Tuesday, October 9

Raymond Khoury: The Last Templar

An exhibition of Vatican treasures is stormed by four horsemen dressed as Knights Templar; amongst the stolen artefacts is an ancient decoder. An archaeologist witness recognises one of the thieves and teams up with an FBI agent in order to retrieve the treasure. Over the following days all but one of the thieves turn up dead, raising the question did the fourth thief kill them all or is he next on a hit list?
A massive manhunt ensues as archaeologists, FBI agents, Vatican officials, the surviving thief and killer trek across three continents in search of the truth of a centuries-old mystery brought to life again by the theft.
Interlaced between chapters of the modern story is the tale of the small band of knights originally entrusted with the protection of the decoder and a set of secret documents for which they are prepared to die.
I wanted to like this story but I just couldn’t.
Obviously hitching a ride on the coat tails of The Da Vinci Code, it didn’t even live up to the dubious literary merit of that populist work. Even the incredibly short chapters (with a few notable exceptions almost every scene gets a chapter of its own) couldn’t entice me to keep turning the pages. If I hadn’t been on holiday and stuck without any other reading material I would have tossed this one aside very early on. As it was I plugged on until the bitter end reading with the same fascination one has for a train wreck. Every time I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.
So what did I hate the most? It’s hard to overlook the two dimensional cut outs that were passing for characters, or to forget the incompetent and unbelievable romance subplot, but I think the ultimate turn off was the info dumps. Oh yes, he did his research on everything from horse branding to the colour of the Turkish coast guard boats and we were going to hear about it. Sure, sometimes some of the information was relevant but just dropping it in without relating it to the plot had my eyes glazing over. And I’m sorry but putting an info dump in quotation marks and finishing it off with "he said" doesn’t acceptably blend it into the story line. Not that this author often even went to that much trouble.
Good writing can carry even the thinnest plot. Poor writing can destroy a fantastic premise. I think you know where I place this one. Not recommended. Not recommended at all.-Lynn

No comments: