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Lever Templar (Castellum One #1)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  41 reviews
As the crusader era ends, Templar Sergeant Brim Hastings must free his imprisoned brethren by surrendering the heretical scroll that has enabled their two-hundred-year leverage over the Roman Catholic Church. After escaping his order's persecution, and having the role of savior thrust upon him, he and Cypriot apprentice tanner Shayla Kostas discover the boundaries between ...more
Paperback, 386 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Dark Ink Press
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, fiction
Lever Templar is an exciting, action-packed historical fiction/contemporary thriller. It's kind of hard to believe this is a debut novel from the author.

Despite the fact it took me nearly a month to finish this book, I enjoyed this well-contemplated, absorbing book. The writing is strong, the plot is so detailed and nicely executed, the relatively short-chapters and alternating timelines helped me get through the book, making it easier to put down and pick it back up again.

My impression toward
Robbie Cheadle
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is written on two timelines. The first tells a complex story of the Knights Templar, an ancient scroll the Templar order possesses which forms the basis of their leverage over the Roman Catholic Church [this is speculative but well depicted] for 200 years and their ultimate demise at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church aided by the French in the early 14th century. The second timeline is modern and tells the story of the on-going search for the scroll by the Church and fanatical ...more
Arriah Kiprujistho
It is a very fascinating story that involves two time periods.. on one hand we travel in the 14th century and on the other hand, we take our journey in this modern era. I usually don’t enjoy historical fiction, but this definitely comes in my list of favorite books. A well written, fast paced story that keeps you hooked till the end. I really enjoyed reading it. A beautiful mix of historical fiction and Contemporary thriller.
Marco Ocram
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very polished work. The book is a thriller with two interwoven storylines. One is set in the present day, and follows a race to find a scroll that could threaten the Catholic Church if it fell into the wrong hands. The other is set in the 14th century, and describes the events that led to the hiding of the scroll. Each storyline is written with a linear timeline, the book switching between the two chapter by chapter. I won't repeat the factual details given in other reviews, but I'll focus on ...more
Anna Willett
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historical fiction is a new for me, or at least something that I haven’t read in many years. Gianni does this genre to perfection! The writing is sharp and his accuracy and attention to detail is on pointe. With dual story lines taking place in the 13th and 20th Century and a large cast of characters, there is a lot to keep up with, but it certainly makes for an enthralling read.
In the 13th Century, Templar Sergeant Brim Hastings on a quest to deliver scrolls that could change the face of
Trish Butler
A well-written, exciting historical fiction/contemporary mixture adventure

In the early 14th century, young Brim Hastings is thrown into the middle of religious machinations between the Catholic church and his own Christian brotherhood the Temple of Solomon. Over 700 years later, Brim’s actions start a series of murders in Iraq that Rick Lambert is investigating. Intelligence from the Vatican leads Rick and his odd team on a treasure hunt without a traditional map. A cult of mercenaries is on
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had done some small dabbling in Templar history after watching a documentary and found the topic fascinating on many levels. That made the premise of this story of particular interest to me. While there is a rich historical element, that I loved, there is also a modern thriller with a wonderful pace and lots of tension, which I also loved. These two threads are woven together masterfully to make this a gripping page-turner. The balance of details and story was nice, with enough to paint a real ...more
Mary Elizabeth Hughes
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Matt Gianni's debut novel is a multi-layered work that comprises two distinct stories, concurrent stories that in the end, have similar goals. One is set in the present; the other takes place in the early fourteenth century, mainly in Cyprus and Syria.

The contemporary story stars Rick Lambert who leads a hastily assembled team of experts as they attempt to recover a significant lost scroll before the bad guys find it. This ancient document is regarded as so important that vast military
Stephen Matlock
Today's Headlines and Yesterday's Adventures told in a fast-paced, interwoven story

I have to say, right up front, this is not just a romp--this is a fast-paced adventure that was a page-turner for me. Many books have predictable plot developments, but I was continually surprised by the events, and how details sprinkled throughout the book had payoff later. It's a wild ride through history and through today's headlines, leaping back and forth from the 1300s to the 2000s.

Two stories intertwine
Robert Brown
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Writing a first novel requires fusing curiosity and endurance. Writing a second novel, to borrow a phrase, is the triumph of hope over experience. No one knows why anyone would attempt a first novel alternating two entwined stories separated by seven hundred years. Yet, Matt Gianni did so with Level Templar.

One story, taking place in the 1300s is about secreting religious documents harmful to the Catholic Church. The second story takes place today, of a battle to recover those documents. In
Jacqueline Beard
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Matt Gianni’s Lever Templar is an epic thriller of Dan Brown proportions. Weaving between two different eras, the novel begins with the theft of the Lever Templar, a scroll with the power to redefine Christianity. Fast forward to modern-day Mosul and Rick Lambert is called upon to investigate the abduction of Christian priests. Before long, the race is on to locate the missing scroll before it falls into the wrong hands.

Lever Templar is both fast-paced action thriller and epic historical saga.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great Read.
Two stories. One set in the 1300's and one set in present day—joined through the centuries by a common quest. Brimly Hastings is a young, low-ranking Templar soldier who serves a knight on a mission to preserve three stolen scrolls. The scrolls could redefine Christianity and the Catholic power hierarchy is desperate to see that they never see the light of day. Jump to modern day, and Rick Lambert is investigating the disappearance of several Catholic priests. Where are they? Who is
Willow Thomson
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lever Templar is a complex tale woven between two timelines. It moves nimbly from the 1300s to the present day in alternating chapters. The mystery of how these two plot lines connect unfolds as the story moves along.

The author has an outstanding grasp of the history of the Catholic Church and the Knights Templar as well as the world of present day espionage. This comprehensive knowledge of detail and history made the density of the information rather overwhelming even thought it was well
InD'tale Magazine
Matt Gianni’s first novel in this series is a unique and riveting spy adventure with the added bonus of time-jumping!

Read full review in the 2019 April issue of InD'tale Magazine.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer, I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. With me an honest review doesn’t always mean a good review. I’m happy to report that’s not the case here. I absolutely loved Lever Templar by Matt Gianni! I’m not even going to save my star rating until the end...this one gets 5 out of 5 stars!

Alrighty then...give me a second to calm my inner history geek down a bit. Takes a deep, two, and three....and out. Okay...we can proceed.

This story begins in Shipley,
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“What is history but a fable agreed upon?” —Napoleon Bonaparte

Washington author Matt Gianni graduated first from the University of Washington in 1990 and then from New Mexico State University in 2000. His technical pursuits took him to General Dynamics in San Diego, then to consulting jobs all over North America, and finally back to Seattle for a long stint with Boeing. After a long career in aeronautical engineering and flight instruction, writing countless airplane flight manuals for Boeing
Danielle Jaussaud
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is, for the most part, historical fiction in which the religious and military Order of the Knights Templar provides the background. The Templars were a chivalric order of warrior-monks who fought in the Crusades. In 1291, following their defeat at Acre, a port-city in middle-age Syria, the Templars were forced to leave the last remaining Crusader refuge in the Holy Land. At the time the story begins, the Knights Templar have retreated on the Greek/Turkish island of Cyprus where they ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This historical-action-espionage novel (as strange as that combo may sound) asks the question: just what was it that allowed the Knights Templar to exert influence in or over the Roman Catholic church during the 12th/13th centuries? And what if that object still posed a threat to Christian belief in modern times? And can we build a novel around such a potentially controversial threat?

This is the basis for Matt Gianni’s Lever Templar, a novel that skilfully weaves a historical action tale set in
Leonide Martin
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
What did the 14th Century Knights Templar possess that gave them leverage for 200 years over the Roman Catholic Church? Some thought it a stupendous treasure of wealth; this story proposes instead it was a Roman scroll recording first century events that would shake the foundations of the Church and all Christianity. Vectis Templi—Lever of the Temple—is the object of relentless pursuit by agents of radical Islam and the Vatican in contemporary times, and the source of conflict between the ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Knights Templar, a Catholic military order that distinguished itself during the Crusades, existed for less than two hundred years. But it has been a treasure trove of secrets and mysteries, real and imagined, ever since. When this thriller begins in 1307, the Holy Land has already been lost, and the Templars are under siege. One thing has preserved them through the era’s political vicissitudes—the Lever Templar—a scroll that would “redefine Christianity.” What and where is it?
In the opening
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tom Clancy meets Dan Brown meets Robyn Young

Meticulously crafted, painstakingly researched, and engagingly told, Lever Templar is the story of a mysterious ancient scroll that holds a secret so profound that it could possibly upend the foundations of Christianity.

Other popular books have been written around a similar plotline, but what sets Lever Templar apart is that it is both a historical epic as well as a modern-day action thriller. The historical tale, set in the early 14th century,
Guy Estes
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, this is a good, entertaining read. The author has certainly done his homework, so allow me to tip my hat to him for that. The pacing is just about perfect. There are two storylines, one in the present-day and one in the fourteenth century. Mr. Gianni did a masterful job handling them. It would've been very easy to screw up and confuse the reader, but he kept them very well defined and made it quite clear which storyline one is reading, so I again tip my hat to him.

My only two issues
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Matt Gianni's debut novel, Lever Templar, is a riveting start to his Castellum One series. The book is part historical and part contemporary fiction, and it is all fast-paced intrigue and action.

Lever Templar is told in two time periods: the 14th century and the present day. The novel toggles back and forth, and the time changes are easy to follow. The two stories are not parallel; Brim Hastings' historic actions create the present day danger Rick Lambert and others finds themselves in.

Byn Always
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So although I ended up really enjoying this book, I found that I kept getting distracted or intimidated by it at first. I tend to read 'lighter' fare when I read because my brain just needs a rest. This book definitely wasn't a 'light' read, but that isn't a bad thing at all. It was just different than what I'm generally used to.

The list of characters in the beginning really overwhelmed me and I felt like I had to know/remember all of that before I even started reading. This is my own issue,
Robin Peacock
Overall this is a great tale told, and told is the operative word here, by an author who did a lot of homework. The detail is remarkable and informative, and the plot leading to the big reveal is well thought out. There are two parallel stories set hundreds of years apart, no mean feat in a book of this complexity. I had an issue with too much apparently historical or factual information coming to me in large doses. Often we are simply told that something has happened. There is a lack of show ...more
Lorna Wilson
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-book-shelf
The author, Matt Gianni, reveals an up-close and historical account of the Roman Catholic Church, the crusades, and its relevance to a present-day investigation. The historic backdrop, surrounding elements, and artifacts serve to build the story and help the reader envision what is actually happening. The timelines reveal the significance of the past and present missions to protect the order and its influence on the church for the present-day. Description of the military presence is quite ...more
Francis Mont
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Lever Templar” by Matt Gianni is an extremely well researched novel. The first thing I noticed when I started reading it is the 4 pages of characters listed at the beginning and I found it a bit intimidating because I have difficulty remembering too many names in a book. Once I got past that, I was impressed with the amount of meticulous detail the author amassed on every page. Being a historical novel, this book is a dream come true for history buffs who are particularly interested in the era. ...more
Thomas A. Burns, Jr.
Lever Templar is a tale of two eras - the 1300s during the time of the suppression of the Knights Templar by the King of France and the Vatican, and the present day, when Islamic factions and the West are still at war. The ancient story focuses on the discovery and concealment of an even more ancient scroll that contains information that could be shattering to Christianity, while the modern tale chronicles the search for that scroll by terrorists who would use it to destroy their most potent ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book for review is “Lever Templar” by Matt Gianni. It falls in the genre of historical fiction.

Meet our main character, Brim Hastings, who is a Templar sergeant. With him is a valuable heretical scroll that everyone seems to want. Why is it so important? It gives the Templar leverage over the powerful Catholic church.

With the new rules that causes his brothers to be hunted down and either jailed or executed. Escaping with his life Brim needs to find a way to help. Unfortunately that involves
Michael Lynch
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt Gianni has written an excellent book here. The historical research that has gone into it is impressive, as too is the author's knowledge of modern day military equipment and tactics. My only issue would be that he sometimes put too much of this into the narrative. On one level it was fascinating to read, but unfortunately it also slowed the pace of the story on a number of occasions.

That aside, this is a very enjoyable book that kept me turning pages. The time shift between 14th and 21st
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Matt Gianni is the author of dual timeline historical fiction / contemporary thriller novels built around his Castellum One team, a covert investigations unit financed by the Vatican and run by elements of the US Intelligence Community. Lever Templar, the first in the series, has been described by readers as "The Da Vinci Code meets National Treasure." After a long career in aeronautical ...more
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