Breezy spy spoof as members of the medieval Knights Templar have survived to modern times and find themselves in a complicated intrigue with their rivals, the Teutonic Knights, as well as with the CIA, the UN, what might be a Soviet matter-transmitter, a purloined cultic idol and a suave Manhattan Satanist who has been “excommunicated for giving evil a bad name.” As one of the 33 priests of the Knights Templar’s inner circle, Peter Crossman (man of the cross, get it?) can take confession, administer last rites, speak Latin, and do every James Bond stunt except sleep with Maggie, his beautiful partner in virtue, who happens to be a nun and trained assassin. Together with Simon, a Templar trainee uncomfortably proficient at safecracking, they’re assigned to break into a warehouse in Newark, New Jersey, and search for a bunch of UN peacekeepers who’ve been kidnapped from Jerusalem. They find a barrel of fungus so vile it sets Maggie’s rosary on fire. A Templar agent who’s supposed to explain everything winds up dead behind a Manhattan strip-club, his face sliced off. After consulting the defrocked Satanist and part-time art thief, Francis X. Dalyrmple, the trio goes back and forth across the Hudson, pursued by Teutonic Knight bad guys, CIA double agents, and a horde of stinking fungoid zombies as they locate the Baphomet, a telepathic, matter-transporting idol that might be fulfilling the prophecies presaging the apocalypse. Macdonald, co-author (with his wife, Debra Doyle) of the Mageworlds fantasy series, sweetens his farce with puns, comic asides, references to The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and, in a parallel narrative of Crossman’s earlier life as a CIA agent, wonderfully bad Hemingway (“You are such a woman and I am such a man”).
Cloak-and-dagger meets robe-and-Psalter with jokes and swagger, all just for fun.