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The Last Templar (Knights Templar #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  2,064 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
'The most wickedly plotted medieval mystery novels' The Times'

They had all joined taking three vows: poverty, chastity, and obedience...for they were monks: warrior monks, dedicated to the protection of pilgrims in the Holy Land -- until stories spread by an avaricious king who wanted their wealth for his own destroyed the order.
There was one knight, however, who escaped t
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 2nd 1995 by Headline (first published 1995)
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Michael Jecks
Nov 16, 2011 Michael Jecks rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-own
It is hard to be objective as a writer. Anything you read will be measured against other books, other covers, other character sets, and of course your mood when you picked it up.

However, writing objectively about your own work is harder. Last Templar had a dreadful beginning. A copy editor who clearly felt he knew more about the history of the period than the author (he didn't), and who tried to change clothing to colours that didn't exist, who put louvres in the roofs of peasant cottages, who c
John Gaynard
Dec 22, 2011 John Gaynard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Jecks has explained on Goodreads all the problems he encountered while writing this, the first book of his Templar series. I am a fan of everything to do with medieval history, and I really liked The Last Templar, especially the descriptions of the untamed English countryside, as honest subjects of the King hunt down roaming men who terrorize their countrymen. He has a light, but sure, touch with the historical detail. I will read the second in the series, the Merchant's Partner.
I found the early chapters of The Last Templar to be quite hard going as Jeck takes pains to slowly set everything up and explain many aspects of medieval life. Some of these are quite important to our understanding of the plot or of the characters, yet because so much of the explanation is given as description in the early chapters it almost seems to dominate the early part of the novel.

I also thought it strange that Jecks signposts the events that are a key character's motivations early on in
I came into to this book expecting that I would have to fight not to be critical and it actually wasn't all that bad. It was a debut novel for an author who has gone on to right 30 or so books in the series, and as with many debut 'series' novels, they are learning curves for authors. I am always cautious of debut novels. However, you can't always judge the rest of a series based on the first. I can dislike a debut and yet still move on and read the next book and I will do that with this series. ...more
Tony Renner
Apr 04, 2014 Tony Renner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Jecks' The Last Templar (1995), the first in a series of "Medieval West Country Mysteries", fails so spectacularly on so many levels, from simple word choice to characterization to plotting, that it seems as if Jecks had never written a novel before. In fact, it seems as if Jecks had never read a mystery novel before.

Why then did someone publish it? Who would publish thirty one others, the latest as recently as two thousand and thirteen?

No daggers out of four, and I'm pretty sure Jecks
Linda Murray
Jan 17, 2012 Linda Murray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not been reading this long series in order,but I've read most of the books except the early ones. The series is set in the reign of Edward II,and is based in the West Country,although later books are set elsewhere in England as well as France. 'The Last Templar'is unlike the later novels as it deals with local crimes,not the great affairs of state or the royal family. It sets the scene for the series by introducing the characters. I enjoyed this book alot as I found the story easier to fo ...more
Sushan Konar
It is fortunate that I read the later books in the `Knights
Templar' series earlier and not the first one first. Had
that been the case I probably would not have gone back to
another Jecks novel again. This book gives a feeling that
the author has been asked to fill up a certain number of
pages and he's keeping to that. When a murder mystery
goes endlessly meandering describing the events `real-time'
or when the author takes time off (from the main theme)
to wax eloquent about English countrysid
Jan 26, 2009 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical mystery fans
Recommended to Anna by: Edriss
This is the first Michael Jecks book that I've read, and it's the start of the Knights Templar series.

I've read quite a deal of Templar history, so I was very curious to see how it would fit into the historical mystery genre.

As it turns out, the series is set in 13th century England, and the protagonist is a former Templar. There really isn't that much Templar history built into the novel except in flashbacks and character exposition.

The book is written in contemporary dialogue, and a couple o
Janet H
Oct 15, 2011 Janet H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 1st book in Michael Jecks' excellent series of mysteries set in medieval England. Sir Baldwin, a Knights Templar who has returned to England after the destruction of his Order, teams with his new friend, Simon Puttock, a bailiff, to solve mysterious deaths.
This book is not quite as well written as the rest of the series, but it is essential to give you the background of how the two men meet, and of Sir Baldwin's previous life.
Jecks was a quick study as a writer and from the second b
OK, so the story was kind of ok on this one, lost me at the end because it was unnecessarily complicated when it all came down to it. But, my stars, the writing is terrible! I swear, there are so many "as ifs" in this book, I thought I was reading the script for Clueless!! Not everything has to be a simile, Mr. Jecks, sometimes people can actually be turning away because they're deep in thought, not as if they're deep in thought! I really wanted to like this book much more than I did, but the wr ...more
Aug 25, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic murder mystery series set in 14th century England which follows the adventures of the Knight Templar Sir Baldwin Furnshill and his faithful companion Bailiff Simon Puttock. The pair are commissioned to solve murders while often defending against villains and avaricious monarchs. A well-researched, historical page-turner contains about 30 books charting the lives of our heros. I eagerly anticipate the next volume and highly recommend you start at the beginning and read them in ...more
Dec 18, 2015 Dawn rated it liked it
I wasn't expecting to like this book but I was pleasantly surprised.

Sir Baldwin Furnshill was out of town when the king arrested the Templars and the beginning of the book details their demise. Several years later Baldwin has traveled home and along with Simon Puttock, bailiff of Lydford Castle, they investigate several murders.

The writing may be considered a little simple and it takes awhile to get past the set up but all in all I enjoyed the characters of Baldwin and Simon and I look forward t
Cel Jel
Mar 30, 2010 Cel Jel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fact that there was a warrior order frightened me, and also the fact that spin has been around for as long as man, also scared me.
I enjoyed the book, although the thinking that meant that a man went unpunished for a crime left me wondering, would our press let that happen now in the interest of the community? I do not think so.
Feb 19, 2009 Eileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, Medieval murder mystery series. Michael Jeck's attention to historical detail is impressive. In all this series he spends the Introduction on the historic theme of the book and gives you a short bit of the history of the theme. I just love this series.
Jan 31, 2008 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
The first in Jecks's Knights Templar mysteries. Simon Puttock and Sir Baldwin Furnshill are introduced and track down murderers and trail bastons in 14th century Devon. It mayn't be Brother Cadfael, however it's still worth a look.
Jun 13, 2011 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really enjoyed it. I usually prefer the Tudor period for historical fiction as I'm not too familiar with C13th history. AM going to read the rest of his books now.
Kate Forsyth
A very enjoyable medieval murder mystery, with an appealing hero and a puzzling mystery. I'll be trying another of these.
Lyman Flenner
Jan 05, 2017 Lyman Flenner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Murder Mystery set in the 1300's
Jul 08, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes history mysteries
Recommended to Heather by: Rebecca Anderson
All right, to start this review I'll speak about the particular book I read. I borrowed it from my local library, through interlibrary loan. I think I'll be doing a great deal of ILL for now. I just don't have the money or space to own many more books. ILL is a great way of getting to read books that the local library doesn't have on the shelf.

The particular edition I read has some history to it. The price on the back is listed in Pounds! This book was published in the UK! Somehow, it made its w
Melanie Barbarito
Usually I give my abandoned reads three stars or what I consider a neutral rating because I simply might not have been drawn in. But I stopped reading for two reasons. First, there were some repeated grammatical errors that should not have been there. Second, the perspective kept changing between characters, sometimes from paragraph to paragraph, sometimes within paragraphs. I couldn't tell who was supposed to be the main protagonist. I understand there are others in the series, so this author f ...more
Jun 08, 2014 Dyana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Knowing this was a debut novel, reading the reviews which say the series gets much better, finding there are 31 more books in the series, and that I liked this first one, I could only in good conscience give it three stars. It's a medieval murder mystery set in the early 1300's in and near Devon, England.

Simon Puttock has just been promoted as the new bailiff of Lydsford Castle; but before he and his wife Margaret can move there, a series of three separate murder events occurs. 1) A villager na
Simon Mcleish
May 11, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in August 1999.

After reading the three immediate sequels, it is nice to be able to get my hands on The Last Templar. Like many medieval historical novels, and other novels with an interest in the esoteric, The Last Templar deals with the suppression of the Templar order by Philip IV of France and Pope Clement. The motive of greed was hidden by sensational accusations of heresy and witchcraft against the order. (See my review of P.C. Doherty's Ghostly Murders
#1 in the Knights Templar medieval series featuring bailiff Simon Puttock and 'retired' Templar knight Sir Baldwin Furnshill in Devon, UK. The time is 1316, several years after the Templars have been disbanded and disgraced, many of their number tortured and executed at the hands of the Inquisition. Sir Baldwin heads to his boyhood home, Furnshill Manor, to resume duty as the Lord of the manor after the death of his elder brother. Simon, meanwhile, is the brand new bailiff of Lydford Castle and ...more
Benjamin Thomas
For some time now, I've been looking for a new mystery series to begin. I've often seen Michael Jecks' medieval series on the bookstore shelves but I never saw the first one so I kept putting it off. But then a couple of weeks ago I saw The Last Templar at the store and so I used my free coupon and snatched it up.

Right up front I will say I enjoyed reading this book, despite some "first book" flaws. I wish it had had a better editor but I will be reading additional books in the series as I under
Feb 17, 2015 Jc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Templar by Michael Jecks

The first Knights Templar Mystery, The Last Templar, was an outstanding read that I thoroughly enjoyed. As many of you already know, I am a big fan of the Knights Templar and love to get my eyeballs on anything related to the Templars. Obviously, with a book titled like this, my interest is going to be piqued quickly.

Jecks has based his stories around the detective skills of Simon Puttock, the bailiff of Lydford Castle, and his neighbor Sir Baldwin Furnshill, a f
Dec 11, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Medieval Mystery Fans
This, the first book in the "Medieval West Country" Series, was not as gripping as subsequent volumes. Partly, I imagine, because the author was finding his way and partly because he was introducing many of the characters who will appear in later editions.

As always Jecks does a great job of setting the scene and taking us back to the middle ages. It is illuminating to know how people lived back then. Life was a constant struggle for all but the very rich and landed and even those folks lived in
Venetia Green
I gave up reading this medieval murder mystery at page 97 (of 374). Why? In a 14th century hamlet of 7 houses, an investigating knight has just asked of two shepherds "What time did you return last night?" Without hesitation, one answers: "about half past ten o'clock". Oh, did he just consult his wristwatch, mayhap? Or does the tiny local chapel chime out every quarter hour? At this point, I decided that enough was enough. I'd given the book a fair shot, and now I'm allowed to read something les ...more
The Last Templar starts with the mysterious narration of the death of a Templar Knight in France. It also introduces Bailiff Simon Puttock and his wife and daughter, which serves to give us an intimate picture of life in the Middle Ages. Although I found it difficult to get into the story at first, eventually I found the characters and their relationships interesting enough to continue. The plot begins with the horrifying death of a local villager in his burning house Before long a group of merc ...more
Jan 24, 2012 Maura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
first in a series about an ex-Knight Templar (thanks to the Inquisition) who moves into a neighborhood, befriends the new bailiff and helps him solve a mysterious death and track down some bandits.

i'd been meaning to try this series for a while, since my dad had been reading a lot of them. being the anal person that i am, i bought the first book in the series rather than waiting for dad to lend me any of them. to me, it definitely feels like a first book -- like someone who is still figuring out
Mar 15, 2009 Rhonda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ok - it rarely happens, but i didn't finish this one. i tried. at first, i started to skim, and then to skim for dialogue and then i just started reading something else and got immediately hooked and never looked back. i was intrigued when i saw this series by michael jecks. it's a big series and i thought maybe i was on to something, but it turns out that i was on to a sleep aid, and not much more. it wasn't so much that the story was bad. it was ok. the writing was repetitive and there was a l ...more
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Michael Jecks is a best-selling writer of historical novels. The son of an Actuary, and the youngest of four brothers, he worked in the computer industry before becoming a novelist full time in 1994

He is the author of the internationally popular Templar series, perhaps the longest crime series written by a living author. Unusually, the series looks again at actual events and murders committed abou
More about Michael Jecks...

Other Books in the Series

Knights Templar (1 - 10 of 32 books)
  • The Merchant's Partner (Knights Templar, #2)
  • A Moorland Hanging  (Knights Templar, #3)
  • The Crediton Killings (Knights Templar, #4)
  • The Abbot's Gibbet (Knights Templar, #5)
  • The Leper's Return (Knights Templar, #6)
  • Squire Throwleigh's Heir (Knights Templar, #7)
  • Belladonna at Belstone (Knights Templar, #8)
  • The Traitor of St Giles (Knights Templar, #9)
  • The Boy-Bishop's Glovemaker (Knights Templar, #10)
  • The Tournament of Blood (Knights Templar, #11)

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