“As the crusader era ends, Templar Sergeant Brim Hastings must free his imprisoned brethren by surrendering the heretical scroll that has enabled their two-hundred-year leverage over the Roman Catholic Church. After escaping his order’s persecution, and having the role of savior thrust upon him, he and Cypriot apprentice tanner Shayla Kostas discover the boundaries between good and evil are not where they’d thought.
Seven centuries later, Rick Lambert’s investigation into Christian priest abductions in Iraq grows in scope after he’s given a cryptic Roman gaming stone. As he learns of the motive for recent Templar preceptory demolitions throughout France, he and his team must prevent religious extremists from shattering Christianity by winning the race to rediscover the Vectis Templi–the Lever of the Temple.”
Disclaimer, I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. If you have been following my blog you know that an honest review doesn’t always mean a good review. I’m happy to report that’s not the case here. I absolutely loved Lever Templar by Matt Gianni! I’m not even going to save my star rating until the end…this one gets 5 out of 5 stars!
Alrighty then…give me a second to calm my inner history geek down a bit. Takes a deep breathe…one, two, and three….and out. Okay…we can proceed.
This story begins in Shipley, England; the year is 1307. Under the concealment of night several cloaked men stealthily gain entry into the lower levels of Shipley’s church. These are no ordinary thieves however; they are not interested in riches. These are Templar Knights in search of something far more valuable than coins; a small leather satchel that could contain a document no one is ever meant to see; the Vectis Templi…also known as the Lever of the Temple. If discovered this document would shake the foundation of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Well, that did it for me…I was hooked! My inner history geek sighed happily and settled in for a good time.
Then as we entered Chapter 2 the story shifts to modern day Kanisah, a northwestern Mosul suburb in Iraq where we are introduced to Agents Rick Lambert and his partner Samir Moozarmi of Iraq’s Ministry of Interior Investigations. Rick and Samir have been assigned to look into the abductions of several Christian priests and are responding to a call from Father Zephyros Topolis of the Christian Church of Kanisah. While enjoying lunch around the corner from the church prior to their meeting with Father Topolis gunfire suddenly erupts.
Father Topolis is caught in the crossfire and is mortally wounded. Stumbling down the aisle he slowly makes his way to the church’s’ altar before collapsing. Struggling to breathe, he breaks the wood of the altar and retrieves an object hidden inside. Then, with the last of his strength he places the mysteriously carved ancient domino in to Agent Lambert’s hand and whispers “Protect Cyprus.”
That’s when my inner geek looked up from her book and informed me we would be reading for some time to come…so buckle up buttercup. She wanted to find out how these two seemingly unrelated stories were connected.
Naturally, I’m not going to go through this story and spoon-feed you what happens…oh no, no spoilers here! My inner history geek would kick my butt if I did that. Besides, we both want you to have the enjoyment of going on this ride for yourself. And an action packed thrill ride it is too! Very rarely do I actually use the words page-turner, but this one really was for me. I didn’t want to stop reading.
Aside from gushing about how much I enjoyed this book I want to take a moment to mention the astonishing amount of factual data Mr. Gianni had to keep straight as a story-teller. As I read, it quickly became evident just exactly how much research he must have done. As a reader of this story at times it became almost dizzying trying to keep things straight in my own head.
I cannot fathom what it must have been like trying to keep all the names, dates, locations, and historical facts he interjects into this book straight as a writer. Can you imagine what his writing environment had to look like? I have this vision in my mind of string strung from one event to another in a haphazard spider web with post-it notes all over the place. So, kudos Mr. Gianni! The research pays off!
Obviously I loved this book. The history geek in me is still jumping up and down as she shoves her glasses back up her nose and is gleefully demanding more as I write this review. Mr. Gianni brought ancient history with some artistic license to the present and made it feel like I was participating in an Indiana Jones flick. Really, I can’t ask for more than that…I felt so involved and invested in the story. Oh, and a bonus for me as an OCD formatter, the book is formatted very well. I found only one missing word, that’s amazing to me!
If you are someone who loves ancient history or simply loves a really great action packed story…pick this one up; I highly recommend it. As for me…I give it a very rare 5 out of 5 stars. Well done Mr. Gianni and thank you for asking me to read and review. Now, when is the next one coming out?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Gianni is the author of dual timeline historical fiction / contemporary thriller novels built around his Castellum One team, a covert investigations unit financed by the Vatican and run by elements of the US Intelligence Community. Lever Templar, the first in the series, has been described by readers as “The Da Vinci Code meets National Treasure.” After a long career in aeronautical engineering and flight instruction, writing instructional articles for flying magazines, he began writing fiction in 2013.