I downgraded this rating because I found myself skimming over the really bloody bits. Usually blood doesn't bother me a lot but enough is enough.This sure was a difficult time and place to be in history.
There is apparently a lot more to this Knight Templar business than I knew. It seems the warrior knights are the only one who actually took those chastity and poverty vows and there were many in the order who functioned as laborers, cooks, blacksmiths, etc. If I had ever given any thought to the Templars I might have figured this out but I confess my knowledge before picking up this book was pretty much limited to the dastardly Gabriel in Disorderly Knights and the equally as dastardly Brian de Bois-Guilbert from Ivanhoe. So I am learning a lot more about the Templars than I even realized I wanted to know. Of course the author is setting down the story but she is doing a pretty skillful job of feeding me information without getting in the way of the story she is trying to tell.
Publishers description: A detailed, epic historical adventure set in Paris, London, Egypt, and Palestine on the eve of the last Crusade, Brethren tells the story of a young knight's search for a mysterious (and potentially deadly) book belonging to a secret organization within the Knights Templar. When young Will Campbell joins the most powerful organization in Europe, he is given the task of recovering a heretical book stolen from the order's vaults--but the book hides the covert plans of a secret group within the Temple, and it seems that everyone around Will is ready to kill to possess it. Brethren also traces the rise of an ambitious commander in the Egyptian army, who, after assassinating the sultan, takes control of Egypt and Syria. The two stories come together during his campaign for a new Holy War that will cripple an empire and bring the Crusaders to their knees.--From publisher description.