Overall a good book, but could have been better.
It starts well and sets up the basic premise, while describing the period very satisfactorily. He introduces some some interesting characters and everything is ready to go when…
The central section comes in. And goes on way too long and in way too much detail about a not quite romance, and some sordid sexual shenanigans involving knights and bishops and actress…I mean princesses. It really is unnecessary. The story doesn’t need it, and the problems that are set up because of it, are wiped away before the epilogue. I skimmed through the middle, waiting for him to get back on the beam. Here, he took hundreds of pages going through all sorts of ifs and buts and maybes – in the hands of someone like Jane Austin, a half dozen pages, tops.
I’m thinking now, after I’ve finished it, maybe it was because he’d decided where the book should start, and being part of a series, where this one should end and there really wasn’t enough in the basic story to fill out the book to any great length.
But there could have been enough in the basic story. The Biblical contradictions are covered well, the hi-jacking of Christianity by Saul/Paul and the relations the Templars themselves have with Christianity are fully outlined. However, when he touches on some interesting historical nuggets, which really could have been developed further; their clothes, their hygiene habits, their relations with the Arab population for example, he comes up short – for me.
Despite everything, I was actually gripped by it. It fits what I know of the beginnings of the Templars, and also takes my knowledge further. The (possible) blackmailing of The Church with what they’ve found should be interesting. I’ll certainly be looking out for the second one.