Monday, October 25, 2010

The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

The Templar Legacy
By: Steve Berry
Published: 2006
Audiobook Read by: Paul Michael
My rating: Good

Here again is another work of fiction that strives to cast a shadow of doubt on the Christian faith. That in itself does not ruin a book for me but merely gives rise to my own curiosity to see if I can intelligently counter the arguments that are put forth. However, this book had the feel of being an imitation of Dan Browns Da Vinci Code and therefore felt a little hollow. Brown's books I think sparked so much interest that others have decided to jump on the wagon.

I very much enjoyed the plot of this story and was drawn into the history and ancient settings described. I have found the Knights Templar to be a fascinating subject and enjoyed yet another take on their role in history. The trail of clues and the international search that they lead to is quite entertaining. Steve is a good writer and has crafted this tale with suspense and intrigue although it borders on the absurdly improbable. As Cotton Malone and Stephanie Nelle embark on their mad chase to find the Templar stash of wealth and knowledge, I was drawn along for the ride quite willingly. The flashbacks to various points in history to explain some of the clues they find are very revealing and add nicely to the story line. There were few surprises though and several questions left unanswered.

I enjoyed the humor that broke the intensity of the book here and there. Malone is a very capable man and his quiet confidence is appealing. Cassiopeia Vitt added the sex appeal and was a very nicely placed counterpart for Malone. The open ended relationship they form is hopefully carried on in other of Steve's books. The biggest mystery for me was the constant surprising bits of knowledge coming from Jeffrey. He always seems to know what is going to happen and I kept getting the impression that he knew far more than he let on. I don't think Steve did right by Jeffrey in the end. 

The main drive of the book seems to be the effort to cast doubt on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Steve is obviously a proponent of the belief that we have been fed a pack of lies by the early church and that very little of what we now believe is actually true. He has used various other works as well as his own invention to put forth an alternate account of Jesus' death. In his writer's notes at the end of the book he makes it clear that he feels that this account is every bit as plausible, if not more so, as the story of Jesus as told in our modern Bible. However, he does not make the claim that it is actually true, saying that as with any account, there is no concrete evidence to back it up. In one part of the book, Stephanie states that "it is a matter of faith" which statement is quickly shot down by the other parties in the debate. I agree with her though, we must have faith in our faith. If we don't have faith in what we believe, works of fiction such as this will easily shake us and in the end we will be left believing nothing and I feel that this state of mind is far worse than believing in something that may be inaccurate. Without something to believe in, what purpose can there be for our existence. I would rather live my life believing in a lie yet having purpose and something good to strive for than to go through life wandering aimlessly with just this world's pleasures to guide me. Besides, if I believe in Jesus' death and resurrection and his promise of eternal life with Him in paradise and end up being wrong, isn't that a lot better than if I believed that there is no life after death just to die and find myself in Hell?

I listened to the audiobook performed by Paul Michael. As in other of his performances, he was able to transport me into the story and make it come alive for me. He is an excellent narrator and I thoroughly enjoyed his reading!

Overall, this was a good book with an engaging plot but I felt it lacked originality since it was so much like other books that have come before it. Maybe if I had listened to this one first, I might have felt differently about it. However, it is still worth reading and I wouldn't hesitate to do so if you get the opportunity.

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