May 15, 2008

May Book Discussion: The Templar Legacy

I have to admit, I actually didn't know anything about this book when I chose it for May. My dad had picked it up as a bargain book and enjoyed it, so he passed it on to Brad, who he thought would enjoy it, especially since he's a Mason, a society that developed from the Templars. I was unable to get to the library for several weeks, and there was this book staring at me. And so I chose it.

I don't want to say too much about my own opinion of it right now because I don't want to hijack the discussion before it starts. But if you read this you already have a general idea. I couldn't find a prepared study guide, so here are some questions I came up with on my own.

1. Did you find the characters believable / relatable / likeable? What did you think of their names?

2. How do you feel about Berry's handling of History?

3. Were there any surprises you figured out before they happened?

4. How do you feel about Berry's handling of religion?

5. In a novel that borrows a lot from history and religion, sources are important. Did you look at the bibliography? Do you feel Berry's research was adequate?


  1. Okay I feel awful, but I'm going to have to bail on the discussion this month. I've been going non-stop between traveling and work and haven't had a second to stop and pick up the book. I'll definitely read it sometime though. Sorry!!

  2. I finished the book last week, and didn't care for it.

    Stephanie was abrasive and rude. Cotton's name drove me nuts, especially since he only said "It's a long story" when asked about his name. I also felt all of the characters were under-developed and one-dimensional.

    Berry took a lot of liberties with history, especially about the shroud. I think he re-wrote history to suit his plot line.

    I had pretty much the whole book figured out, but when Berry decided to make up his own gospel, that surprised me. I really didn't think it was appropriate.

    I didn't look at the bibliography. By that point, I was too annoyed with the book. I think my biggest issue with it was that Berry used so many facts and so much history, but awkwardly combined it with his plot, so that the story development was very slow and labored.

  3. Here's what I noticed about his research.

    He cited a book called The Second Christ or something like that, don't feel like looking it up right now. Brad and I read it a few years ago, and I recognize most of the ideas in The Templar Legacy in it. The Second Christ was written by two Masons who took two months and traveled around Europe researching (loosely) the history of Masons and Templars. On this mere two months of study, with no qualifications whatsoever, they made all sorts of historical conclusions and published them as fact. Among those things was the Shroud of Turin theory, but many other things in Templar Legacy came from this book as well.

    Shoddy research from shoddy research does not an acceptable theory make.

  4. I definitely agree about shoddy research.

    BTW, it's so cool that Brad is a Mason!

  5. Probably the best thing I can say about this book is that I liked it better than The Da Vinci Code. That said, I didn't really care for The Da Vanci Code either.

    I did think that Steve Berry makes a very good point, one that is missed by many outside of the Church. It's the same one that the Apostle Paul makes in 1 Corinthians 15: if Jesus Christ didn't raise from the dead, then Christianity is futile.

    I don't appreciate when authors stretch history to say what they want. It's fine if they present it as fiction, but it's not okay when they say they base it on fact.

    I was interested by "The Testimony of Simon." I couldn't help but realize that it read like it was written by a 21st century skeptic (which it was). It was exactly the "gospel" that many today wish the Bible was.

    As far as characterization, I didn't really connect with the characters. There wasn't really a lot of depth there. The only one that intrigued me was the Seneschal.

    When I read The Da Vinci Code, I kept being irritated that Dan Brown wouldn't allow the reader to figure out any of the clues. In The Templar Legacy I was irritated that Steve Berry didn't let the reader figure out any of the foreign languages. I guess it just bugs me that they write to the lowest common denominator and don't expect the reader to have any background knowledge.

  6. I only made it through half the book, haven't finished it yet. I tried, but with my move, it just didn't happen.

    So far, it hasn't really drawn me in. I'm reading it, just to be able to say I finished it.

    I can say I don't really care for Cotton or Stephanie. In the parts I have read, the characters seem really underdeveloped, but that could just be because I haven't finished the book.

  7. Yeah, I kept waiting to find out about Cotton's name. When I was looking for a study guide I saw on a site that Cotton has appeared in other books by this writer, and that his name, as well as other things about him are explained there.

    I also thought this was better than the Da Vinci Code. The Da Vinci Code read like Cliff's Notes. It was a good story wasted on bad writing. At least in this book the writing is better.

  8. I know I haven't been commenting on this blog lately, but I did read the book! And I got bored. I enjoyed the beginning, obviously since it takes place in Copenhagen and the author mentions many of the places I visited. But then as it went on, my mind started translating all the characters to The Davinci Code. Cotton and Stephanie were totally interchangeable with Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. In fact, nearly all the characters were interchangeable. And that irritated me. Stephanie irritated me.

    As far as Danish customs and stuff....he was pretty on target.

    But no, no surprises. Since it was a very similar story to the Davinci Code, I sort of expected everything to happen the way it did.

    And I don't think he has a good handle on Christianity and particularely that period of Christianity. Not that I am an expert, but still....

    Overall, it was okay. Some good action. Maybe I would have liked it better if I hadn't seen The Davinci Code.

  9. This one's been on my To-read list! I love the reviews here and I've added you to my reader.

    Btw, I'm having a book GIVEAWAY for 4 AUTOGRAPHED BOOKS! Hope you'll stop by and/or spread the word.

    A Book Blogger's Diary

  10. It does seem like this would be a better book if the idea wasn't already used. The writing's not horrible, but it's hard to get over the staleness of it as it's all been done before.

    In some ways, what Berry proposes is more offensive to me than what is in Brown's book. Denying that Jesus was raised from the dead is pretty much the chief way of denying his divinity. They both suggest that, but Berry is more blunt about it while Brown's way is more crude. I don't get offended by people writing books about this, but they are definitely grasping at straws in order to get enough evidence to make their plot seem plausible.


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