I’m starting The Templar’s Code, by C. M. Palov.
This is the first part of a “book report” (more than a review, less than a thesis).
It’s a “tepid sequel” (Amazon review, but I haven’t read “Ark of Fire”), involving the Ark of the Covenant, Knights Templar, Freemasons, and much of the other Dan Brown material.
If you’re coming in without preconceived ideas, it’s not all that bad (at least, not up to page 116, where I left off). The writing isn’t exceptional; there’s an occasional howler:
The main characters are talking about the Big Secret. Then this:
“Loose lips sink Templar ships,” Edie deadpanned. Or something equally asinine. (p. 27)
The dialog is supposed to report what’s happening in real time (even though it’s all in the past tense). Mr Palov: Is that what she said, or not?
A bit later, the protagonist is in hand-to-hand combat with the assassin who’s trying to kill him. Our hero lands a severe blow on the Bad Guy.
“Argh!“, the assassin bellowed. (p. 39)
I might have gone with “Ouch!” or “Damn!”, but then, it’s not my book.
On through to page 220. The writing improves. No more howlers to report.
One rule of good writing is that each character has his own voice – his own speech patters. Mr Palov goes a little overboard here. The hero, Caedmon Aisquith (British, naturally) talks like a typical English butler. His helping hand, his Dr Watson, Edie (of the possible quote above), talks like a precocious teenager.
Along the way, they meet an East Coast Indian. His first name is Tonto. Really. Tonto has a grudge against the white man for something that happened in the 1600s.
The Bad Guy, the assassin of the quote on page 39, is chasing our intrepid heroes across the country. It’s beginning to look a little like a Roadrunner cartoon. Every time he tries to kill Caedmon, something goes wrong, and Caedmon and Edie get away.
Overall, though. Palov’s web of historical intrigue – pulling together the Knights Templar, the Inquisition, the Freemasons. a hidden treasure buried in America – aren’t just a story cobbled together from unconnected parts. They are historically connected.
Palov spins a yarn that makes the tenuous connections seem plausible.