The Templar Conspiracy
Source: Unrequested review copy from the publisher.
Book Description from Back Cover (modified):
In Rome, the assassination of the Pope on Christmas Day sets off a massive investigation that stretches across the globe. A group called al-Salibiyya (which means "enemies of the cross") is taking responsibility. Most people assume they're radical Muslims, but retired Army Ranger Lt. Col. John Holliday knows that they were originally a group of Templar Knights that switched sides.
When Holliday uncovers the true motive behind the Pope's murder, he must unravel a deadly design to extend the power of Rex Deus--a cabal that silently wields power in the twenty-first century--to the highest political levels.
The Templar Conspiracy is an action thriller that reminded me of early James Bond movies: non-stop action but little character development. Peggy and Holliday were gutsy and engaging, but we didn't get to know them very well (which is fine for a thriller).
The suspense was created by near-constant physical danger to the main characters (and others). However, since the main characters seemed confident of their ability to handle the danger, I never really worried for them and that cut down on the suspense.
The author did an excellent job creating vivid descriptions of the many, varied settings, and the action scenes felt realistic. There were brief, graphic descriptions of gore during some of the fight scenes.
This novel was the fourth in the series, but you don't need to have read the previous novels to understand this one. However, this one does spoil what happened in previous novels.
Devout Catholics probably won't enjoy the author's portrayal of some of the higher-up people in the Catholic church. There was some bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this novel to people who enjoy James Bond type stories.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
It was Christmas Day in Rome and it was snowing. Snow was a rare occurrence here but he was ready for it. He had kept his eyes on the weather reports for the past ten days. It was always best to be prepared.
The name on his American passport was Hannu Hancock, born of a Finnish mother and an American father in Madison, Wisconsin, where his father taught at the university and his mother ran a Finnish craft store. Hancock was forty-six, had attended East High School, followed by a bachelor's and then a master's in agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His present job was as a soil-conservation biologist and traveling soil-conservation consultant with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hancock had been married for three years to a young woman named Janit Ferguson, who died of lung cancer. He was childless and had not remarried.
Not a word of this was true. Not even the people who hired him knew who he really was. He traveled under a number of passports, each with a different name and fully detailed biography to go along with it.