Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Templar and the True Cross

Cover by Greg Maxwell

As I posted previously, The Templar and the True Cross is my latest historical mystery. It is the story of a Templar knight, Sir Jean-Marc de Montpellier who escaped the fate of his Templar brothers, the last of whom were burned at the stake by the French king, Philip IV in 1314. Sir Jean-Marc is recalled to France by the very king who extinguished the Templar order.
The Templar and the True Cross is a detective story, really. This story is of course fiction, though the time and place have been depicted as accurately as I possibly could. Though my main character, Sir Jean-Marc de Montpellier was a work of my imagination, the order to which he belonged, the Knights Templar actually existed and met their end as portrayed. 
    The lore of the Templars is a bone of contention to historians. Some have chosen to portray them as one way or another. I have chosen to portray one particular Templar knight with all the chivalry and honour a Knight Templar might possess.
    King Philip of France, his three sons, the king’s daughter Isabella, Guillaume de Nogaret, Pierre Dubois, and Marie de Brabant are featured in the story and were all true characters from history. I have endeavoured to give them some persona though perhaps not their true character.
    Some sources state that Pierre Dubois and Guillaume de Nogaret were dead by the time this story takes place, but I chose to put them in the story anyway.                                                                         
  The time and circumstances regarding the death of King Philip IV are similar to the way I portrayed them. After Philip IV’s death, all three of his sons would take their turn as the king of France. Louis would remain king from 1314 until the time of his death two years later when the crown was passed to his brother Philip V who reigned to his death in 1322, whereas his youngest brother Charles IV was king until his death in 1328 bringing an end to the Capetian dynasty.
    Their sister, Isabella was indeed Queen of England who plotted against her husband, King Edward II, and forced him to abdicate in 1327, whereas their son, Edward III became king and brought about the Hundred Years’ War between England and France
    The True Cross of Christ and the other Holy Relics mentioned are true objects, though the incident of the theft of the Cross was not.
    Many of the Parisian landmarks are of course real; the palace, Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, the Sorbonne, and St. Denis Basilica were depicted as accurately as possible.

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