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The Last Templar


Title: The Last Templar

Author: Raymond Khoury

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Publisher: Dutton, p406

A murder in the museum, theft of an antique, vatican, secret of Jesus, Templars, ring any bell? Yes, it is a mystery thriller of Dan Brown type. But so what, as long as it is good I don’t have any complaints and it is a good read indeed.

While many historians and archaeologists still trying to figure out what made the Templars so powerful and also why did they were eradicated so cruelly on the friday, the thirteenth. Dan Brown took one assumption of Holy Grail and Mary Magdalene. Here Raymond Khoury takes another assumption of the secret about the miracles.

On the day of archaeological exhibition of the items from Vatican, a group of four people dressed as Templars ride in horses and steals many valuable items. The FBI agent Sean Reilly and an archaeologist Tess Chaykin tries to uncover the case through which they got to know about the secret of Templars which would shake the world if revealed. What was that secret and who stolen the items. Read on the novel.

This is a good read if you are a lover of mystery-thrillers like me. Except for few glitches it was just the same as Dan Brown’s. So if you are a Dan Brown fan, you’ll definitely like this book as well.

The secret about Christianity and various cults like Knights Templars, Illuminati etc., are the great sources for mystery thriller novel writers I guess. There are plenty of them available after Dan Brown’s success. I don’t know whether it is good or bad, but we get to know about lot of historical incidents that you can’t read in normal history books.

Here in this novel also there are many historical incidents and cults that I never heard of. Templar’s background, a sect called cathars and various other things. Also, the desperation of archaeologists of finding something big like Troy and Tutenkamen.

Read it if you want to read a fast paced thriller with some of historical titbits.

My rating ★★★☆☆


Before I Go to Sleep By S.J.Watson

It was pretty boring when no one there in Goodreads, so I just gone around the ads in the home page, there was an impressive ad about the book ‘Before I go to sleep’. When I checked the reviews and the synopsis, I immediately placed the order. Somehow I had an intuition that this book would not be a disappointment.

This is a mystery cum psychological thriller. Christine Lucas wakes up in the morning in an unfamiliar bedroom with an old guy. Then she has been told by that guy that he is her husband and she is an amnesiac who forgets everything once she slept. Then once he left for work, she gets a call from a doctor who claims they are working on her treatment without the knowledge of her husband. When she met the doctor, he gives her a journal which he says it was hers and she gave it to him for reading it once. What the journal contains? Who was she? Read on the book.

It was really wonderfully written novel that doesn’t make you bored in any page. The suspense and mystery gets intensified when you read on towards the end. The thriller part towards the end was also equally interesting.  

The story is narrated by the amnesiac, Christine, herself. So he keeps the narration in present tense as she would not remember anything happened in the past. When I was wondering then how would she tell us the background of the story, there cometh the journal, which she writes for past one month to update herself on what happens daily. The confusion of her whether she actually reads on her experience or some work of fiction and searching for evidence to realise that these were true are all perfectly captured.  

The writing style was very simple, except some of medical terms there were absolutely no difficult phrases used. Throughout the story, I couldn’t find any incident that I could put aside saying ‘this is not possible in real life’. The whole novel was of incidents that are completely believable.

I think I would add SJ Watson as another author whose next book I wuld wait for. He wrote this book so wonderfully that you would not feel this is his first work in any place, at least I couldn’t with the little knowledge of authors’ books i had read.

I guess this book would be a perfect choice for group reads etc., as this has a lot to discuss and would induce different opinions on the leading characters. The filming rights of the book was already acquired and I think this will make a great movie had the actors do justice to the roles. 

My Rating for this mystery cum psychological  thriller is ★★★★☆

Hickory Dickory Shock By Sundip Gorai

Whenever I read the mystery thrillers, I use to think why Indian writers are not trying anything like this. Most of the current generation of Indian writers – IITians – follows Chetan Bhagat and try to copy him. Of course he is a successful of current lot and his influence would be there on most of the writers, but if you write the same how people will get interested.

When I take up this book to read, the genre mystery thriller from an Indian writer itself impressed me very much. Then the story set up in the backdrop of an IT industry crisis, so most of the things I could easily relate to.

The novel starts with some funny events when I thought Sundip as another writer of Chetan Bhagat influence. But he proved he was not once the story comes to the business end. Once 210 and Geeks starts trying to solve the puzzle that would lead them LoRD, the story gets gripping pace and I never thought of putting down the book till it was done.

I was always fascinated by the research done by Dan Brown, whenever I read his books. I felt the same with this one. There should have been lot of efforts put into this work to have that puzzle and the related things. The kamasutra cipher, the emperor machine, bhagavat gita riddle everything would need a lot of research and time-consuming. This effort definitely needs to be recognized.

The protagonist 210 was a blend of Robert Langdon and Sherlock Holmes. When I thought the novel is the inspiration of Dan Brown, it takes different perspective once the reasoning pitching in. The last two, three chapters you would feel like reading Sherlock Holmes reasoning of deducing the crime from 210.

Of course there were few flaws. Some of them are logical like the backups for example. The backups of any company would not be kept in the same location. Most of the times it would be in some other city so that it can be reloaded from there whenever some disaster happens to the original development centre. And I felt some chapters end abruptly in the middle of the conversation. It made me feel like watching short films without proper editing.

But we can ignore these small shortcomings with the fact that it is his first novel and the story is gripping enough to make many of us not even notice these. Overall if you were wondering whether there would be any mystery thrillers from Indian writers with India and its history as the backdrop, this book is the answer. Hope this book would be a success and there will be many more books from him. May be it is time to know something about India also.

My rating is ★★★★☆ for this book.

Eye of the Needle

I chose to read Eye of the needle by Ken Follet  because there were no Pillars of the Earth copy available in the book shops I had searched. Knowing that Ken Follet was a successful thriller writer before Pillars of the Earth published, I was confident enough the book will not disappoint me and I was right. 🙂

Eye of the Needle is the story that was set up in the period of second world war with the German Master Spy ‘Die Nadel’ (or ‘The Needle’), MI5 officers Godliman, Bloggs and a young lady Lucy as leading characters. In the second world war, the spy ‘Needle’ found out the UK’s plan of deception on the France invasion. MI5 agents trying to stop him from convey his result of espionage to the Germans. Have they succeeded or not, read the book to know it.. 🙂

Ken Follet is a different type of story teller for me – the one who accustomed with fast paced one day plots by Dan Brown. He starts slowly with the background of each leading characters and the story slowly picking up the speed, towards the end it’s been really difficult to put the book down.

When I read the book, I felt like watching a movie, the author wrote it too detailed like a screen play so that it is easier to visualize the things he penned down. The story starts some four years back from the main incident with different areas and gradually all the characters brought together to link up to the main story instead of telling about the characters’ background as and when they were introduced. Actually this helps him the keep up the pace towards the end as he doesn’t need to introduce anyone there.

Also the incidents are so realistic that makes you think it could have actually been happened there. Ken Follet is a really good author. I guess I will read more of his in the coming days.

Well, there were some of the things I am not able to write it as it would be spoilers for those who are still yet to read the book.

My rating for this wonderful thriller is ★★★★☆

If you like thrillers, don’t miss it.

The Final Reckoning

The Final reckoning, a Dan Brown Type mystery thriller, that deals with the journey of former UN lawyer Tom Byrne who found the hidden secrets about the Holocaust incidents when trying to close in what looked like a murder by mistaken identity by UN officials.

This thriller of Sam Bourne is the third book, I have read of him. I would say this is the best book in the content-wise. I liked the flashback story about Gershon Matzkin more than the thriller of Tom Byrne’s adventures.

With the historical accounts of few news websites and wiki, I always imagined the Jew murders by Nazis are just like any other religious quarrels or some dispute between the minorities and majorities. But I never knew Hitler tried to make Jews extinct from the world. The complete details about the holocaust incidents and the final author note says nothing fictitious except the characters I couldn’t even imagine how would these people lived through those periods.

But this did not take away any credit from the actual story the thriller of Tom and Rebecca’s, Gershon’s daughter, adventures to find the resistance of ghettos and her fathers secret alliance.

As a thriller, the book offers enough twists and turns. Also the pace is ok. I say ok because it is not some thriller which travels at lightening speed. In between he has to tell us the Holocaust incidents also. So naturally the current story stops for sometime. But since the Gershon’s story also interesting you definitely will not feel bored.

When I read about this Holocaust incidents, I couldn’t help myself in comparing it with the Sri Lankan Tamils’ situation with this. Hitler was damned by all the countries and at least Jews got some type of condolence with the extinct of Nazis. Not sure when Tamils get some redemption.

One major drawback of this novel which made me not giving 5 out of 5 is, some similarities between his previous book ‘The Last Testament‘ and this, like, investigating with the son/daughter of the deceased, the protagonist was a former employee of the organisation who came from resignation to help, etc. But luckily the content is totally different.

My rating for this wonderful historical fiction cum thriller is ★★★★☆

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