The Knights Templar Mystery series by Michael Jecks numbers 31 books. When we first met the main character – Baldwin de Furnshill, he had already survived the disbanding of the Templars. In ‘Templar’s Acre’, we meet the young Baldwin – before he became a Knight and before he joined the Templars. So this book is not really part of the series, but rather a prequel to the series. It could also be read as a stand-alone historical novel.
War has been raging in the Holy Land for a long time. The Muslims want to take back all land from the Christians. In 1291, the last Christian stronghold is Acre and Christians from all over the world are arriving to defend Acre and to reclaim other cities such as Jerusalem and Tripoli.
The young Baldwin de Furnshill is a second son with no inheritance. He has committed a crime at home in Devon and has ‘taken the cross’ to atone for his crime. He is young and has never seen battle. When we first meet him he is on a ship being attacked by pirates and he is cowering in fear.
Baldwin’s life develops as the story develops. He gradually builds his confidence and grows up as the siege of Acre gets closer. By the time that Acre is attacked, he is almost the Baldwin that we have come to know and love.
There are some excellent characters in the story that bring the book to life. From those fighting to defend Acre, through those driven by greed, to the Muslim attackers.
We also get to find out how Baldwin became a Knight and why he ended up taking the Templar vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience and becoming a Templar.
Some of the battle scenes in the book were very complicated and at times I found my mind starting to drift (I think Bernard Cornwell does the best battle scenes). I enjoyed the relationships between characters far more than I enjoyed the battle scenes in this book.
Overall, I think this was an excellent prequel to the series. There might even be room for a prequel part 2 with Baldwin’s life as a Templar or his escape when the Templars are disbanded.
I’m hoping to read the Knights Templar Mystery series in order starting with number 1 – ‘The Last Templar’.
Book Published 2013