coming to for a second time, just to be sure.
The writing itself is thick, and not only with hidden meaning. Here is an example:
The next few days drifted by in a daze. Tess would spend time with Reilly in the morning before going out for long walks, returning by lunchtime. Late in the afternoon, she would venture out again, usually up to the castle ruins from where she would watch the sun melt into the shimmering Aegean waters. She loved that part of her day the most. Sitting there in quiet reflection with the scent of sage and chamomile wafting down from the hillside, she found the idyllic setting among rocks somewhat reassuring, a bit of respite from the small bundle in her room that was preying on her mind at all times.If you didn't desire respite from any small bundle that was preying on your mind before, you certainly do after fifty pages of this!
Still, on the positive side, if you are looking for a book that sits proudly within the great tradition of crap books featuring Templars, you can't go wrong with this one.
Or if you are not looking, you could always read it as a penance!