Book Review: Graeme Davis – Knights Templar: A Secret History


Knights Templar: A Secret History
Knights Templar: A Secret History is a non-fiction recreation of the history of the Knights Templar, written by Graeme Davis and published by Osprey Publishing as part of their Dark Osprey series.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about Graeme Davis here
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Knights Templar: A Secret History is not another rehash of the scholarly history of the Knights Templar like you’ll find in many books. It’s also not an in-depth retelling of conspiracies relating to the Knights Templar. Instead, it is a discussion about the Templars history as documented an undocumented regarding a series of events directly and indirectly related to them and the people they’ve influenced throughout the ages. But it goes much further than the regular timeline of the Templars, touching base on how the fingers of the organization influenced the world during their active times and after they were disbanded. It talks about their possible secrets and explores a lot of the theories that have been made about the Templars and their activities throughout time. This is presented in a factual manner, whether it is actually fact or not, based on the research performed by a man author Graeme Davis followed professionally, Dr. Emile Fouchet. Presented in this book is the idea that the Knights Templar, and their predecessor followers, have influenced the world for many centuries.

If taken at face value, Knights Templar: A Secret History seems like a book full of conspiracy theories. If you continually read between the lines and understand the context in its presentations, you’ll realize that it’s a collection of theoretical and scholarly possibilities that connect the dots between information found within many sources and the minds of those in the know. By presenting the information in a single location, the research notes of Dr. Fouchet, one can begin to paint a picture of the Knights Templar and how their influence extended much farther than previously believed, or at least previously told by historical references. This is not another Da Vinci Code, it is much more factual and based on concepts that many may have believed in, but have never been able to deem as factual. This is in opposition to other sources that have simply created fictional information, based on fictional conspiracies, that ultimately lead to more fiction. Whether or not the information presented therein is factual can be determined by the reader, but it definitely opens the eyes to some interesting information.

Knights Templar: A Secret History is the most interesting retelling of the Knights Templar history I’ve seen, along with providing information that I haven’t seen otherwise. Much of this has been speculated in other locations (if you Google Knights Templar, you’ll quickly find out what I mean), but this is the first time that I’ve seen the dots connected so flawlessly (or at least presented in a flawless manner). One thing that makes it so interesting is how simply the story is told. The book avoids delving into the nitty-gritty details of the Templars, and keeps the reader moving on an imaginary timeline to keep the Templars’ history moving at a great pace. In other words, you don’t get bogged down in facts that overwhelm the senses. It is a book to be read, not just referenced and used for research. I should also note that as a fan of Graeme Davis, his writing is always smooth and this book does not read like a stuffy research book.

It’s probably worth noting, as a standalone fact, that the Knights Templar timeline within the book starts at 1099 and ends in 2012. With all points connected in-between explaining how certain events in the past have influenced events nearer to the present.

Being that Roleplayers Chronicle is all about tabletop role-playing games, it’s imperative to understand the value of this book for role-players. For those who enjoy historical role-playing like I do (or rather alternate history), finding a book about the Knights Templar is a great addition for expanding your Middle Ages and Early Modern Ages games, especially if there’s a flair of conspiracy in that game. Finding a book that explores the many possible theories surrounding the Knights Templar and the activities they influenced is huge! Alternate history is often built on exploiting theories, and conspiracies, making them factual. While much of this book is presented as factual, you could easily make it an integral part of your alternate history timeline, and expand on those theories and their further influence on the world. You could go as far as turning the Knights Templar into an ultra-secret organization that has survived by going underground for centuries. Maybe change the name, or maybe you just play on the conspiracies knowing that these new Templars are still hunted by the Church for the secrets they hold.

My own Shadowed Earth can greatly benefit from turning the Knights Templar into an organization that has survived into the present day as a force attempting to influence the world.

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