Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bad Book Reviews: 'The Last Templar'

The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury is the worst book I've read in the last five years. It is so bad that after a certain point it became a matter of honour to see it through to the end, just so I could say I'd done it.

(Image from wikipedia)

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!

16 comments:

  1. Good review, we've all come across books like that where you're using the pages to paper cut your wrists!

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    1. Hahaha, all fun and games, isn't it?

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  2. I admire your conviction. I got about 50 pages in and bagged out.

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    1. That's what I'd usually do too, Dartfrog!

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  3. I read it a few years ago. I don;t think it was the worst book I have read in five years. There are two books I could not finish in the last 5 years and I finished The Last Templar, so I think it is only the third worst I read :-) Reading it, I was amazed it was popular - it is just poor all round, in my (and your!) opinion.

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    1. I didn't count the books I gave up on :o)

      Yes, strange that it was so popular. I guess some people must have enjoyed it!

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    2. Curious minds wonder wether the popularity has roots of more insidious character. Surely your review would suggest so.

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    3. Ah ha - a Templar plot to ensure the book's popularity perhaps? Sounds extremely nefarious ;-)

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  4. He was a Dark and Stormy Knight. Reads like an entrant in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Thanks for the review Aaron. That is one book I will avoid.

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  5. I had to dig around in my cabinet draw to find my crucifix. My next visit to the book store will not be without said instrument to help ward off the calling of this evil book to buy it;)

    Cheers
    Kevin

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    1. Better take along some garlic too ;-)

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  6. Hmm. I have read your review through several times and can't find your excuse as to why you picked the book up in the first place.

    Speaking of things I might have missed, have you got round to playing Quartermaster General yet?

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    1. To tell the truth it came in a Kindle 'care package' a friend sent me. I started reading it to pass the time while nursing a couple of sick kids, and they stayed sick just long enough for me to finish the blasted thing.

      Quartermaster General - sad to say we haven't had the right number of people turn up as yet. It will happen though!

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  7. I picked it up, read the blurb and put it down again. I was spoiled for all templar conspiracy type books by Umberto Eco's, "Foucault's Pendulum." I enjoyed your review, thanks.

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    1. Yes, "Foucault's Pendulum" is an essential read!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Cheers,
      Aaron

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