The Templar Legacy: A Novel (Cotton Malone)
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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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Some adjustments are made to conform to Rule, as all monastic societies must. But in 1307? I have no idea what they believed. The Chronicles from that time are cryptic. Like I said, only the highest officers within the Order could have spoken on that subject. Most Templars were illiterate. Even Jacques de Molay could not read or write. So only a few within the Order controlled what the many thought. Of course, the Great Devise existed then, so I assume seeing was believing.” “What is this Great
The one in the marshal’s report?” “Indeed, they have.” “So tell me, brother. Where are you?” “St. Agulous. At the ruined abbey just to the north of the village. Not far from you.” “And our Great Devise is there?” “This is where all clues lead. They are, at this moment, working to locate the hiding place. I was sent to Elne for supplies.” He was beginning to believe the man on the other end of the phone. But he wondered if that was from desperation or good judgment. “Brother, I’ll kill you
windows closed and shutters drawn, even in summer. He never opened the presbytery’s door to strangers, and since there was no sign of forced intrusion, officials concluded that the abbé had known his attacker. Gélis died at age seventy-one. He was beaten over the head with fire tongs then hacked with an ax. Blood was copious, splatters on the floor and ceiling were found, but not one footprint lay among the various pools. This baffled the constable. The body was intentionally laid out on its
church in great detail. Then he found more references in Corbu’s manuscript.” He despised hearing the name Simon de Montfort—another thirteenth-century opportunist who commanded the Albigensian Crusade that ravaged the Languedoc in the name of the Church. If not for him, the Templars would have achieved their own separate state, which would have surely prevented their later downfall. The one flaw in the Order’s early existence had been its dependency on secular rule. Why the first few masters
know, Cotton, that information is strictly confidential.” “As you know, I hate rules. Do I know the bidder?” “He owns the building that you rent in Copenhagen.” He nearly smiled. Henrik Thorvaldsen. He should have known. The auction was reconvening. As buyers retook their seats, he made his way toward the entrance and noticed Peter Hansen sitting down. Outside, he stepped into a cool Danish evening, and though nearly eight PM the summer sky remained backlit with bars of dull crimson from a