‘Temple of the Grail’ is set in 1254 in France in an isolated Cistercian monastery high in the Pyrenees.
The monastery of St Lazarus guards its isolation to the point where the Abbot doesn’t even attend external meetings. But now the monastery has come to the attention of three separate groups – the Pope, the King and the Templars. A diverse group including an ambitious Inquisitor, a Bishop, a Friar and a Templar Knight along with their attendees descend on the monastery. The Templar Knight – Andre, has with him his scribe – Christian St Armand and a Jewish friend Eisik.
When the group arrives, they find out about a recent death and the suspicious deaths continue after their arrival. With unsolved murders, the Inquisitor – Rainiero Sacconi has no trouble seeing Heretics around every corner. Meanwhile Andre, Christian and Eisik set about investigating the secrets of the monastery and trying to determine who is murdering the monks. The Abbot tries to keep the secrets of the monastery hidden and the Inquisitor looks for any deviation from accepted practice so that he can accuse Andre of heresy.
When the secrets of the monastery are eventually discovered, they are beyond everyone’s expectations.
The story is narrated by Christian who was 16 at the time and is now an old man telling the story from memory.
The book was very complex and at times a bit difficult to follow. Sometimes it would have been an advantage to think like a 13th century Christian with all the associated beliefs, fears and superstitions.
There were some similarities to ‘The Name of the Rose’ – a Labyrinth (although this one was in hidden tunnels), a restricted library (probably standard practice at the time) and banned texts hidden in the monastery.
The book was incredibly well researched and although it was difficult to read, it was still enjoyable. I’m looking forward to continuing the Rosicrucian Quartet with ‘The Seal’.
Book Published 2004