David Campton's Reviews > Requiem

Requiem by Robyn Young
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's review
Aug 30, 2011

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bookshelves: historical-fiction

At last I've waded my way through the last of Robyn Young's Templar trilogy. My criticisms here are much the same as with the earlier 2: First she doesn't deal with the battle scenes particularly well, her forte is the interior landscape of her characters' thoughts, rather than painting the larger, more gory panoramas that help you visualise what is supposed to be happening when two armies come to blows. Second, she tries to cover too much time and too many key historic events in one book. I know this is supposed to give it some kind of epic sweep, but when her hero just managed to make it home to Scotland in time for William Wallace's epic campaign, my suspension of disbelief collapsed in a heap. It may have been better (and potentially more lucrative) for her to have her hero wrestle with one momentous historical event per book, and spread the action (together with the royalty income and her readers' credulity) over 6-7 books (a la Bernard Cornwell). Finally, whilst she avoids most of the usual conspiracy theory nonsense of other books on the Templars (although leaving the door wide open for them with her conclusion), to my mind, too much of the ethos of the so-called Anima Templi (her own creation) and hence her hero's narrative drive, is shaped by 21st century multi-faith/secular thinking, sitting at odds with the highly superstitious theocracy of the time. With those criticisms in mind, I don't think I'm going to be picking up her recently published book on Robert the Bruce.

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