Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Brethren - Robyn Young

An Epic Adventure of the Knights Templar
Robyn Young

Mystery - Action - Historical/Knights Templar

In Jerusalem in 1260 A.D., the Mongol hordes attack the Mamluk army. The Mamluk, Egyptian slave warriors led by the fearless, and fearsome, Amir Baybars, manage to destroy the Mongols. Baybars, sold into slavery as a young man, only to rise through the ranks of the Mamluk to become its leader, sees this victory as one more step toward reclaiming the city of his birth. His sultan does not agree, and this sparks a conflict that will turn deadly.

In Paris, a young clerk is running for his life. Forced to steal a book from his Templar Order, he is running from both Templars and an unknown assassin for reasons he does not understand. And in London, young Will Campbell is in training to become a Knight Templar. He can hardly remember a time he did not dream of following in his father’s footsteps and joining the Order. As the Temple in London readies for a parley with the King, news of the stolen book arrives. This news will be kept from all but a select few, for the nature of the missing book could destroy the Temple and its Brethren.

As Will learns after becoming a Knight, the missing volume is the Book of the Grail. To those who are even capable of reading it, it will appear to be a Grail Romance, one of many popular stories of the Grail. To those who know its secrets, however, it presents a plan known only to a small group within the Order. He who controls the book, controls the Temple. As Will searches for the volume, he discovers that there are many people, both inside and outside the Order who will kill for that book and the power its secrets can bestow.

The story opens with a vicious battle between the Mamluk and Mongol forces. Moving back and forth between the forces of the East and West, the author paints a vivid picture of the events and personalities that shaped the Crusades and the Knights Templar. Men on both sides are forced to choose between what they know is right and what they believe is right for the times. While the interrelationships and plot points are often complex, the author keeps things moving at a brisk pace. A little effort yields incredible rewards here.

The underlying research gives the book real depth and resonance in details without ever overpowering the story. The cast of characters is deep, but each is unique and real. This volume covers roughly six years of politics, religion, and intrigue. This is truly a sweeping work of historical fiction, the likes of which does not come along often. Epic battles. History in the making. Will keep you up all night. Pick your “wow” cliché. It will be accurate. This is the first in a trilogy, so set aside some time next year for CRUSADE, the second volume. I know I will.

Rating: 9 ½
July 2006
ISBN# 0-525-94975-5 (hardcover)


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