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Written by Jordan Mechner, illustrated by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland
New York: FirstSecond, 2013
Graphic novels that focus on the medieval period are getting more and more popular – and works like Templar are a good reason why. Set during the downfall of the Templar Order in 1307, it is a historical adventure story that combines action, humour and romance with some royal politics and a mysterious treasure.
The novel focuses on Martin of Troyes, who became a Templar when we was spurned by the love of his life, Isabelle. He is now back in Paris after years of fighting overseas, and she happens to be there too, unhappily married. Will romance be rekindled?
While Martin’s friends take him out to party on the town, which includes a wagon chase through the streets of Paris, a sinister plot begins to seize the Templars and their fortune. While most of the Templars are captured and ultimately killed, Martin and a few of his fellow knights have many adventures as they try to elude authorities and get their hands on the order’s vast treasure. As the author Jordan Mechner comments, it is a “medieval Ocean’s Eleven.”
While one can quibble with historical accuracy here and there, the writer and illustrators didn’t intend to write a history book – rather it is more of an action-adventure tale that makes good use of historical events. Mechner’s research included books by historians such as Malcolm Barber and Helen Nicholson, and he has managed to avoid incorporating any of the crazier myths about the Templars to help construct his tale.
While Templar is 473 pages long (divided into three books) one can read it fairly quickly. Some of the scenes, such as the burning of convicted Templars, are powerfully done. The illustrating team of Pham and Puvilland are able to convey a lot of action and emotion in their work.
Overall, this book was fun and entertaining to read! ~ Peter
What other Reviewers have said:
“Templar offers action and intrigue enough to fill several summer blockbusters, but also boasts incredibly rich historical details, beautiful artwork and a story solid enough that it instills a “must-know-what-happens-next” sense of urgency in the reader.” – Brooke Wylie, Examiner.com
“I’m hearing that this is one of the longest graphic novels that a lot of people have ever read, and it was a pretty big one, but it reads so quickly and graphic novels can be finished in a few hours anyway. But just because it can be read in a few hours doesn’t mean it isn’t immersive, engaging and completely attention grabbing. I blocked out the world when I read this and two hours passed and it felt like fifteen minutes.” – Kara Malinczak, Great-Imaginations.com
Jordan Mechner discusses his book during an event held by Skylight Books in Hollywood:
The Making of Templar – you can download a free ebook where the author and illustrators write about how the developed the story and characters, and how they were able to collaborate on such a large project. This is very useful for those interested in creating a graphic novel.
Official Publisher’s page – from Macmillan
Templarbook.com – their Tumblr page
Official Facebook page