The Knights Templar

Richard Lee

Templars playing chess (from 'Libro de los juegos')

Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert, villain of Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, early established the role of the Templar in historical fiction – a proud Christian fanatic corrupted at heart by the East.

His general appearance was grand and commanding; but, looking at him with attention, men read that in his dark features from which they willingly withdrew their eyes.’

Since Scott (whose influence is incalculably huge), there has been little deviation from this general theme. Templar stories are almost always associated with religious fanaticism (hero Templars reject this), East-meets-West (hero or villain Templars embrace this), secrecy, conspiracy, feats of arms and, quite frequently, treasure. Since Dan Brown’s The da Vinci Code there has also been a ubiquity of Templar-type ‘inner’ organisations that pre-date or post-date the dissolution of the Order.

Contemporary authors of Templar historicals are Maureen Ash, Robyn Young, Colin Falconer,  Jack Whyte, Paul Doherty, Jan Guillou, and James Jackson. Michael Jecks, in a 20+ book series, and Tim Hodgekinson both feature Templars who survive the dissolution to live different lives.