I tend to buy books in bulk so I usually have an unread paperback or two hanging around. Recently I finished the latest book in the game of thrones series and was stuck as to what to read next. So I went through my unread paperbacks and settled on the Last Templar by Raymond Khoury.
Now, the last thing I want to do is insult someone else’s work so I don’t often do negative reviews but I also want to be honest. I didn’t really like this book and I’ll try to be fair as I explain why:
The premise sounds good. Four horsemen dressed as knights Templar ride up to New York’s metropolitan museum during the opening of a Vatican treasures exhibition and launch a raid, one of the stolen items is a medieval decoder. FBI agent Sean Reilly and archaeologist Tess Chaykin set out to discover who is behind the elaborate attack and what they want with the decoder.
Sounds good right? But the book completely fails to live up to the promising blurb. Looking back on the book now I’ve finished it I’m asking myself why I didn’t enjoy it. The storyline itself isn’t bad but the writing style meant I was willing myself to finish reading it so that I could write this review and never have to look at it again. I found it really uninspiring and boring.
What went wrong?
The main problem, I think, is the characters. They are two dimensional and dull. The female lead does something stupid and dangerous, tells herself off for being stupid and then goes and does something even more stupid. At the beginning of the book we are told she doesn’t know the effect she has on men, a few chapters later she’s commenting on how good she looks! The most irritating thing about Reilly? No matter how stupid Tess is he forgives her because he fancies her.
The writer has decided that Reilly and Tess’s pasts are affecting the choices they make now. OK pretty standard, however it isn’t dropped in here and there, subtly and woven in with skill, it’s just the opposite; there are times when you feel like he’s saying ‘Right, lets all take a break from the story while you read this character bio I prepared earlier detailing the characters entire back story. Have you finished? OK then lets carry on where we left off.’
Also there are times when I found myself wondering if I’d picked up a novel or a gun magazine (pun not intended). The only thing he did describe well and in detail were the guns, every last one of them, repeatedly.
There is a scene, I wont mention which, that if cut out or edited could have made a later scene more surprising. Instead in conjunction with other later scenes it resulted in the obviousness of what was coming being laid on with a trowel. In fact the only person it wasn’t obvious to was Tess. Unsurprising really; did I mention she was stupid?
Well as I said the concept isn’t a bad one and the big secret is a bit different to the usual religious conspiracy novels. I think the book did improve a little towards the end.
I realise this review has come across quite harsh but there really were some interesting ideas in this book and of course the things that didn’t work for me might not be an issue for others; it’s all subjective.