SPOILERS - SPOILERS - SPOILERS
This was the second book I have read by Raymond Khoury. I came across Raymond Khoury at a library sale where two of his books were in the religious fiction category. Overall I enjoyed the story very much as well as the subject matter. As a conspiracy buff, I was definitely attracted to the secret society verses the Roman Church plot line. As a student of the Bible, I felt the author was a little sloppy with his Biblical history. On page 92 we read a very sketchy version of the building of the two Temples in Jerusalem. The book states that the first Temple was started by David after God's command and completed by Solomon. In reality, according to the only historical account, David desired to build a Temple for God but God would not allow it as David had shed too much blood. God declared that Solomon would build the Temple. David did gather the building materials and began the manufacturing of the items used in the Temple, but the Temple itself was completely constructed under Solomon's command. The book also leads the reader to believe that immediately after Solomon's death, Israel was invaded. This did not happen for hundred's of years after the death of Solomon. Also, the book inaccurately states that the second Temple was built by King Herod. The second Temple was constructed under the command of Ezra the priest as recorded in the Old Testament account of Ezra. Herod later added on to the existing Temple. While this may seem nit picky on my part, a book dealing with history should at least get it's facts straight. When I read this mishandling of history I was unable to fully rely on the veracity of the rest of the historical content of the book.
The basic story is the power struggle between the Vatican and the Knight's Templar, during the middle ages. The knights had supposedly uncovered a writing of Jesus Christ in which proved that He was only a man and never claimed divinity nor Messiahship. High ranking members of the Roman Church find out about the writing and due to unbelief on their part, believe it to be genuine without verification and embark on a deadly mission to suppress any knowledge of the book before it destroys the faith of all believers.
The book deals with some very important issues of faith. Also highlighted is the greed and corruption of the Vatican. Unfortunately, Khoury completely ignores protestant Christianity as if it does not exist. Khoury gives the impression that the Roman Church is the only voice in Christianity. Khoury does a great job of exposing the faithlessness of the leadership of the Vatican while being sensitive to the adherents of the Catholic faith, many of whom are devout believers. What Khoury does not handle well is the Bible itself. Presented throughout the book are arguments against the canon of scripture and especially the Gospel accounts. Charges are made concerning the reliability of the 4 gospel accounts in the New Testament. These arguments against the authenticity of the Gospels are easily destroyed by just a little bit of research into the early church. The Gospels were written during a time when many eyewitnesses were still alive who could have, and would have, exposed the writings as fraudulent. The fact that each of the 11 disciples who witnessed Christ's resurrection were killed for their testimony should prove that the testimony of the Gospel writers is true. Who would die defending a lie, certainly not 11 people telling the same lie. Khoury also attempts to bring up other "gospel" accounts that have been proven to be counterfeit writings produced many years after the first apostles were dead.
Overall I enjoyed the story and the plot line. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. One item I felt was unnecessary was the gratuitous sex between the two main characters, it did not drive the plot or contribute to the story in any way, it was disappointing behavior by the male character who made much of his so called faith and relationship with God.
I do not necessarily recommend this book based on the liberal use of foul language and the one sexual encounter that could have definitely been left out. Otherwise, The Last Templar is a fast paced read that will satisfy any mystery/thriller fan.