The Last Templar

The Last Templar

infobox Book |
name = The Last Templar
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = A secret lost for a thousand years. A deadly race to keep it buried.
author = Raymond Khoury
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = Great Britain
language = English
series =
genre = Suspense, Mystery novel
publisher = originally by Ziji Publishing paperback by Orion Books
release_date = 2005
english_release_date = 2005
media_type = Print (Paperback Hardcover)
pages = 404 pages
isbn = ISBN 0752879685
preceded_by =
followed_by =

The Last Templar is a 2005 novel by Raymond Khoury. It was on the New York Times bestseller list for 22 months. [ [ "The Last Templar - by Raymond Khoury".] ]

Back Story

(The historical backstory is interspaced throughout the novel. The summary presented below is in chronological order for ease of understanding.)

In 1291 C.E., following the fall of Acre, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem to the Saracens, a small party of Knights Templar leave the city with a small chest. Their ship, the Falcon Temple, is damaged in a storm at sea and sinks. One of the Knights is mortally wounded in the event; he dies on land after hiding a small leather pouch under a gravestone. He charges the remainder of the ship's company to deliver an encoded letter to the Head of the Templars.

The last surviving Knight reaches Paris in 1314, just in time to see the Grand Master being burned at the stake after refusing to reveal the location of the Templars' treasure. The last Knight commits himself to maintaining the legend of the Templar's threat to the Roman Catholic Church.

Plot summary

In the present, four people on horseback dressed as Templars storm New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art during its exhibition of "The Treasures of the Vatican". The raid results in injury and death; most of the artifacts on display are either destroyed or stolen. Most notable is the very reverent theft of a multigeared rotor encoder.

Tess Chaykin, an archaeologist, survives the raid, but is bothered by something mouthed by the leader of the Templars as he stole the encoder: "Veritas vos liberabit." After a fruitless Internet search to figure out the significance of the cryptic phrase, Chaykin visits a former colleague who informs her that the phrase has Templar connections (it was carved into a Templar castle in France), and advises her that pursuing the inquiry further requires an expert on the Templars. Tess decides to locate William Vance, an old friend who happens to be MIA.

One of the Met raiders, Gus Waldron, tries to sell a stolen piece to antique dealer Lucien Boussard. The dealer tips off the FBI about Waldron's connection to the museum raid.

The following day, Waldron notices the cops surrounding Lucien's store. Correctly assuming Lucien was behind this, he sets the antique store proprietor on fire and uses him as cover to get to a taxi. He kills the driver and flees, with the FBI, including the agent in charge of the case, Sean Reilly, in pursuit. The chase ends when Waldron accidentally plows into a storefront, leaving him severely injured.

In hospital a man, unaffiliated with the police, tortures Waldron into revealing that he was hired by one Branko Petrovic for the Met job, and then kills Gus. The man finds Branko, tortures him into revealing the name of a third conspirator, and consequently kills Branko and his co-conspirator.

Tess finds Vance, and realizes that he was the fourth horseman in the museum. He explains that he has used the stolen encoder to decode a truly shocking manuscript from the Templar castle in France. He is interrupted by Monsignor de Angelis, an Archbishop helping the FBI investigate the Met incident. While Vance fights with the Monsignor, Tess escapes with some of Vance's papers.

Tess shows Reilly the papers and he has them photographed. He then decides to find Vance. As soon as he leaves, Tess gets a call from her mother, explaining that Vance was at her house. Once she arrives at home, she gives Vance back his papers, and he leaves, content.

Upon discovering that everything entering the United States was X-rayed, Reilly finds an image of the encoder at JFK Airport, its port of entry for the ill-fated Met exhibit. This information is sufficient to build a working replica of the encoder, which decrypts a letter from one of the Knights Templar about the fall of Acre which the FBI photographed. Tess is intrigued by its mention of a place called Fonsalis, and discovers that it was located in Turkey.

Tess and Reilly travel to Turkey and find a small leather pouch hidden in the ruins of a church. The pouch is stolen by Vance and its contents are revealed to be an astrolabe, an ancient navigational instrument. Men from the Vatican start shooting at them and kill their guide and Vance’s thugs. Tess, Reilly and Vance escape with the astrolabe; Vance reveals that there was a chest on the Falcon Temple when it sank, and the three discuss what could be inside it. The astrolabe can be used to locate the sunken ship.

Tess and Vance leave to find the Falcon Temple; Reilly is taken to the Vatican by one of its guerilla-priests, who happens to also be a CIA operative. Cardinal Brugnone reveals that the Templars possessed the diary of Jesus, in which he claimed to be a man and not divine.

Tess and Vance find the Falcon Temple just as a major storm blows in. The Templars' chest is hidden in the falcon-shaped figurehead of the ship. Vance recovers the figurehead but it is lost again when his boat is attacked. It turns out that the Vatican has pursued them, and wants to stop the recovery. De Angelis fires a cannon at Vance's boat and sinks it. Reilly, who is on the Vatican's boat, shoots De Angelis and then jumps overboard and uses a life raft to find Tess. Tess wakes in a hospital room on a small Greek island, to find Reilly badly hurt and in a coma. She walks around the island and, improbably, finds the figurehead with the chest inside containing the diary of Jesus, but is unable to read its Aramaic script. Reilly awakens from his coma and Tess takes him to a deserted hilltop to show him the diary. Vance, who has also survived the shipwreck, steals the diary, but then stumbles over a poorly-signposted cliff. Vance is killed when he falls off the cliff, taking the diary with him. Reilly finds one page of the diary at the top of the cliff and picks it up, but Tess, who has decided that the world is better off without knowledge of the diary, throws the last remaining page into the ocean.


Martin of Carmaux

Martin is in the secondary plot of the story and is a Templar. After his mentor Aimard dies he is to take a message to the Grand Master, but after many perils he is captured in Tuscany and forced into slavery for years before returning to France.

Tess Chaykin

Tess is an archaeologist and was in the museum when it was attacked. She is a main part in discovering where the pouch is and after she befriends Reilly they go together to Turkey to find the pouch.

ean Reilly

Reilly is an FBI agent and is appointed the case of the attacking of the museum. After capturing Gus and finding the other two people who attacked the museum dead he befriends Tess. He is of catholic beliefs.

Gus Waldron, Branko Petrovic, Mitch Adeson

These are the three men who with Vance attacked the museum and took the multigeared rotor encoder. The three are killed by a man named Plunkett who is a henchman of De Angelis, who hunts them down and kills each in a different way.

William Vance

Vance is the main antagonist and raids the museum and takes the device. His motives are to release to the world of Christianity that their beliefs are false; he believes that this will be the end of the religion. He wants to do this because a priest advised him and his wife against aborting a high-risk pregnancy. This resulted in the deaths of Vance's wife and unborn daughter. Vance dies after he falls from a ledge after being chased by Reilly.

Monsignor De Angelis

De Angelis is a priest, but also a CIA operative. He is behind the killing of the three raiders and sinks the boat Tess was on to prevent the recovery of the figurehead containing the Templars' chest.


*cite book | title=The Last Templar | last=Khoury | first=Raymond | authorlink=Raymond Khoury | publisher=Orion Publishing | date=2005
*cite web | url= | title=Book's Official website | accessdate=2006-12-07

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