The Templar Magician

Written by P. C. Doherty Paul Doherty
Review by Carol McGrath

The Templar Magician is an action-packed historical adventure set in 1152 during the civil war between King Stephen and Matilda’s son Henry Fitzempress, later to become Henry II. The fifty-year-old Templar Order is a wealthy power, glittering with riches. Jerusalem is controlled by the Crusaders, although, five decades after the first Crusade, idealism is replaced by subtle power-play. Against this background, Edmund de Payens, Crusader and Templar, is caught up in murderous intrigue after the brutal assassination of Raymond, Count of Tripoli. Edmund and Philip Mayele, as envoys for the Templars, are sent to negotiate with The Assassins, a sect believed responsible for the murder. It appears, however, that this assassination may be connected to a rogue coven within the Templar Order itself. The narrative now becomes a thrilling pursuit that moves from the Crusading kingdoms to England. Here terrifying mysteries are revealed and a dark plot which surrounds the English court during the turbulent 12th century is exposed.

This excellent novel is to be commended in particular for its character development. The mystery will keep the reader guessing to the final chapter because the story is inhabited by complex characters and no one is who they appear to be. Paul Doherty is also to be praised for his period authenticity. 12th-centuryLondon is resurrected through gritty sensual descriptions of streets, inns, wharves, monasteries and palaces. Details of the people who inhabit London create a vibrant world. People throng these streets and alleyways, ‘beggars, drunks, the importunate apprenticeships with their mantles lined with dormouse fur’. Enemies lurk amongst the shadows. Equally well realised, atmospherically depicted desolate country manors, priories and abbeys haunt Doherty’s pages. Scenes set in the Crusading lands are also authentically created to reveal colour, cruelty and the darkly exotic. Finally, this novel shows Paul Doherty as a storyteller who weaves a fast moving tale of intrigue; one which speculates but also posits a horrible and possible truth.