At its height, the Order of the Knights Templar rivaled the kingdoms of Europe in military might, economic power, and political influence. For 700 years the tragic demise of this society of warrior-monks amid accusations of heresy has been plagued by controversy, in part because the transcript of their trial by the Inquisition - which held the key to the truth - had vanished.Templar historian Barbara Frale happened to be studying a document at the Vatican Secret Archives when she suddenly realized that it was none other than the long-lost transcript! It revealed that Pope Clement V had absolved the order of all charges of heresy. Using this sensational new information, Frale chronicles the Templars spectacular rise and fall against a sweeping backdrop of war, religious fervor, and the struggle for dominance, and finally lifts the centuries-old cloak of mystery surrounding one of the worlds most intriguing secret societies.
©2004, 2011 Società editrici Il Mulino, Bologna Foreword copyright 2008, 2009, 2011 by Umberto Eco/L’espresso. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate. English-language translation copyright 2009, 2011 by Arcade Publishing, Inc. (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
The introductory statements offered quite some promise and I was looking forward to the rest. However, in a book of some 5+ hours, using almost 20% of that time to set context with a bland summary of the historical lead-up to the initial formation of the Templars was trying my patience too far. Added to this was the fact that although the author claimed a uniquely informed perspective (which I don't doubt) little original thinking is in evidence here. That the 'trials' of the Templars were a mockery of anything like truth or justice comes as no surprise, not that others' greed is essentially the prime motive in their becoming a target. Whilst we might not have been offered proof before now, these are hardly surprising revelations. Follow this through and no doubt some hoary mythology will be deservedly exposed, but there's little to suggest to this point that the reader will emerge any the truly wiser for their experience.
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