Title: The Last Templar
Author: Raymond Khoury
Published: 2006, Dutton
Category: General Fiction/Suspense
This is one of the many books published lately that are Da Vinci Code copycats. As I liked Da Vinci Code (though I don't really understand what all the fuss is about), I thought I'd give it a try.
The novel starts off as four men dressed as medieval knights ride right into a gala event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and start pillaging and maiming (including a very theatrical beheading, hence the dagger). One of the objects they steal is an encryption device used by the historic Knights Templar. FBI agent Sean Reilly teams up with archaeologist Tess Chaykin to figure out who the "knights" were, why the encryptor was stolen, and what these men hope to decode with it. They discover that the Knights Templar had a great secret that, if revealed, could shake the foundations of the Christian faith.
The book makes some interesting and, I think, valid points about the merits and dangers of Christianity, and by extension all the major religions. Do not read this book if you are deeply religious, it will offend you. I had some problems with the ending, which I can't go into here without spoiling it for anyone who may want to read it. But I will say, who does Tess think she is to make such a decision?
Anyway, the book is pretty exciting. The author is a screenwriter and the book is really cinematic, with short little chapters that feel like scenes. I wasn't crazy about the characters, especially Tess, but they're not too annoying and anyway the book is about action, not character development.
So if you want some fodder for religious debates (and you're not so snooty that you think popular fiction shouldn't be allowed in said debates), then read this book. It'll give you lots to talk about.