Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Knights Of The Cornerstone - James P. Blaylock


The Knights Of The Cornerstone
James P. Blaylock
Ace

Fantasy

Calvin Bryson lives comfortably on the inheritance left by his dad, doodling cartoons and collecting oddball pamphlets and small press books. Occasionally, he even submits a cartoon to a magazine. He lives a very quiet and solitary life, and he’s fine with that. Getting a letter from his Uncle Al Lymon is a surprise. Reading between the lines, it seems that Aunt Nettie isn’t doing so well, and Lymon wants Calvin to visit them. The very same day, Calvin gets a package from another distant relative, addressed to Lymon, c/o Calvin. The coincidence is enough to propel Calvin to action.

Lymon and Nettie live in New Cyprus, a bit of land created when an earthquake changed the course of a river. Since the land doesn’t technically belong to any state, its homestead land. Calvin remembers the place from childhood visits. He remembers the Temple Bar that sits on a little spit of land. Lymon is a member, a Knight. Calvin always figured it was some kind of service organization. But events quickly make him think there’s something more important going on here. What’s in the package is far more than a family heirloom scarf. And the Knights in the desert are far more than they seem to be.

This novel neatly transposes the legends of the Knights Templar to the desert of the US southwest. It’s a geographically isolated place, perfectly suited to house a secret order. It’s a place that exists outside the laws of man, in nearly every way. The reader follows Calvin, a completely sympathetic everyman, step by step as he learns the truth about the place, his family, and history. The last third of the novel contains a lot of action, and the author allows the bad guys to be smart and inventive. A bit of fantasy, a bit of Templar legend, and stakes that are very real and immediate for Calvin make this a grand adventure story.

Rating: 8
December 2008
ISBN# 978-0-441-01653-2 (hardcover)

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