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The Knights of the Cornerstone
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The Knights of the Cornerstone

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  293 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Calvin Bryson has hidden himself away from the world, losing himself in his work and his collection of rare and quirky books. He never meant to let so much time go by without visiting his aunt and uncle in the tiny town of New Cyprus, California. When he gets there, he'll discover the town's strange secrets and a mysterious group dedicated to preserving and protecting holy ...more
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published December 2nd 2008 by Ace Hardcover (first published 2008)
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Rating details
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Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one --even literary fiction has to be good
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2009, fantasy
To sum it up: What a mess.

I grabbed this off the New Arrivals shelf at the library - it's the sort of book I'd have avoided (I'm wary of post-DaVinci Code books about the Knights Templar and Biblical artifacts, since most of them seem to be hastily slapped together to take advantage of the trend), except it's by a veteran fantasy author I've been intending to check out.

It would have been better off staying on the shelf. It's just shy of 300 pages, and yet it took me days and days to read. As I
May 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Knights of the Cornerstone is a well-crafted and entertaining read that doesn't take a huge amount of brain power to work through. I liked the conceit of a small town on the banks of the Colorado River where California, Arizona and Nevada meet that's populated by modern-day Knights Templar. The book has a bit of everything: mystery, miracles, adventure and romance. I'd love to see a movie made from this book.
Tim Meechan
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can't remember how many years it's been since I last read a Blaylock novel, but I did remember, before starting "The Knight's of the Cornerstone", how much I loved his stories. I also remembered trying to compare his writing to others and deciding that he was totally unique. When I came across this book, saw the author's name, and realized it was new, I was jazzed, and then I read Neil Gaimen's blurb on the front cover, "Blaylock is a true one-of-a-kind original", and knew I had found another ...more
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this more than I did. James Blaylock for me falls into the same category as Jonathan Carroll and Tim Powers - some kind of mythical Americana fantasy - which I sometimes get but sometimes feel like I’m missing the point entirely. I’ve never been a real fan of the whole Knights Templar pseudo-religious mysticism but if done well it can be very interesting. This is still streets ahead of the modern rubbish that’s being circulated these days however.
Ben Babcock
I'm so over Templar fiction.

I was never into Templar fiction per se, but somehow my love for historical fiction and my love for Arthurian fantasy had an incestuous relationship that resulted in an irrational urge to inflict Templar fiction upon myself. I blame Jack Whyte, who writes both Arthurian fantasy and Templar fiction.

That being said, I chose to read The Knights of the Cornerstone. There's even a blurb from Neil Gaiman, one of my all-time favourite authors, on the cover! And on the back c
Jan 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Reading James P. Blaylock is, to me, like talking to an old friend. I tore through so many Blaylock and Tim Powers books in the late '80s and '90s that they became two of the writers whose works I most anticipated. Blaylock and Powers, friends, both trafficked in offbeat fantasy that, once they got a handle on their own strengths, usually uncovered fabulous magics/ghosts/powers in the real world. Powers was the superior writer, but Blaylock's gently odd tales usually had more humor, were more fu ...more
Dan Glover
May 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Some of Blaylock's other works came highly recommended to me so when I saw this one on the shelf, I thought I'd introduce myself to his work. "Knights" is a quirky story with quirky characters which is something I like. However, the mood of the story felt superficial, the descriptions of people and places often seemed heavy handed, and the characters were too under developed to feel any true sympathy for. The overall effect for me was that this is a good idea that needs more work. Unfortunately, ...more
Feb 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Seekers in dark places.
I love this sort of occult history, at least as long as it's fictional - works which give one the sense that vast currents are moving underneath the surface of our quotidian world. The slow revelation of secrets. Theodore Roszak's conspiratarian Flicker springs to mind.

Although Blaylock's entry in this genre never quite jelled for me, I found it entertaining, fast-paced and detail-rich, like an early Tim Powers novel, to drop another name.

The basic story's really pretty simple - Calvin Bryson i
Kate Coombs
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
James Blaylock's fantasy (or magical realism--it borders on that) is so understated that it sometimes seems to move in slow motion. Nevertheless, the guy can write. In this story, a man named Calvin Bryson is asked to bring a package to a little town of New Cyprus in the California desert for his aunt and uncle. It soon turns out that bad guys are after the package, and Calvin is drawn into events having to do with the Knights Templar. I'm afraid most people would be bored by this book, but I ju ...more
Dec 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
I chose this book because the premise is eerily similar to a concept I have for a novel (essentially: A young man visits a remote small town in the California desert, and finds that he is secretly part of an ancient order of knighthood ... magic, adventure and epic battles ensure). But reading this book was a bit like actually visiting a small town isolated in the desert - which is to say, all the people are stand-offish and hard to get to know. The characters, other than the protagonist and vil ...more
William Humphreys
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Usually Blaylock, one of my very favourite writers, mixes and bends genres, conjuring up zany characters and crazy situations with a sure hand, but I feel like he failed here. On the positive side there are some great characters and scenes and the locale is beautifully rendered but overall I found the book to be a disappointing mishmash of crackpot fundamentalist religion, somewhat alarming and sinister isolationist fanatics (as the heroes) and strange mystical garbage.

While Blaylock takes issue
Nov 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Yet again I want half stars available for ratings, as this is a 2.5 star book in my opinion. At times I liked it, at other times it was just ok. It is a fairly quick read, and mixed the fantastic into the everyday quite well, with miracles and ghosts described with an evenhanded style that didn't come across as the sort of "OOH! MAGIC!" experience you get from lesser books.

Calvin, the central character, initially comes across as a typical Blaylock protagonist, in that he manages to quickly get
Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoy Blaylock's off-kilter mysticism. While he's not exactly making a joke of the subject, he definitely has a different take on the far from new subject. Here you will find Knights Templar, religious relics and murderous bad guys, sound familiar? Here, however, the setting is an eccentric small community in California, our hero is an unassuming part-time teacher who collects fifties New Age small press pamphlets and both sides tend more to overalls and pickups, rather than tailored suits and ...more
Jun 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Very enjoyable Knights Templar displaced to the rural Southwest kind of read. The main character is just kind of drifting along before he gets the call from his uncle to visit his dying aunt in New Cyprus, CA. It turns out that New Cyprus is kind of a haven for these rough-and-ready Western knights, who are embroiled in a battle with an evil man with the clear psuedonym of Bob Postum. Calvin is a likable and believable main character, making mistakes left and right. Like all of us, sometimes he ...more
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Started really promising, humorous, intriguing with the box of his uncle and the strange telephone conversations. Slowed down in the middle when the protagonist meets a waitress he really likes. Picked up some speed to end okayish. Liked the overall idea though, some nice characters, but could have been more. I didnt like the whole love affair, it didn't stuck and was a bit out of place and flat. I would have liked a bit more of the initial mysteriousness with the Knights of the Cornerstone grou ...more
Brandon Ives
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I've always meant to read Blaylock, but never got around to it. I'm glad I finally picked up one of his books for a quick enjoyable read. The book is linear and follows a single plot thread, but the writing is smooth and plenty engrossing. The modern day Knights Templar foundation was interesting, and though it's an old trope it's used well here without wandering into the cliche. If you're looking for a good page-turner adventure novel here it is.
Jul 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A variation on a theme that Blaylock has explored before. I don't fault him for that, as others have, but will admit that it is not his very best work. That said, I am a fan of his and I enjoyed this. The quirkiness that makes Blaylock special is reigned in a bit here, or perhaps edited away. Which is a shame as indulging the odd and the silly is a strength of his. No need to try to play it too straight. Fans will want to read it but others would do better to start elsewhere.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Well worth the wait if you are a die hard Blaylock fan. He has a terrific way of conjuring up the landscape and people of west coast USA. If you've visited that part of the States much you will find many memories coming back to you, this plus a gentle humour and a quaintness about his characters make me smile alot and just devour his books.
Joe Slavinsky
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Off the top, I have to say that Blaylock is one of my favorite authors. He takes real ordinary people and places, adds a healthy dose of the metaphysical, with a fast paced plot, and turns the ordinary into extraordinary. This book is no different, and if you've never read Blaylock, do yourself a favor, and pick up this book. You won't regret it.
Jeremiah Genest
Jan 10, 2009 rated it liked it
This novel transposes the legends of the Knights Templar to the desert of the US southwest. The reader follows Calvin, a sympathetic everyman, step by step as he learns the truth about the place, his family, and history. The last third of the novel contains a lot of action. A bit of fantasy, a bit of Templar legend, wrapped up in a adventure story.
Dec 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-2009
This was an interesting book. It has a bit of a tie in with the Knights Templar but it's more modern day than that - kind of how a group may have carried on with that philosophy. It's a quick read but maybe a little too quick to really care very deeply about the characters. Some of the twists were predictable but others caught me off guard. :)
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Not what I expected....I have always been fascinated by the Knights Templar and this was an original idea, of a small town in the Nevada desert that was inhabited by men and women who were Knights in modern day America. But, I found the story plodding, and just didn't keep my interest much.
Aug 04, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked it, but definitely didn't love it. This is my least favorites of his books so far and i was so excited to read it when it came out. It is still a good book, but i think the others of his i've read are better
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
It was OK. I read it because it was a free library discard and I wanted something lightweight. There are better books out there.

The author never really clarified just what the Knights actually do, besides keep stuff. And what's with the earthquakes? He never explained those, either.
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
It was ok. The characters were kind of flat and the plot was structured like a thriller, which aren't my thing. I would have like more showing rather than telling and more time to get to know Calvin, who I never really felt like I understood.
May 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm not even sure what category of fiction this belongs to, but it was a really good, relaxing read--despite some of the goings-on. Good pacing, likable characters, interesting story, and a touch of mystery.
Jul 11, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book for what it was, and that for me was light summer reading. The elements were fun if not entirely fleshed out, and the climax was a bit anti-climactic (or perhaps just a bit rushed), but overall it was a fun, fast summer book.
May 27, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
Besides the main character bumbling around town, nothing happens until the 3/4 way through the book.
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels, 2010
Atmospheric first half - very reminiscent of what I remember of his 'The Paper Grail', adding a mystical dimension to modern reality.

Then it degenerated into a very linear paint-by-numbers plot.
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James Paul Blaylock is an American fantasy author. He is noted for his distinctive style. He writes in a humorous way: His characters never walk, they clump along, or when someone complains (in a flying machine) that flight is impossible, the other characters agree and show him why he's right.

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