As you may have guessed from the title, the book attempts to give a broad overview of the Knights Templar traces in modern France. It contains over 300 pages and is lavishly illustrated. There are detailed maps of every region in France with all (presumably) Templar-related locations marked. Most photographs are original and very well produced.
One possible criticism of the book would address its lack of depth in covering the subject, but it requires many volumes to even approach the topic of the Knights Templar presence in France. If you are simply looking for a guide in your travels or want a starting point in your studies La France des Templiers definitely delivers!
(In these pictures I’m using my trusted paper cutting knife to hold the pages down)
This book has been in the works for the past two years and I am quite pleased with how it turned out. If the novel gets traction I will be writing two sequels to finalize the story, but the book reads very well as a standalone publication.
The monastery of St. Sebastian is safely tucked away from the turmoil of the early 14th century. What dangers could possibly await Conrad, a young novice preparing to join this community of devout monks? A simple act of kindness and duty turns his life upside down. Uprooted and confused, Conrad must risk everything for a cause that has not yet been revealed to him. He can only count on the help from a reclusive hermit, whom everybody else mistrusts and fears. Is Conrad ready to face the challenges of spiritual strife?
If you do a significant amount of research on the Knights Templar for any reason (i.e. historical reconstruction, scholarly work, fiction and non-fiction writing) it helps to have a few well-organized volumes that can quickly provide an answer to whatever questions that might come up. Although there are very good reference works that cover the Middle Ages in general and the Crusades in particular we are fortunate to have specialized encyclopedias that cover every aspect of the Knights Templar history and lore. I have four such reference books and I’m going to offer my opinion about their strengths and weaknesses. These editions are listed here in the order in which I acquired them.
Karen Ralls, Knights Templar Encyclopedia
This book is the smallest of the four. It offers a good amount of information, however there are relatively few articles dedicated to individual people, events and places. Fortunately, the book contains a very comprehensive index.
Karen Ralls is one of the few researchers with academic credentials who display a fair amount of interest in areas considered “fringe” by mainstream historians. The selection of materials in this encyclopedia reflects this aspect of Dr. Ralls’ expertise. For instance, this book treats with considerable depth such topics as sacred architecture, “Black Madonnas” and Rosslyn Chapel.
Ivy-Stevan Guiho, L’Ordre des Templiers: Petite encyclopédie
There are many theories that presume the Knights Templar’s excellent familiarity with sea faring practices of their time. In fact, many modern authors insist that the Order was even capable of reaching the shores of North America. Whatever argumentation and proofs may exist for such theories, it may be worth looking into more established and verified (as much as possible) accounts of explorers who pushed the boundaries of the known world. “Off the Edge of the Map” by Michael Rank discusses 11 greatest discoverers in history. An audio version of the book is available through a special giveaway.
Whether it is Rabban Bar Sauma, the 13th-century Chinese monk commissioned by the Mongols to travel West form a military alliance against the Islam; Marco Polo, who opened a window to the East for Europe; or Captain James Cook, whose maritime voyages of discovery created the global economy of the 21st century, each of these explorers had an indelible impact on the modern world. This book will look at the 11 greatest explorers in history. Some travelled for religious piety, such as Ibn Battuta, who travelled from North Africa to Indonesia in the 1300s, visiting every Islamic pilgrimage site between — and becoming counselor to over 30 heads of state. Others travelled for profit, such as Ferdinand Magellan, who wanted to consolidate Spain’s holdings on the spice trade. Still others travelled for discovery, such as Ernest Shackleton, who led two dozen men to the bottom of the world in an attempt to cross Antarctica on foot. Whatever their reason for discovery, these explorers still inspire us today to push the limits of human achievement — and discover something about ourselves in the process.