Saturday, March 20, 2010

the templar legacy

The Templar Legacy is the third Cotton Malone novel I've read by Steve Berry, but I think it may be the first in the series. I'm not sure how many there are, but Berry has a fair number of titles to his name, and I don't know which includes his Cotton Malone character.

Malone is a great protagonist, and a great example of the reluctant hero. As a retired US government field agent, with a background in law, Malone has the skills he needs when trouble comes knocking, and his retirement doesn't prevent trouble from coming around. And what a retirement! Malone has left it all behind; a failed marriage, his job, and America; to become a rare book seller in Copenhagen. Black lacquered wood shelves, old leather and vellum bound books, stuffed to the rafters, with a small apartment upstairs.

I know the whole Knights Templar has had (is having) a good run, but I don't think its dead yet. I mean, come on, people have been writing vampire stories for how long?* But contrary to what I thought, the Templar and their history help this story by lending an interesting historical backbone. Its actually another telling of a story of the Templar secret treasure, which cropped up in the Pyrenees in the 1950s and became a local sensation by the 60s, until local officials had to halt all unauthorized excavations in the small town it centered on, when houses began falling over. Templar treasure is a fun backstory and has a lot of latitude for Berry, and other authors and screenwriters, to play with.

I've enjoyed each of the Cotton Malone stories, and this first one didn't disappoint. It was fun, fast and entertaining. Just what the doctor order after The Whale.

*[a search for the term 'vampire' in the books category on Amazon yielded 11,414 results. 'Templar' resulted in 3,638.]

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