The Templar legacy : a novel

by Steve Berry, 1955-

Book, 2006



Call number

PS3602 .E764


Publisher Unknown


The ancient order of the Knights Templar possessed untold wealth and absolute power over kings and popes ... until the Inquisition, when they were wiped from the face of the earth, their hidden riches lost. But now two forces, the U.S. Justice Department and a shadowy zealot, vying for the treasure have learned that it is not at all what they thought it was and its true nature could change the modern world.

Media reviews

An ex-spy is plunged back into the violent world he thought he left behind when he's forced into the race to find a treasure that could rock the civilized world.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bcquinnsmom
Okay. Here's the deal. If you go to, you're going to see this book picked apart by people who judge it because it doesn't conform to their ideas about Christianity, and because it offers a new way to look at the Catholic Church, etc., etc., etc. So my advice: if you're a devout Christian and you can't pick up a book that puts forth ideas you can't agree with, don't pick this one up because you'll hate it. On the other hand, if you can get past that, and realize that the author is writing a thriller/suspense story, and that it is FICTION, then you may find yourself getting into it. Yes, it's improbable, and yes, it's implausible and yes, things go down just a little too pat. But it's not meant to be great literature and it's a very fun & relaxing way to pass a few hours. I liked it SO much better than the last one (The Third Secret) and I had a lot of fun with the whole Templar treasure thing. Good's just a fun fiction novel! To be sure, it does get a little tedious after a while with all of the talk talk about the Templar treasure & the secrets left behind, but take it for what it is: a fun story by an author that knows how to do a fine plot.
here's a brief look:
Starting out in Copenhagen, bookstore owner Cotton Malone (who is a retired goverment agent of some sort) is hanging out having a coffee and sees a purse snatching. The purse belongs to his ex-boss in the government. He goes after her purse and as the guy is about to be caught, he does a very bizarre thing: he jumps from a tower and puts a knife across his throat while on his way down. As Cotton begins to investigate, he finds himself tangled up in a web of intrigue involving the Knights Templar, which leads him to France and Rennes-le-Chateau. He and his group get caught up in secret cryptograms, headstone inscriptions, art-inspired clues, as two rival groups all seek the same thing. You can't write this off as a DaVinci Code ripoff, because frankly, it's much better and packs more of a punch.

Try might enjoy it.
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LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
This reads like a The Da Vinci Code rip-off, although I actually have to rate Berry's novel higher, because, unlike the case with Brown's book, the writing isn't eye-bleeding and the history isn't obviously sloppy in ways I can't miss. This seems well-researched and much better grounded in history than The Da Vinci Code. However, this is still far too close a clone. The three-word title. A man (former American "operative" Cotton Malone) and woman (the bland Stephanie Nelle) teaming up and fleeing through Europe on a "quest," pursued by a secret society of religious fanatics and dealing with a hidden truth that goes to the core of the Christian faith. They're accompanied by a wealthy man of physical limitations whose made a special study of the secrets they're seeking. The key to the treasure consists of solving puzzles, cyphers and secret codes. Sound familiar?

It's not that I'm offended by the iconoclastic conclusions about Christianity and secular worldview of the author--by and large I share them. But well, not only is it been there, done that with Dan Brown (and I thought that book stupid, but at least it wasn't a carbon copy--well, except of Holy Blood, Holy Grail...) but I think I'm also missing the conspiracy gene that allows people to lap up books like these. I rather go by that old purported saying of the mafia--three can keep a secret, if two are dead. I just don't in my heart believe that centuries old societies whether the Templars or the Masons keep secrets more sinister than a identifying handshake. And if they did, I don't think they'd have stayed secret for long if they acted the way they do in this book, like a luminous arrow saying "look here." And this particular book doesn't really give me a "value-added" such as elegant prose or well-rounded characters to love. This came across as a generic, formulaic, Da Vinci Code wannabe only for those who couldn't get enough of that book and having read everything of Dan Brown must have more.… (more)
LibraryThing member majkia
All too often the Templars are used as easily identifiable bad guys in thrillers and mysteries. The Templar Legacy looks, at first blush, given the opening action, to be just another example of that. Instead, it becomes clear fairly early on, there is something far more complex going on.

I found the mystery and the quest interesting, as well as the puzzles and complexities of the plot. I did have a few issues with the book otherwise though. I found it extremely frustrating that,. for instance, in the middle of death-defying action, the characters suddenly stop and feel a need to explain or pontificate, or otherwise bring the reader up to speed. Surely the information could have been delivered at better times.

I also thought Berry pounded on several points he made - over and over again. Yes, perhaps a couple of iterations of main plot explanations would have been good, but he repeated some of them too many times for my taste.

The characters were interesting and complex, if not all that well drawn. Importantly for me, I cared about them, which goes a long way for me in any novel. No matter how good the writing or how interesting the plot, if I don't care about the characters, or worse dislike them, I'll dislike the book.

Recommended for those who like mystery thrillers.
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LibraryThing member ElnEm
After reading Berry's terrific Romanov Prophesy I was excited to read more of his work. Unfortunately this title, while a good read, is just not as rich and has the pacing of a Dan Brown book. It is a good easy read and it gets better after a quick superficial start, but I was disappointed. Too easy to figure out the roles everyone played as the plot unfolded as well.… (more)
LibraryThing member Deankut
Steeped in intentional Templar propaganda and fine writing, Berry weaves a tale sufficient to whet the appetite of the biblically theological mind.

What I always find thrilling in a good novel is it's power to enlighten me with knowledge I've never pondered.

Similar in the vein of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, The Templar Legacy offers us a theory from the biblical past in which the current population hasn't given thought.

Which theory?

Tsk Tsk! Spoilers! Read it and be enlightened as I...

I promise there will be head noddings and eye openings...
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LibraryThing member PghDragonMan
Perhaps it is something of the “on ramp effect”, but while The Templar Legacy was very good, it did not quite measure up to my first exposure to this series, The Charlemagne Pursuit. The main character of this series, Cotton Malone, is still very believable and the author mixes historical fact with his own imagination in a way that makes it very difficult to separate the two. It is this style that elevates this book from just average to very good.

While this is the first book in the Cotton Malone series, we come into his life a year after he has retired from being an active agent of the US Government. This book lays out the reason for his decision to retire, but leaves the rest of his activities as an agent closed to us, thus heightening the reader’s attraction to Malone through the mystery surrounding his past.

People sensitive to religious beliefs may take objection to some of the underlying premise to what The Templar Legacy really was. Personally, I found it fascinating. The author builds on theories put forth by others and adds elements of his own devising to connect several stories. At the end of the book, Steve Berry gives credit to the inspirations for some of his created bridges. In reading the story, it is indeed difficult to tell where history leaves off and supposition begins.

Overall this is a very good adventure story that, while there are fight scenes and deaths, is light on bloodshed . . . if you discount the historical bloodshed recounted in the narrative. Some of the exposition, while illuminating, seemed to go on a little too long for my taste. That is my main reason for not rating this book higher. If I were comparing this strictly within the Action / Adventure genre, I would add half a star to my overall rating. This book is well worth the read as it is so thought provoking.
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LibraryThing member Carol420
I couldn't get the print copy of this book before our group read so I got the CD book. I know that it takes real talent to read a book so that even 95% of the listener/readers will be satisfied but I think my 3.5 star rating of this book was mostly the reader and not the author's writing. There were times when Brian Corrigan's attempts at the French accent of this book's arch-villain, Raymond De Roquefort, that he sounded so much like Peter Sellers's Inspector Clouseau with a bad head cold. In spite of that the story line was absolutely magnificent. The clues that Cotton Malone and his band of merry men and women were tasked with finding and interpreting were well over this readers head but I did so enjoy the journey. This is the perfect blend for thriller fans and history buffs alike.… (more)
LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
Very much in the Da Vinci Code mode, this is a argument against religion and an adventure story all rolled into one.

Ex-agent Cotton Malone has abandoned the US for Denmark. His ex-boss is in the city and she wants his help keeping herself alive and finding out what exactly her husband's research was all about. One of the problems is sifting out who is the bad guys and who are the good guys. Not everyone is what they appear to be and there are choices that have to be made that could affect the future of the world.

Yeah, it is another Da Vinci code only with more credible characters. However the info dumps are a little overbearing. Those people who enjoyed the Da Vinci Code will probably love this one too.
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LibraryThing member dougwood57
Recently retired US Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is thrust into a chase that answers two of the primary mysteries about the Templars: How were they able to acheive such great power that they cowed the Church and what happened to all their treasure when Philip the Fair of France destroyed the Knights Templar in 1307.

Berry's book meanders along and the reader begins to wonder where the story is going, but the tale comes together in the last 200 pages or so as it builds toward a fascinating conclusion.

Unlike other recent best-sellers, the history in the Templar Legacy is quite accurate, or at least within the realm of accepted speculation, as it relates to early Christianity, the Templars, and the Rennes-le-Château myths. Just where did Berenger Sauniere, parish priest of Rennes-le-Château really get the wealth to rebuild the church and other buildings, including the Tour Magdala anyway?

Contrary to other reviews, I found Berry's book to be superior to the Da Vinci Code mainly because the Templar Legacy is grounded in history or reasonable speculation.

Recommended for its interesting, plausible solution to the Templar mystery.
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LibraryThing member elbakerone
A decent thriller best classified as a better-written version of The Da Vinci Code - complete with buried church secrets, symbols, puzzles and a cross-Europe scavenger hunt. I found this book to be entertaining but predictable and was unimpressed with the Bible-is-a-myth plot factor. The characters were well written and believable but overall a lack-luster novel.… (more)
LibraryThing member cuicocha
Stephen Berry introduces Cotton Malone, a U.S. government agent turned rare book dealer, in a tight-knit thriller that carries the reader along at a breakneck pace.
Secondary characters Cassiopeia Vitt and Henrik Thorvalsen complement Malone in his efforts to bring about a just end.
Berry, author of three previous "stand alone" novels, has created a winning combination of characters that the reader hopes he continues to develop in future works… (more)
LibraryThing member Talbin
The Templar Legacy is a fast-paced thriller set in Europe. Cotton Malone, a retired US Justice Department investigator, has opened a bookshop in Copenhagen. His former boss, Stephanie Nelle, lets him know that she is coming to town and would like to talk. Before they meet, however, Malone sees someone snatch her purse. His pursuit ends with the thief throwing himself off a tower and slitting his own throat. Mather investigates, and finds himself in searching for the Knights Templar along with their lost treasure and archives.

This was an okay book. Berry struggles with character development, and seems to be trying to do more here. It's better, but the tidbits he throws out about his characters sometimes seem contrived. The plot is not as fast-moving as one would like for a book in this genre. It's really not until the last 100 pages that things get moving.

As in The Third Secret, Berry once again tackles Christian themes, and once again his handling of it seems pretty 21st century to me. However, The Templar Legacy's big revelation (which I won't give away here), is not quite as "modern" as that of The Third Secret, so it's a bit more believable.

Note: If you strongly believe that the Bible is the literal word of God, this book may not be for you.
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LibraryThing member conradrader
A really good read. Very believable and grounded in theology and real life locations and actions. Interesting ideas and a positive ending.
LibraryThing member Replay
A kind of deja-vu...I read it with Da Vinci Code in mind and couldn't help but compare.
LibraryThing member tcgardner
Steve Berry is up and down. With The Romanov Prophecy he was definitely up. With The Templar Legacy, he is way down.
LibraryThing member meggie
I picked the Templar Legacy up on a whim after reading the Da Vinci Code and being wildly disappointed by it. I was pleasantly surprised - the author, though following very similar plot themes to what you might find within the Da Vinci Code, manages to construct an original story without relying as heavily on sensationalist elements. The story follows two parallel journeys of discovery, one an individual quest for knowledge and closure, the other on a much broader scheme as a religious order struggles to decide what it must do with its own knowledge. This book is not for the easily offended; the conclusion may leave some readers wanting to hold a book-burning party. For those interested in history who like to come up with alternate truths, The Templar Legacy is a solid addition to any library.… (more)
LibraryThing member mgaulding
OK, so this story has been so done by another author. This is my favorite of Berry's works and while it doesn't have the thunder that Dan Brown's had, I think Berry is a much better writer.
LibraryThing member lewispike
There are loads and loads of books that touch on both the Templars and Rennes-le-Chateau. Most are frankly unreadable, full of conspiracy, rampant speculation and a foolish instance that they are based on the truth.

This could easily fall into the same trap, but mostly avoids it. It does contain truths, a mix of them, but like many other works of fiction they are truths used to give verisimilitude to a story. And that's what this, a good story.

The dying master of the surviving Templars lays a plan to last beyond his death to hopefully uncover the legacy that was lost when Jacques de Molay was executed, but also to rid the order of a dangerously fanatical but very powerful man so that a more sensible leader may emerge. This involves the widow of a Rennes-le-Chateau "fan" and author, who (fortuitously) is head of an agency that uses special agents and she accidently recruits a recently retired agent. This works well - it gives two characters with good skills to solve parts of the puzzle but with a background well away from the core information so they are reasonably learning stuff anew and letting the author tell us the information for his plot.

The old master dies, the powerful fanatic is elected to promote him, and he determines to find the answer too, laying the ground for confrontations. There are many, often fairly violent, and a trail of dead and injured knights starts to accumulate.

Eventually they find their treasure, there is a final confrontation and a resolution to the story - that I won't tell you because that would be a spoiler.

The only thing I really question is that the dying master has laid an incredibly complex and convoluted plan and expects it to continue smoothly after his death. By and large it does, but it seems an unnecessarily complex plan and fraught with potential disasters, would the leader of a military order really have such a plan as the future of his beloved order? But, despite that, a good read.

Inevitably likened to Da Vinci Code although not sure why, there's a rather different story going on here. This one I rather liked, but then I'm not a devout Christian so people pointing out that the only reason the Church survives is that people explain away the inconsistencies in the bible by faith rather than by saying they're the writings of a group of men trying to gain and keep power - a thesis that is stated and supported pretty much that baldly in this book. If you want a much more literary version of a similar tale, you should be aiming at Foucault's Pendulum. The most obvious, screaming at the author, blunder is the anagram of "Et in arcadia ego" which apparently becomes "I tego arcana dei" or "I guard the secrets of God." Sadly the Latin for I is Ego, not I, the knights of the time were French, so they'd use Je, and actually just tego means "I guard" c.f. "Cogito ergo sum" - I think therefore I am - you don't need the personal pronouns in Latin - but if you do, choose latinate ones!
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LibraryThing member CymLowell
This wonderful thriller is a combination of many elements, all of which are combined in a combustible crucible to make an engrossing read.

Its background is the legacy of the Templars, a religious order formed in Acre, Palestine during the Crusades largely by Frenchmen. What became of their treasure when they were eradicated by the French king in 1307? What about their discovery of the apparent story of the resurrection of Jesus, as well as elements of the Gnostic Gospels? These are mysteries of the ages as well as the religious heritage of the West.

Steve Berry elucidates these questions in a far different manner than used by Dan Brown in the da Vinci Code. The answers are pursued in the context of the origins of the Templars, in Provence, France, including elements of the Papal escape to Avignon in the aftermath of the collapse of the Christian efforts to free the Holy Lands from the supposed infidels.

The Templar Legacy is not a history book. It is a thriller. A genre of suspense and intrigue, which are in ample supply in this captivating story.

A possessed pursuer of ancient artifacts, his disbelieving wife an intelligence operative, a son lost in an avalanche seeking the same ends as his apparently suicidal father, and a variety of other fascinating characters all combine to set the stage for a different search for a historic grail. The perilous antiquities that so dominate the Indiana Jones sagas are plainly in evidence in the denouement.

In the end, there are the strains of romance that could blossom in a sequel in a far different vein than James Bond and his girls. A former intelligence operative and a wealthy, stealthy follower of Islam?
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LibraryThing member MSWallack
Some interesting ideas, that just didn't come together very well.
LibraryThing member PatriciaUttaro
The Templar Legacy by Steve Barry - I don't know why I keep picking up these books that center around debunking Christian mythology, but I do. It must be rooted in my youthful rebellion against the mind-numbing church history classes I was forced to endure at my Catholic high school, which were taught by a nun, Sr. Delphine, who looked, moved and spoke as though she were a step away from one of the catecombs she taught about with such relish. But I digress.

This book is one of the recent spate of DaVinci Code-alikes that have hit the bookshelves. Now, I have to say that I wasn't too enamoured of Dan Brown's controversial tale, mostly because I thought Robert Langdon was incredibly boring, and that the French police officer was a total stereotype. I liked Templar Legacy much, much more...better characters, better pacing, better everything.

Our protagonists, Cotton Malone and Stephanie Nelle, find themselves smack in the middle of another gosh-darn conspiracy that will reveal a shocking historical truth intended to rock the foundations of the known world. Stephanie's dead husband, Lars, spent most of their marriage searching for the lost treasure of the Knights Templar. Seven years after his death, Stephanie receives his journal, sent anonymously through the mail, and decides she must have closure. So, she pulls up stakes from her high level government job, and flies to Copenhagen, where she stirs up a whole bunch of trouble. Teaming up with former intelligence officer turned bookshop owner Cotton Malone (maybe I'm wrong, but I really do think this is the name of the sports announcer played by Gary Cole in the movie Dodgeball), the two follow clues supposedly leading to the Great Devise -- the legendary Templar treasure hidden in the 14th century as the Knights were being exterminated by French royalty. The two are challenged by Raymond deRoquefort, Marshal, then Master, of the current, hidden Knights. Twists and turns abound as Cotton and Stephanie race against time to discover the Great Devise and foil the evil deRoquefort's plans of world domination.

Yep. It's a page-turner all right. Actually, one of the things I liked best about this book is the short sections within the chapters. There wasn't that whole one-chapter-about-Raymond, one-chapter-about-Stephanie thing going on. I could pick the book up, read for about 5 minutes, put it down to check dinner, change the laundry over, or help a patron and then pick it right back up without missing a beat. And the story itself was full of surprises. I sure didn't see the twists coming at the end.

The setting is almost identical to that in The Labyrinth by Kate Mosse -- Carcasonne and other areas of France -- and there are echoes of the same ancient legends in both books. Templar is a much better read, however. Definitely pick it up and give it a shot.
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LibraryThing member harperhaven
Da Vinci code knock off but it was an ok read. Slow in some places but it generally kept my interest. The characters could have used a bit more development.
LibraryThing member cyderry
When I finished this book, at first I was a little stunned. It didn't end the way I expected. Maybe that's why it was such an interesting novel. The author creates a highly imaginative story using certain facts and theories of others and weaves them together to generate a tale that holds your interest and at times takes your breath away.
Highly religious people may be offended by some of the aspects of this story, but I found fascinating in the same way as I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code.
In total, it was an entertaining adventure worthy of James Bond while and at the same time extremely disquieting in its theories.
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LibraryThing member dudara
You might think that this book is in the vein of the Da Vinci Code. Who could blame you? It's about the Knights Templar, ancient secrets and Christianity as well as following an ancient trail of clues and puzzles. However, I'm glad to say that this is a deserving novel in its own right. Steve Berry has undertaken some thorough research and woven it into a tense and thrilling tale.

As well as being an exiciting and fast-paced tale, the author leaves us with a bit of food for thought at the end as the great secret of the Templars is revealed. An interesting slant to a book typical of its genre.

The Templar Legacy is easy to read and will entertain anyone who enjoys this type of historical thriller. Ultimately, it's more than the sum of its parts and one of the best of its kind.
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LibraryThing member TheoClarke
Cotton Malone, a retired espionage officer, sells book in Copenhagen until his former boss involves him in a quest to find a lost treasure of the Knights Templar that will contradict Christian orthodoxy. Very much in the mould of the Da Vinci Code, this tale is well-researched and Berry's narrative creates a strong sense of place and time. The historical backround is rooted in early Christianity and in 14th century France but it can be jarring in its introduction.… (more)

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