cover image Order in Chaos

Order in Chaos

Jack Whyte, . . Putnam, $26.95 (549pp) ISBN 978-0-399-15577-2

Whyte puts the Knights Templar to rest in the uninspired final volume of his Templar trilogy (after Knights of the Black and White and Standard of Honor ), a lengthy and pedantic history of the Knights and their 200-year-old tradition of service to the pope and Christianity, loaded with historical detail, but offering little suspense and even less action. When the Knights are declared outlaws by King Philip IV of France in an effort to crush their influence and seize their treasure, the Knights are arrested and tortured or driven into hiding. Templar knight Sir William Sinclair leads the survivors to temporary sanctuary in Scotland, where they team up with Robert Bruce, king of the Scots, who is embroiled in civil war and war with the English. After a promising opening, the story downshifts into a narrative bog of plots, schemes, court intrigues and hand-wringing over the Templars' future, but very little actually happens. This tale has great potential for a rousing, sword-swinging adventure, but instead is just a plodding medieval history without any zip. (Aug.)