The men’s adventure genre, combined with horror and the supernatural, continues to make a strong comeback in the form of e-books, what with the success of THE DEAD MAN and now this book, the first in the Templar Chronicles series. Not surprisingly, Joseph Nassise is one of the authors who will be writing a Dead Man book, and after reading THE HERETIC, I’m really looking forward to it.
But to get to the book at hand, THE HERETIC is former cop Cade Williams, who is now a Knight Commander in the Knights Templar, which, unknown to the public at large, has evolved over the centuries into a large, well-armed, and well-organized paramilitary force that battles supernatural threats all over the world. As the book opens, various Templar strongholds are under attack by a group of evil sorcerers known at the Council of Nine, who are trying to steal powerful religious relics in the custody of the Templars, including the Spear of Destiny.
These are pretty familiar elements, but what makes the book work splendidly is Nassise’s strong sense of pace and storytelling, along with an interesting and very likable protagonist in Cade, who possesses the ability to move between this world and the next, the realm between life and death. Cade’s tragic past – he lost his wife to supernatural evil, along with one of his eyes – haunts him and makes him a figure feared even by his allies at times. The closest of those allies, the three top men in Echo Team, the combat squad Cade commands, are also well-developed characters, especially Sean Duncan, who has secrets of his own.
Nassise keeps the reader turning the pages (or the e-book equivalent) all the way to a spectacular final confrontation in the Louisiana swamps. I don’t know about you, but commandos armed with machine guns and swords fighting a pitched battle against demons and revenants with the fate of the world possibly at stake is my kind of showdown.
Oddly enough, THE HERETIC reminded me a little of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., with two secret organizations battling each other, and the Templar strongholds, with their underground tunnels and sliding doors, really seem like something you’d find behind Del Floria’s Tailor Shop. And you know I was and still am a huge fan of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., so I was bound to like this book. I’ve already bought the next two books in the series. Highly recommended.