He watched as his target sat between the other two councilors. His target was arrogant to think that he could hide simply by using a false name. He didn’t need names to find someone he’d been sent after. No, it had been a simple matter to find his target. The only complication would be in finding the right moment to strike. His target was never alone. Whether it was one of the campers or one of the other councilors, he always had someone near him. When he’d taken this job it had been with one provision: there would be no collateral damage. He was there for one thing and one thing only. He would simply have to be patient. An opportunity would present itself, in time.

My Review of The Last Templar by Michael Jecks

All right, to start this review I’ll speak about the particular book I read. I borrowed it from my local library, through interlibrary loan. I think I’ll be doing a great deal of ILL for now. I just don’t have the money or space to own many more books. ILL is a great way of getting to read books that the local library doesn’t have on the shelf.

The particular edition I read has some history to it. The price on the back is listed in Pounds! This book was published in the UK! Somehow, it made its way to a bookstore in Massachusetts and, from there, to the library in New Paltz, NY. Someone, somewhere along the way, felt the need to play editor with it.

Rarely used words are defined (a note on page 39 reads, “Cob – mixture of clay and straw”). This is, largely, unnecessary, as the author did his job and defined these words at some point soon after they were introduced. I could almost tolerate such notes as that. However, the “editor” felt the need to correct the author’s grammar: changing words like “disinterest” to “uninterest”, underlining and making commentary on the use of “alright” in dialogue and changing other words that may or may not have been incorrect (was to were, him to he). In one part, the “editor” wrote “his?” where the author had written “her” – the author, indeed, meant exactly what he’d written. The final note in the book was regarding the word “judgement”. “This is correct English, but Americans leave out the e”, it read. Seeing as the book was published in ENGLAND, this note was completely unnecessary.

Now, to get to my point: this “editor” very nearly ruined the book for me. It is very distracting to encounter such notes in a book while I’m reading. It yanked me out of the story every time. I worked in libraries, so seeing someone write in any books makes my skin crawl. DON’T WRITE IN BOOKS! I can understand writing in a text book, but there’s never an excuse to write in novel. If it’s for a class, use a notebook! That’s what they’re for: to write notes in!

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll get to my review of the actual book:

I picked up this book because a friend, Becca, had suggested it. I have to thank her because (in spite of my frustration with the “editor”) everything I loved about Ian Morson’s Falconer series is present here as well.

Jecks brings this time and place to life in a way that modern readers can enjoy. The language the characters use, while clearly modern, feels “right” for the story setting. There were times when the author told, rather than showed things, but (as with Morson) it works very well with his narrative style. The characters were engaging and enjoyable.

I loved Simon! His innocence and shock regarding death was refreshing. He was horrified by some of the deaths and fearful in places where some authors might have felt the need to make the character unbelievably brave. It made him seem like a real person.

With regards to the murders that took place: The clues were all there, but it wasn’t until the very end that I was able to put them together – right along with Simon – and solve the mysteries. I was shocked by the identity of the Abbot’s murderer but, at the same time, it made sense in the story.

Overall, I found the story well written and engaging. That, and the desire to learn the answers to the mysteries, carried me through when I might not have finished because of some thoughtless reader’s need to make commentary in the margins. I look forward to reading more novels featuring Simon, his family and Sir Baldwin.