“Templar” from Jordan Mechner and artists Leuyen Pham and Alex Puvilland is 468 pages of the most engrossing history lesson you’re ever likely to encounter. Okay, okay, Mechner’s imaginings of a few common Templar Knights in the midst of a campaign led by the King of France to dismantle the longstanding Templar order. The king aims to frame the Templars for heresy, execute all of them, and make off with their legendary treasure.
Our hero Martin, manages by sheer dumb-luck to avoid capture. He forms a rag-tag band of brothers to fight back, and after seeing their Templar brothers tortured and slandered, determine that their only option is to steal the treasure back from right under the king’s nose. The only problem is, that means first finding the legendary treasure--an act that alone has been the subject of much fiction over the years. Martin and his gang must not only locate the treasure, but also steal it and move it to a safe place out of the country, all while evading capture as known Templars. Their dangerous and unpredictable journey also reunites Martin with his long-lost love, who quickly becomes embroiled in the proceedings, complicating matters even further.
“Templar” offers action and intrigue enough to fill several summer blockbusters, but also boasts incredibly rich historical details, beautiful artwork and a story solid enough that it instills a “must-know-what-happens-next” sense of urgency in the reader. To read it is to know pure immersive joy that makes an oft explored subject feel new once again.
Reading “Templar” is a bit like stepping back into history, without having to deal with the unpleasant smells and other challenges of life in the 1400s, it’s a must for history buffs, action-adventure fans and anyone who enjoys a good epic yarn.