I really, really wanted to like this book. I love reading about the history of the Catholic church, and all things Knights Templar. This was obviously riding the coattails of The DaVinci Code- which is one of my favorites. Khoury saw how popular Brown's works were becoming and went, "Hold the phone, I can write something exactly like that, but worse." The book reads like a screenplay to an action movie, which is undoubtedly what he had in mind when writing it. The novel starts out with a museum heist, a few murders, and then archaeologist Tess and FBI agent Riley are swept up in the history of the Knights Templar and searching for their lost treasure. It tries to hit every Brown beat- the fish out of water who needs a history lesson, a complex code that can only be cracked if you have the right key, the Vatican's diabolical involvement, hand to hand combat, literal cliffhangers, and the plot twist at the end. As much as I enjoyed the exposition and history lessons (the only saving grace here, really) they weren't enough to replace the repetitive phrases (frowned inwardly was used at least a dozen times) the two-dimensional characters and the all-too-obvious 'please make me into a movie, this will be awesome to see on the screen' action sequences. (You know what I'm talking about.)
I'd like to go into the ending here, so, SPOILER ALERT.
Tess was anti-church and anti-religion the entire book. She had been an archaeologist for years, wanting to find and preserve items for the betterment of the world and for a decent grasp of history. After finding the Templar treasure, she attempts to destroy it, not once, but TWICE. What kind of archaeologist would do such a thing? Vance is painted as crazy, driven to the edge by the loss of his wife and daughter, and yet he acted more rationally and more believably than Tess did the entire book. Tess is focused on revealing to the world the Templar treasure (which is revealed to be the testement of Jesus Christ, proving that he was human, not a supernatural figure) at the beginning, and only at the end changes her mind because she was treated kindly by two people. REALLY? The entire novel, she is complaining how much death and suffering christianity has placed upon the world since its inception, and how she wants to change that, and then she does a 180 in the last 30 pages. She wants to destroy it, or hide it, because she doesn't want to upset people's delusions. Sweetheart, first of all, you are being ridiculously selfish. How can you keep the biggest discovery of the last 2000 years to yourself? You can't even have the book tested for its verity, or have people decide for themselves what they think of it? How dare you.
Not only that, after 500 pages of running around, and history lessons, and dozens of people dying (I'm not joking) we find out that the journal of Jesus is a FAKE, manufactured by the Templars to discredit the church and break up Christianity. If I had been reading an actual copy of this book, I would have thrown it across the room. As it was, when I was listening to the audiobook, I'm sure the neighbors could hear my string of curses.
Leave this one where it is, folks. It's not worth reading. All it makes me want to do is go back and reread The DaVinci Code.
An awful book. If you grock the difference between "dubious" and "skeptical" or "their" and "they're", this book will infuriate you. The author operates at a grade 6 competency. Avoid.
Another in the Templar genre, well written, and an easy read with one large downside. I was hoping the two main 'good guy' characters, Tess the archaeologist and Sean the FBI agent could work together without having to 'fall in love' when solving their problems. The conclusion is also a bit weak. It assumes that without religion there is for many people no way to survive life. It is like saying a person cannot swim without a life preserver on.
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