Review: The Templar Cross by Paul Christopher

The Templar CrossA holy deserved: 3 out of 5 stars

My version:
Paperback
Fiction, present day.
Penguin
2010
Bought from Awesome Books

Army Ranger Lt. Col. John ‘Doc’ Holliday is teaching at West Point when he receives desperate news, his niece Peggy has been kidnapped while joining an ancient tomb excavation in Egypt.

Holliday immediately sets out to locate and rescue her, but Peggy’s captors belong to The Brotherhood of the Temple of Isis – murderous  fanatics who worship a dead god.

A trail of clues sends Holliday deep into Africa and into the heart of a conspiracy involving an ancient Egyptian legend and the darkest secrets of the order of the Templar Knights.

It would be very easy to dismiss and ridicule books like this. However, as it is easy and I’m not like your run of the mill bloggers, I’m going to give it due deliberation.

So, we’re back in the company of Lt. Col. John Holliday and his one-man crusade. I think Mr Christopher sees him – and would like us to too –  as something of a blend between an alternative ‘Jack Reacher’ and ‘Indiana Jones.’ Holliday returns to West Point teaching, after the adventures of the first book, as ‘Indiana’ does – not West Point, obviously, but returns teaching each time – where he is going about his business, then gets interrupted, ‘Indiana Jones’-like, by bad news and off we go! I thought ‘Jack Reacher’ because of his resourcefulness and his unbelievable, instant recall of just about whatever needs recalling to solve a problem. Yeah, it stretches believability somewhat, though it doesn’t stick out so much that the eyes go upwards. Too often.

This one reads very quickly and has a decent, all problems knocked out the way, in Clive Cussler-way, flow. However, for a series ostensibly about The Templars, it could perhaps have done with a bit more ‘Templar’ in it. There’s too much arse-ing about in the desert, the ‘fanatics’ aren’t that fanatical and really don’t seem frighten the characters, or us, all that much. There are, as with the first in the series, some tantalising tid-bits of ancient information sprinkled here and there. I’ve no idea if he’s right there, though they certainly sound plausible..

If the series is meant to be light, diverting and easy to digest, then this one does its job. Though there is a surprising lack of tension, it is strangely subdued, for a number two, where, presumably, you’re still trying to hook a readership. I’d guess he imagined he was writing it so that the Templars would come over as a dark, malevolent, brooding presence in the background. However, they’re so much in the background, you almost forget they’re there. ‘Templar Cross,’ is from 2010 and if it had been written today, the travels through the north African deserts and the encounters with the ‘murderous fanatics’ might well have taken on a significantly more frightening and tense dimension. He could have kept the ‘ISIS’ part. Hmm..maybe he is actually ahead of his time?

You can buy The Templar Cross at The Book Depository Though, if you want the cover as above, try Awesome Books or similar.

Related reviews:
The Sword of the Templars

Me, on Goodreads

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