Thursday, June 6, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry

Title: The Templar Legacy
Author: Steve Berry
Narrator: Paul Michael
Publisher: Books on Tape
Duration: 15 hours, 42 minutes
Series: Cotton Malone, Book 1
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
The ancient order of the Knights Templar possessed untold wealth and absolute power over kings and popes . . . until the Inquisition, when they were wiped from the face of the earth, their hidden riches lost. But now two forces vying for the treasure have learned that it is not at all what they thought it was-and its true nature could change the modern world. 
Cotton Malone, one-time top operative for the U.S. Justice Department, is enjoying his quiet new life as an antiquarian book dealer in Copenhagen when an unexpected call to action reawakens his hair-trigger instincts-and plunges him back into the cloak-and-dagger world he thought he'd left behind. 
It begins with a violent robbery attempt on Cotton's former supervisor, Stephanie Nelle, who's far from home on a mission that has nothing to do with national security. Armed with vital clues to a series of centuries-old puzzles scattered across Europe, she means to crack a mystery that has tantalized scholars and fortune-hunters through the ages by finding the legendary cache of wealth and forbidden knowledge thought to have been lost forever when the order of the Knights Templar was exterminated in the fourteenth century. But she's not alone. Competing for the historic prize-and desperate for the crucial information Stephanie possesses-is Raymond de Roquefort, a shadowy zealot with an army of assassins at his command. 
Welcome or not, Cotton seeks to even the odds in the perilous race. But the more he learns about the ancient conspiracy surrounding the Knights Templar, the more he realizes that even more than lives are at stake. At the end of a lethal game of conquest, rife with intrigue, treachery, and craven lust for power, lies a shattering discovery that could rock the civilized world-and, in the wrong hands, bring it to its knees.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5

I wanted to give this religious/mystery/thriller genre another try, because it's so popular! When I dislike a popular book or genre, I feel like I'm not giving it a fair chance. So, even though I did not at all like The Da Vinci Code, I ended up reading The Templar Legacy. I've heard some people call this the "poor man's" Da Vinci Code, but I don't agree with that. It's pretty much the same premise and kind of has the same characters, but the writing is better (and less offensive) than The Da Vinci Code. That still doesn't make this book good, though.

I see the interest that this book may have for people, and if you can overlook writing filled with clichéd phrases and characters, go for it. The plot is interesting and I like that these sorts of novels take a for-granted story and twist it on its head. But I just couldn't get past the writing. There's a lot of telling instead of showing and a lot of unnecessary direction that I feel like I simply didn't need as a reader. When someone started talking, the dialogue would be interrupted to simply tell me that the other person listened. Like this:

Alyssa told Georgina, "Well, I'm not so sure about that."

Georgina listened.

Alyssa continued, "You see..."

So, that got annoying fairly quickly. Along with that, there was just too much explanation and information dumps, making it a slow, tedious read. If a quarter to a third of this novel were cut out, I think it'd be a better story.

Despite my dislike of the story, I thought that the narration was good. Not anything extraordinary, but enjoyable -- Paul Michael did a good job with what he had. It just didn't hold much interest for me.