Month: March 2010

The Last Templar

Last TemplarI recently finished The Last Templar, published in 2005.  From the author’s website: The Last Templar is a fast paced contemporary adventure/thriller set in New York and in various settings around the Mediterranean, intercut by five epic chapters set during the closing years of the Crusades in which the last Templar of the title, entrusted with the Order’s secret, escapes from the burning city of Acre and struggles to make it back to France.

This novel starts off with a great idea. And the next several chapters are full of exciting bloodshed and intense chase. Then something happens…. everything goes downhill. Everything suddenly seems superficial and general. An annoying “love story” develops. Finally, after lots of nothing, there are several chapters filled with long-winded diatribe that seems more like the author speaking than the characters. The diatribe is fairly daft and foolish. I realize the topic will be seen by many as unpleasant and negative. Anathema. However, I don’t hate this part of the book just because I disagree with it – I hate it because its poorly written. Its awful.

I feel badly because the story starts off really interesting. But when the book goes downhill, it sure goes downhill. I debated giving the book two stars – because I really want to praise the originality of the opening story, but I just cannot.  Now, I do own Khoury’s next book The Sanctuary, which I suppose I may read someday simply because I own it.

1 star

The Faithful Spy

THe Faithful SpyJust finished reading this. I started reading it in the fall of 2009.

From the publisher’s website: John Wells is the only CIA agent to ever penetrate al Qaeda. While living in the mountains of Pakistan, he became a Muslim, convinced of the decadence and shallowness of the United States. Now, on the orders of Omar Khadri–the malicious mastermind plotting more al Qaeda strikes on America–Wells is coming home. Neither Khadri nor Jennifer Exley, Wells superior at Langley, knows quite what to expect.

Well, like I said above, I started reading this book months and months ago. I got to about page 270 and stopped reading it for a long time. Throughout, I am glad to say that this book is very unique. Its original. That’s really hard to find in pulp fiction these days. I was relatively impressed with this fact. Its written fairly well.

The reason that I put the book down for several months was because the main character is so dismal. I mean, he is just DISMAL. I cannot describe it enough. He is entirely depressing. And when you read the book, you feel it. I decided I needed to read something else for awhile and maybe come back to this book – maybe. The character himself is interesting – unique and different from many of the heroes in pulp fiction. But he’s just so damn dismal! Ugh! A few chapters and you feel really heavy. The other characters were not as unique or interesting. Frankly, they were a bit flat.

The plot, though, is good. This is a good read for anyone who is really interested in terrorist-cells and covert spies. But you may want to take some antidepressants while you read. The author has continued to write novels including this main character (John Wells); the author is a good writer but if this character is just as dismal in the other books….. I don’t know that I can read along.

3 stars