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Revered for their nobility, their ferocity in battle, and their religious devotion, the Templars were knights of God, free of sin and pure of will.

Well, MOST of them.

Martin isn't exactly the most steadfast or pious knight, but he does manage to escape when the King of France and the pope massacre the Templars and steal their legendary treasure. In fact, Martin rises to the occasion. Ha rallies a small force of surviving Templars, and together the band hatches an audacious plan... to steal the world's greatest treasure out from under the king's nose.

With influences as varied as The Name of the Rose and Ocean's Eleven, Templar is a spectacular adventure story se in a detailed, irresistible medieval backdrop. Gorgeous art from LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland make Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner's Templar a treasure in itself.

473 pages, Hardcover

First published May 11, 2010

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About the author

Jordan Mechner

26 books48 followers
Jordan Mechner is an author, graphic novelist, video game designer, and screenwriter. He created Prince of Persia as a solo game developer in the 1980s, joined forces with Ubisoft to relaunch the series in 2003 with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and adapted it as a 2010 live-action film for Disney. Jordan's books include his game development journals The Making of Karateka and The Making of Prince of Persia, the graphic novels Templar (a New York Times bestseller) and Monte-Cristo. His games include Karateka and The Last Express. In 2017, he received the Pioneer Award from the International Game Developers Association. @jmechner on Instagram, Facebook, Mastodon and Twitter.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 264 reviews
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,376 reviews1,431 followers
October 29, 2016
Templar: a graphic novel about the dissolution of that famous order and the struggle for the legendary treasure that they left behind. A couple of weeks ago, I read the first book in this series and I enjoyed it more than this complete volume. It was the ending that diminished my enjoyment of it the most, which I won't get into because I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but that was really my issue. Mechner ties up the major plot points, but I didn't like how he did it- at all.

Like the other book, this contains adventure, daring rescues, and amusing "heist movie" type moments. We've also got a strong female lead in Madame De Chalancon (love interest) who is actually very hard core for a 12th century woman. She's sneaking out at night and running around with the guys, stealing horses, manipulating the powerful men around her, kissing people- I mean, that kind of stuff could have gotten her burned as a heretic or witch back then. So, that was good and the other characterizations are solid. The illustrations aren't gorgeous (compared to Monstress #1 or Saga, Volume 1) but those are considered adult graphic novels while this one is marketed for the teen set.

Which reminds me, there's a whole scene that takes place in a Turkish steam bath that some parents may find objectionable. I'd let my kid read it, but she's a girl and has the parts that are revealed through the steam and also, I'm a librarian, and I don't censor stuff. But yeah, there's some (very tasteful) nude females, torture scenes, hand to hand combat, men being burned at the stake, arrows through limbs... I honestly think that this may have been better as a mature book than a watered down PG13, but it is what it is.

Still, it is a fun story and semi-educational in that some of the people featured in this book were actual historical figures. Mechner includes his sources in the back and also some recommended reading. I think I'm going to look into Foucault's Pendulum, which I've never read, but Mechner gives high praise.

Some more graphic novels that teens may enjoy are The Guild (ties in to the show of the same name) or the surprisingly fun, Nimona.
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,376 reviews1,431 followers
October 12, 2016
I almost flipped out over this series today because I went to request the second book and found that it was never published. Not to be deterred, I used my mad librarian skillz and discovered that, after the release of Solomon's Thieves, the publisher bound all of the issues together rather than releasing them one at a time. The continuation to this story is found in the graphic novel: Templar. Crisis averted. And what is this comic about?

Solomon's Thieves is a fun romp through 1300's Paris at the time of the Templar's disbanding and destruction. The focus of the story is on a knight named Martin. He was unlucky in love and joined the order to change his life, which he manages to do. But, on the Templar's return from an unsuccessful campaign in the Holy Land, after a wild night of drinking and some bad choice making in Paris, he ends up not being present when his brethern are arrested by the French king, Philip the Fair. The adventure really starts when the king's men discover that the fabled treasure of the Templars is not in their church/compound. Martin, after a series of misadventures and a chance meeting with some unsavory characters, decides to find out where that treasure is and steal it back.

Bit of trivia: the Paris Templars were arrested on Friday, October 13th, 1307. So, 709 years ago tomorrow. Now, you know.

From the introduction: "From humble beginnings the Knights Templar rose to become the most powerful military monastic order of the medieval world. Pledged to protect pilgrims during the Crusades, the Templars become heroes to Christians everywhere. Their fighting prowess was legendary. ... But the Crusades were an expensive, blood-soaked failure. In 1291, after two centuries of warfare, the Muslims drove the Christian armies from the Holy Land once and for all. For the Templars, it was the beginning of the end..." Goosebumps!

I'd consider this a PG13 level comic because of some rough language, non-graphic violence (dude sticks his sword through the chest of a guy in one of the panels, but there isn't blood everywhere), and some, again non-graphic, torture scenes.

The afterward by Jordan Mechner is fantastic. Not only does he give the actual history that he based the comic on, but also the sources that he used to research it. Huge librarian thumbs up from me. :) "Like Western gunslingers or Japanese samurai, their legend grew, and it attracted new recruits, donations, and privileges. By their peak in the thirteenth century, the Templars had grown into a religious, military, and banking organization whose assets, power, and reach rivaled any of the kings of Europe. They were the Jedi of their time. Their incredible downfall rocked the world. Its echoes reverberate to this day." pg 135

If you enjoyed this comic, you may like: The Religion by Tim Willocks (regular book- not a graphic novel, very bloody, for adults only) or The Knights Templar: Discovering The Myth And Reality Of A Legendary Brotherhood by Susie Hodge (regular book also- non-fiction but in-depth examination of the templars).
Profile Image for Pat the Book Goblin .
423 reviews124 followers
November 12, 2019
This was a lot of fun. I love historical fiction and reading a novel set in the Medieval Ages is right up my alley!! This 400+ page graphic novel was such a joy to read. The knights, monks and ladies in this were all great characters. There was just enough comedy, battles, love, religion, scandal, and treasure to make it a perfect story.

What really upsets me about the knights Templar is that they were established by the pope and then excommunicated by him based on false rumors of heresy. In the end the pope disbanded the order to make himself look good. I swear the only true Catholics during this time were the commoners and the monks. It seemed everyone else was corrupt and used religion to gain power.

Besides that I really loved this book. It left a bitter sweet feeling at the end. While I was reading it I realized how much I miss books like this and Pillars of the Earth. I need to get back into more historical fiction. I miss it. Great story.
Profile Image for First Second Books.
560 reviews548 followers
Shelved as 'first-second-publications'
August 8, 2013
The first thing to know about Jordan Mechner's TEMPLAR is that it's giant. We publish a lot of graphic novels that are around a hundred pages -- and sometimes they even get up to two hundred!

That is not this book.

It is four hundred and eighty pages long.

The second thing to know about it is that it's a lot of fun!

This book is a crazy heist caper set in the middle ages -- think Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose meets Indiana Jones. It's full of sword fights and lost treasure and narrowly escaping the authorities and all of those things!

This is a great summer read.
Profile Image for Sesana.
5,180 reviews346 followers
October 17, 2013
This is quite a hefty graphic novel. Fortunately, there's plenty of content to justify the length. Set in the early 14th century, Mechner shows the downfall of the Templars from the perspective of some of the rank-and-file, guys who ran while they could. These aren't the Templars of Assassin's Creed, or any of the other conspiracy-soaked tales they've figured in. These Templars are rooted in historical accuracy.

Which is not to say that this is a documentary. Instead, the focus is on Martin de Troyes, his lost love, and the ragtag group of escaped Templars who will help him liberate the Templar treasury, so that King Philippe won't be able to profit from his persecution of the Order. That much is fictional, and it's what drives the book. It puts a frame around historical fact. Which is, to me, far more fascinating than any overhyped conspiracy theory. (No offense to Assassin's Creed, of course, without which I'd have little interest in Templars.)

This is a really enjoyable book, with some likeable and believable characters. It's clear that Mechner did a lot of historical research, and that he has a passion for the subject. He shares the books he drew from at the back, so anybody who reads his graphic novel and gets interested in the subject can read up on the real thing. I think there will be more than a few who will take him up on that.
Profile Image for Forrest.
27 reviews2 followers
August 14, 2013
See the original review as posted on Newsarama on July 15, 2013 here:

Jordan Mechner is probably best known as the person responsible for creating the acclaimed games and movie; yet, his new graphic novel, Templar, fully demonstrates his ability to masterfully weave a tale in still another medium. While many of the popular histories and works of historical fiction that deal with the Knights Templar focus on the most well-known individuals involved with the holy order’s fall from grace, Mechner eschews recycling their stories and turns to “those figures of no importance” – that is, the common Templar knights and soldiers whose personal experiences were lost amidst the publicly recorded trials and tribulation.

Set against the epic backdrop of a national inquisition, this is a story of a handful of these once-renowned, now turned outlaws - regular people who found themselves caught up in irregular circumstances. Coming in at 472 pages, Templar is an ambitious graphic novel that takes readers on an adventure of near-epic proportions through early 14th Century France. Although it is thick with the history surrounding the Templars and the tensions between the French monarchy and the Papacy during this period, Templar provides an accessible and highly satisfying reading experience for a wide-range of readers.

After the Knights’ unsuccessful attempt to hold Jerusalem and their subsequent loss to the Muslims, they faced growing pressures from the various European rulers who helped finance the unsuccessful campaigns, and Mechner’s story deals with the fallout from this conflict. He provides readers with more than enough background to help readers familiarize readers with these historical events without saturating the panels with exposition. Instead, he applies just the right amount of exposition to aid in setting the ominous tone and creating brooding atmosphere of the book. What makes this book especially enjoyable is how well-rounded it is in terms of the reading experience it delivers as it touches upon action, romance, drama, and suspense.

Although Mechner weaves the grand narrative of the Templars’ fall from grace into his book, the story itself focuses on Martin of Troyes, a low-ranking Templar Knight with a penchant for trouble and drink in spite of his vows to the order. We discover Martin joined the order over a decade before the events of the story when he found the love of his life, Isabelle, betrothed to a noble of a far higher rank and station now since deceased. Upon the knights’ return to their Parisian fortress, Martin sneaks out with two friends for an evening of revelry. Fortunately for them, this was the same night the king ordered the immediate arrest of every Templar and the seizure of their wealth and property leaving them unscathed. Through a series of events, the trio is joined by fellow Templar associates and Isabella herself as they undertake the impossible journey of unearthing the hidden and much sought after treasure of the Templar Knighthood.

In addition to weaving action, romance, mystery, and suspense into this historical fictionTemplar manages to strike a balance between eye-catching, thought-provoking aesthetics while keeping the pace of the narrative moving along at a consistent pace. Many of the pages employ a more standard grid pattern, and given the length of this novel, this is a smart move, as a more deconstructed approach to the visual elements of the story would no doubt bog down many readers. The actions sequences are plentiful, however, and they help pick up the pace in just the right moments.

Additionally, Pham and Puvillard’s unexaggerated, cartoonish style works is one that lends itself to being easily read and enjoyed, but it is not without detail or nuance. The inks applied to each panel often lend to a roughly hewn feeling, as though elements of the art were scratched or carved out of wood - fitting given the period and setting of Templar. Moreover, Sycamore and Campbell work well together in coloring Pham and Puvillard’s illustrations, helping to intensify many of the horrific and harrowing scenes while softening and bringing to life many of the more intimate and more personal moments.

Templar captures just enough of the horrors of war to avoid romanticizing them; yet, it is equally clear that neither Pham nor Puvillard – who provide the illustrations – mistakenly draw focus from the narrative to “cool battle scenes.” One of the opening scenes depicts the Muslims’ siege at Acre. A banner representing the sound of the drums echoes “Boom Boom Boom” across a double-pages spread and each subsequent page until the scene’s end. It is a powerful technique that helps to keep the pace of the narrative moving quickly and underscore the rising action taking place in each ensuing panel. Later in the book, this same scene is powerfully recalled during the trial of the Templar elders outside of Paris. The comparison creates a sensation that is both tragic and chilling.

There is a lot in Templar for readers of all backgrounds to enjoy, and I rather suspect fans of the popular Game of Thrones novels and television series will find much to appreciate in this original graphic novel. While this hardcover novel does have a higher price point than most comic books today (retail price is $39.99), it is still less expensive per page than most comic books on newsstands every Wednesday. More importantly, Templar tells a story of heroism that lends itself to multiple readings that booklovers of all backgrounds will find satisfying many years after their first meeting with Martin of Troyes.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Agnė.
752 reviews58 followers
December 24, 2020
Templar is very well-researched (at least, judging from the afterword) historical fiction about the fall of the Knights Templar in a graphic novel format.

I basically knew nothing about the subject, so I definitely learned a ton from both the story itself and the very informative preface and afterword. However, due to the lack of my familiarity with the subject, all the names, locations, and titles often got confusing. The illustrations didn't help much in that sense because a lot of the characters look and dress kind of the same (basically, white men in robes). Similarly, sometimes it was hard to understand where the characters were or the relations between different places because most of the places look similar (especially the medieval castles) and there are a lot of disjointed close-ups but no maps of the area or buildings to establish a "bigger picture" early on in the book.

Overall, the story is interesting, especially the heist part, and the main characters are likable, even though we only learn snippets about their pasts. I also love the coloring of the artwork and the bittersweet yet realistic ending. However, I don't really see the need for this story as-is to last close to 500 pages...

Profile Image for Tony.
1,393 reviews71 followers
April 7, 2010
First of all, I guess I should fess up that I'll read pretty much anything published by First Second -- I completely trust their editorial and artistic choices. Which is not to say I love everything they put out, but that I will give it a chance, and generally come away satisfied. This particular book jumped out at me because the cover art seems to indicate the kind of swashbuckling sensibility I have a weakness for, and it has to do with the Crusaders. I grew up the Middle East and have visited a ton of castles and other Crusades-related sites, so things of that ilk tend to interest me. (I'm not, however, generally interested in the whole Templar conspiracy thing, which seems to have grown from a cottage industry into a full-fledged multinational, multimedia juggernaut.)

The story here takes place among a group of French Templars, living in the Paris Temple on the outskirts of the city. One of these is Martin, who is down in the dumps after setting eyes on his old flame (she married another man 12 years earlier, prompting him to join the holy brotherhood). His two pals convince him to sneak into the city after hours for a little R&R to soothe his pain, and it just so happens that while they're away, a royal edict to arrest all Templars is carried out, leaving them some of the few free Templars in France. The rest of the story is more or less devoted to Martin's attempts to keep out of the clutches of the king's men, while also telling the history of how the kings of France and England moved to squash the power of the order and seize its sizable assets.

The book is the first of a projected trilogy, and as such, it has to do the heavy lifting of establishing the setting, characters, etc. This can make things a bit awkward at times -- for example, Martin's two Templar friends are very important in the first half of the book, but then pretty much disappear for rest of it. Their place is taken by another pair of similarly rougish allies. Along the same lines, a rather conventional subplot involving Martin and his former flame starts to develop and then also disappears -- presumably, like his first set of friends, to show up later in the trilogy. The whole framing of the book as part of a trilogy is kind of problematic in general since there's nothing on the outside of the book gives to tell the prospective reader/buyer that it's the first in a trilogy. In fact, the jacket copy is totally misleading. It reads "A group of renegade knights, back from the Crusades, band together to pull off the greatest heist the medieval world has ever seen." The thing of it is, the heist doesn't happen in this book -- it's going to be the second book!

Finally, while I recognize that this is a work of fiction, and thus gets to play fast and loose with truth, it's a slippery slope when the plot is built around real events. The jacket copy quoted above states that the heroes are back from the Crusades. The book opens with a section showing the fall of Acre in 1291, and then skips ahead to Paris, 1307. Martin and his friends are shown in these early pages walking the streets of Paris complaining that they ate better food while overseas. But Martin elsewhere says he joined the Templars 12 years ago (ie. 1295), which is after the Crusades were effectively over (the fall of Acre is generally regarded as the nail in the coffin), so the chronology doesn't really make much sense.

But truth be told, these are all quibbles -- the story is meant to be a swashbuckling adventure in the tradition of Pere Dumas, and it certainly is. The artwork is bold, the coloring vivid without being gaudy, and the paneling flows quite well. My only true complaint is that the story is broken into thirds, so that we have to wait several years for the rest of the trilogy. I can understand from a publishing perspective why it's done that way, but I like my historical adventures to be self-contained epics, rather than small bites.
Profile Image for Zedsdead.
1,089 reviews64 followers
January 4, 2020
A fictional heist/adventure tale set amidst the brutal true-history dismantling of the Knights Templar in 1307 France. It reads like Ocean's Eleven meets Schindler's List.

Apparently the King of France was heavily in debt to the Templars and jealous of their wealth and popularity. In a historically brazen act of treachery he had all the Templars in France arrested one night, charged them with heresy, fraud, idolatry, apostasy, gay orgies, and spitting on crucifixes, tortured confessions out of them, then burned them at stakes.

Mechner manages to construct a tense, rollicking caper story around this gruesome history lesson. A few of the more rascally knights escape the inquisition and plot to steal the legendary Templar treasure hoard out from under the king's nose in retaliation for the gross injustices.

Templar and I got off to a bad start. The landscapes are gorgeous but the people look cartoony. And while I don't need my Templar stories to actually be in 14th century Parisian French, I found that the Shut-up!-No-you-shut-up! 21st-century-teenager nature of the dialogue frequently knocked me out of the story.

But the plot was actually pretty clever. I loved how one character extracted the location of a prisoner from her powerful brother while making him think she was doing him a favor; it worked. The location of the hidden treasure and the problems they encountered and surmounted were interesting and plausible. There's a great panel where a character--tasked with saving the Templars, and failing badly--is walking head down to the left while wind is blowing all the trees to the right; great visual. And I accidentally absorbed some fascinating history along the way. Can't go wrong with that.
Profile Image for Jonathan Maas.
Author 26 books320 followers
September 27, 2017
Cinematic Feel, Historical Epic

In this graphic novel from Jordan Mechner, the guy behind Prince of Persia, both the game and the movie - we take on the Templars during their fall.

Mechner chooses not the main Templars, but the anonymous ones, choosing to witness the fall of these warriors from the hidden corners of anonymity.

And what a tale! Mechner brings his cinematic feel to the graphic novel, so adroitly illustrated by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland. There's a bit of humor to ease things through this intense medieval tale, and there's quite a bit of action.

If anything, it reminds me of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, in the sense that it is a deep piece of history, with characters that are highly likeable to make it accessible to a modern audience.

Any case - great book! I recommend it!
Profile Image for E.B.K.K..
466 reviews38 followers
December 15, 2022
The story is flimsy and spread thin over almost 500 pages. The characters are bland and interchangeable and the drawing style makes them all look the same, so it's very hard to follow. Nothing stands out apart from a few beautifully drawn buildings like the Notre Dame and the Châtelet. Overall, boring.
Profile Image for May.
446 reviews34 followers
January 27, 2015
Having read the first book (Solomon's Thieves) of this 400+ page graphic novel late last year, I was simply relieved that my public library purchased the entire book as I cannot find a listing for either books 2 or 3 mentioned anywhere. Yes, this is a lengthy graphic novel, but don’t let the length dissuade you.

For the most part, the book was an entertaining swashbuckler. The overall storyline has a good mix of action and suspense with a dash of romance but the political intrigue is quite tepid. In this sense, I was disappointed. To me, one of the greatest medieval mysteries is not what treasure that the Templars were hiding but why the Templars were caught so off guard by the political maneuvering that led to their members’ arrests and the eventual disbandment of their order. All we get as an explanation is that the French king covets the wealth of the Templars and wants it so he can pay his army to fight in an upcoming war. As a result, the story becomes essentially a heist, ala a medieval Ocean's 11 (note: I only counted 7 would-be thieves in the book so really it's more like Ocean's 7).

As for the characters, I have to admit that I was not a huge fan of either Martin or Isabelle, the hero and heroine. Perhaps it is because the reader is left wondering about their past romance. You are simply left with some vague misunderstanding between the two leading her to believe he abandoned her to join the Templars and him thinking she married for money. When the two meet again after so many years, they spend more time bickering about past grievances that it was almost difficult to see why fell in love with each other in the first place. Even the introduction of Bernard as a potential love interest for Isabelle which is meant to fuel Martin's jealousy, was lost on me as I personally thought Isabelle did not need either of these two men in her life. From what I could tell, the author did such a terrific job of portraying an independent strong-willed heroine that in some ways, the "twist" at the end should not have come as a surprise. In any case, the character that I wanted to read more about was really Salim whose self-imposed exile and dogged determineness to help his fellow disgraced Templars to steal back the treasure made him a much more intriguing character.

If someone was looking to read a good historical graphic novel set in the Medieval period with a focus on action and suspense, then you should check out this book. Even though the publisher is marketing it towards a young audience, I think adults will enjoy it as well.
Profile Image for Dergrossest.
424 reviews19 followers
August 10, 2016
If there is any more fertile foundation for a story than the Knights Templar, I do not know what it is. Holy and profane, soldiers and businessmen, saviors and slaughters, the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon were the sword and shield of Christianity for almost 200 years as they fought the infidel from Spain to Syria. Unfortunately for the Templars, the infidels proved to be far less of a menace to their existence (and to Christianity itself) than their fellow Christians who ultimately betrayed them in the 14th Century by torturing them into false confessions of the most vile sort, executing many of them, stealing all of their holdings and disbanding their Holy Order. This book tells part of that story in a swashbuckling tale of lost treasure, lost love and a lost world.

While the author is definitely not Alexander Dumas, this book is a pleasure to read as the story is tightly told and contains a very informative forward, afterward and bibliography. The artwork is simply wonderful. The author is a screenwriter and the graphic novel format is an excellent vehicle for his expression. The book is a physical pleasure to hold and even the hardcover jacket is perfectly done – do not read this on a Kindle!

This is a fun gateway book for children of all ages which will hopefully spark some interest in the Middle Ages, which are far more interesting and relevant than the Middle Earth. Recommended.
Profile Image for April.
2,101 reviews950 followers
June 8, 2013
Templar by Jordan Mechner appealed to me mainly because it made me nostalgic for my nerdy past. Seriously, the Knights Templar are hella interesting — even without all the conspiracy stuff and I say that as someone who was able to fill a 15 page paper on the subject of the Templars in college. #humblebrag So, yeah, I absolutely knew I needed to read this book and although it’s fiction, it was well researched and really breathed life into a fascinating bit of history. I mean, come on you guys. There’s this big huge order of knights and they are powerful and awesome, until one day King Phillip is like, oh fuck this, they have wayyyy too much power, so he puts them on trial and basically has the Templars hunted down and jailed and many executed on trumped up crimes. As a modern day reader, I am all about historical conspiracy books, even when they are clearly based in fiction. So, Templar was a graphic novel (yay pictures) that gave me a historical setting and freakin’ a HEIST. YES.
Read the rest of my review here
Profile Image for Jamais.
Author 12 books2 followers
June 12, 2013
The Templars will always be one of the most mysterious groups despite what we learn about them. Martin is a dyed-in-the-wool //Templar//, with an almost naïve belief in his sect. This belief is all but shattered when the Templars are captured under suspicion of doing some nefarious deeds and tortured. Martin escapes but is soon captured and tortured himself. He is sprung so he can help find a treasure. What soon follows is a medieval version of Ocean’s 11, as Martin and his allies must grab the treasure from under the nose of the person that engineered the downfall of the Templars.

This is a gorgeously illustrated book, with a loving eye to the minor details. The plotting is tight, with almost no fat; when there does appear to be fat, it quickly turns into something more solid. The pacing is pretty is generally laid back, true to its medieval setting, but when it gets going it gets going. There are some areas where it gets a little cliché, but the characters are so strong that they are quickly ignored. It’s a thick book, but it is a great light read on a sunny day.

As originally written by Jamais Jochim for the http://sanfranciscobookreview.com/.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,651 followers
May 6, 2019
My friend Kara gifted me this graphic novel when she was done with it, and it's an interesting read, but I'll definitely be passing it along as well. Templar has a really cool plot and the art's fantastic. My only issue is that I felt no connection to the characters, aside from the sole female character in the bunch. Admittedly, it's a bit outside of my typical reading, so I liked this quite a bit, but I didn't love it and I doubt I'll remember it too much in a couple weeks.
Profile Image for L.D..
1,554 reviews1 follower
July 24, 2011
If I could give out half stars I would rate this graphic novel 3.5 out 5 but since that's not possible I simply rounded up. If I were about six to ten years younger this graphic novel would have definitely rated a solid 4 stars.

The plot is straightforward enough: manipulation of king leading to arrest of noble and good knights for their money leading to a few knights escaping leading to hidden treasure leading to mystery, adventure, and a quest to find and transport the treasure. It's a pretty basic formula for a lot of story lines, but what makes this one so interesting is how it's based on the facts of history. This isn't a fantasy story where the knights are fighting off dragons and witches; they are up against politics, bureaucrats, human greed, and a not so noble religious order.

What I really liked about the story was how easy it was to become engaged with. Since it's only the first book in the series a lot of the story was getting the plot set up and ready to develop, but the set up never became boring or tedious. Likeable, if predictable, characters were easy to identify and you can see the room they have to grow. Hopefully we'll see more character development and personality growth in the next book; I would like to see them come into their own.

The artwork was wonderful in it's detail and style. It worked very nicely with the dialogue and expanded the written text. I've come across comics before where the story line was lost due to confusing panels and drawings, thankfully I was spared that annoyance with Solomon's Thieves.

The real beauty of this book is it's dive into history. It's easy to follow along and I can see kids and teens who know nothing of the downfall of the Templers becoming curious and interested in the story and history. The writer does a wonderful job in the Afterwards of explaining a little more in depth the events taking place outside the storyline with a detailed reading suggestion list and bibliography.

I am definitely going to give this graphic novel to my younger siblings in middle and high school. It is a fun read that promotes having strength in your principles despite overwhelming adversity while at the same time bringing some history to life.

Profile Image for Kendal.
139 reviews13 followers
May 9, 2013
It is going to be very difficult to find the words to describe how many I love this book; but, I’m going to try. Everything about this book is amazing. From the story, to the characters, and to the powerful images, this is a perfect book. I found it to be incredibly rich in historical detail, both in the story and the illustrations. From the first page of the forward where Jordan Mechner compares the Knights Templar to Jedi Knights, I knew I was hooked.. After reading that, I could not put it down!

The story in Templar is very intense and fast-paced. You are watching men who have been tortured and forced to renounce everything they believe trying to survive with their honor. Mechner, Pham and Puvilland were able to capture the absolute horror of the demise of the Knights Templar. The illustrations powerfully depicted how the knights were forced to confess their alleged crimes through torture. The images are subtle but at the same time horrifying.

Throughout Templar, these surviving knights are struggling to redeem themselves to their beloved Order. The main character, Martin, continued to see ghostly, fallen knights that would lead him to his salvation. I found those images very powerful.

Templar is not all violence and gore. There is humor and a bit of romance as well. There were many times I was laughing at loud at some of the antics of the knights. I liked the use of humor to lessen some of foulness surrounding the characters. Along with the romance, there is a bit of a love triangle which also lessens the dark storyline. It is a very bittersweet love story.

Templar is such a unique read. I had never seen historical fiction in the graphic novel format. It was a truly amazing reading experience. I loved every page!
Profile Image for Natalie.
477 reviews12 followers
December 9, 2015
I was really excited when I saw how long this graphic novel was - too often, comics rush through their plots and character development and I couldn't wait to read a graphic novel that was allowed significantly longer space than usual. Templar didn't disappoint. It's action-packed and based on significant historical research. Especially during the last two books, we really get to know the characters, which allows readers to connect with them in ways that, sometimes, characters in comics don't speak to me. Awesome!

Personally, I found the first book a bit slow and dry - there were a lot of faces and names, and it was difficult to keep everyone straight. The romance was also a little boring. It was very predictable; I saw all of it coming and, as is often the case in TV/comics/books, the female character is all about sex appeal. I wish her role had been a bit less sexualized.

Despite this, the ending didn't disappoint.

For fans of action stories, this is a great read. Historical fiction fans will be especially pleased with the in-depth bibliography included by Mechner.
Profile Image for Hilary.
2,244 reviews50 followers
January 10, 2014
The combination of graphic novel format and Knights Templar as the focus of the story will appeal to a solid reader base. However, although the artwork is consistent and the pacing is reasonable, the nearly 500-page volume provides little insight into the actual brotherhood of the Knights Templar and is a predictable re-hash of a them-us adventure story pitting poor peasants against the evil aristrocracy.

Despite the length of the book, reluctant readers may be drawn to this historical fiction novel -- partly due to the graphic novel format, but also by its unique subject matter. Created by the same team that crafted the very successful graphic novel “Prince of Persia,” the plot involves unjust religious persecution, a lighthearted love triangle, strong friendships, and a treasure hunt. Suggested reading for more history of the Knights Templar is included, with further insights offered in the author notes.

Martin de Troyes is a good knight who reluctantly joins up with villains in order to survive. He leads the quest to find the Templar’s treasure, aided by the Archduke’s sister Isabel, Martin’s former love. The King’s advisor, Gullame de Nogaret, will stop at nothing to destroy the Templars in the race to discover the hidden treasure trove.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,470 reviews54 followers
May 14, 2014
This one had a very Road to Eldorado vibe to it with some disreputable types pulling off a treasure hunt. Except of course for the fact that these are Templar knights on the run from capture, torture, and death.

Martin and his friends are just your average guys in the Templars. They've signed up for various reasons, some purer than others, but all consider themselves apart of this big, Christian family. Then, all of a sudden, they are wanted men and the order is being accused of all kids on heinous things. The author states in his preface that he had seen no story or movie about that particular event and certainly not from the point of view of your average knight. It's an adventure story with this terrible backdrop but it brings all the relationships, fraternal and otherwise, to the front that much more. These people are quick to turn on each other when faced with death or torture, but there are also those who stand together. The price they pay for that is sometimes the same in the end so the question is how would you rather face that?

Heavy but lighthearted all at once, Templar is a great and satisfying read about a brotherhood that falls but also about how it endures and survives the fires too.
Profile Image for Kara.
Author 23 books73 followers
August 30, 2013

So, yeah, I said I wasn’t going to read this, but forget I had already put a hold on at it at the library, so when it came in, I figured, ‘might as well…’

Mechner is a script writer and computer game designer and it really shows. This story would have made a good movie or game with the chases and exposition and treasure hunt, but it doesn’t quite get pulled off in graphic novel format.

Lots and lots and lots of intro and talking and set up and introduction and then plunging into chases and fighting.

On top of that its extremely depressing to watch an act of extreme injustice playing out as the Templars are destroyed, with the main characters able to do nothing.

The tone is off, with nudity jokes on one page and then characters immolated on another page. Is this a bank heist caper or soul sucking drama? Make up your mind, Mechner!

The plot doesn’t really take off until more than halfway through, but the tone keeps shifting wildly, although it keeps sliding more and more towards ‘incredibly depressing and horrible.’

Warning: Downer ending.
Profile Image for Mark.
230 reviews28 followers
June 18, 2013
Highly entertaining account of a dark period in history, the politically motivated arrests and trials of the Templar knights, a legion of highly trained and devout soldiers who fought the Crusades. The novel presents a great balance of historical fact and creative license, and the preface and afterwords offer tremendous bookends to the story. Because of the complex politics that surrounded the trials, there are points when the plot becomes thicker and a little more convoluted. The artwork is incredible, particularly the action sequences, but again, with a more complex plot come more characters; as a result, there were moments when I found myself confusing characters, and blending some together. Still, once the heist gets going (think a Middle Ages version of Ocean's Eleven), the plot picks up speed, and the book races towards a great conclusion. Highly recommended, for history buffs and beyond.
Profile Image for Harold Ogle.
309 reviews43 followers
April 30, 2013
This is a compelling graphic novel telling the first part of a story set during the end of the Templars at the dawn of the 14th century. In telling the story of a few Templars who escaped the persecution, we see the larger story of the blacklisting first of France and then the Pope. It's a tidy introduction to the history, as well as being an adventure story and showing the beginnings of a heist story to boot. The artwork is evocative and expressive, the emotions conveyed well (aided considerably by great coloring by Hilary Sycamore). I found the whole package compelling enough that I'd gladly read any book that followed it...unfortunately, it seems that the next volume was never published separately. Instead, I'll need to find Templar, which is a larger graphic novel volume that tells (hopefully) the whole story.
Profile Image for Chris.
96 reviews30 followers
October 21, 2016
I tried to enjoy this book, truly I did! Graphic novels take a lot of effort, that much I understand, and I know I could never make something like this. But alas, it was cliches heaped upon cliches heaped upon cliches. One of the reasons I love to read graphic novels so much is to avoid cliches, but really, I could've gotten this same story and these same characters from a summer flick you'd see once, shrug your shoulders, and never watch again.

I really do hate saying that; I know making a graphic novel is super hard, especially if it's colored and ESPECIALLY if it's a big ol' bastard like this, but reading it, honestly, felt like a chore. I hope other people will get the enjoyment I did not.
Profile Image for Kara.
Author 23 books73 followers
August 19, 2013

Despite the setting of a massacre, the beginning and the description made it seem like this was going to be a medieval style heist story – lots of planning and robbing the rich and beating complicated security and quips.


It’s all set up – an entire volume and nothing happens. The impetus is the destruction of the Templers, but besides that horrible historical moment, it’s just an elaborate introduction of characters and maybe a little tantalizing glimpse of plot.

Doesn’t stand on its own, and not worth pursuing further.
Profile Image for Jory.
412 reviews
March 1, 2015
3.5 --Love the premise here that it's the men who don't follow all the rules who often survive history (as shown by the Templars that are the protagonists here). The end came fast, and was sort of heartbreaking, really, but there wasn't enough time given for that to all sink in. Also wish I could have been more convinced that the Knights Templar were in the right. Am very interested in the commentary here of history/politics -- there are a lot of things going on in this book, and I did LOVE the illustrations.
Profile Image for David Schwan.
1,014 reviews33 followers
March 14, 2015
Nicely done graphic novel giving a possible story about the missing treasure of the Knights Templar. Focuses on a small group of Templar's who eluded the imprisonment of the Templar's. While fictional this book avoids the conspiracy side of the Templar's story. Nice graphics.
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