Following the recent volume of Knights Templar stories (On Crusade, 1998, edited by Kurtz), here’s a Templar novel from this established collaboration team (Death of an Adept, 1996, etc.). As the 13th century draws to a close, the frail child Margaret of Norway, last of the Scottish royal house of Canmore, dies, allowing Edward Plantagenet of England his ambition of grabbing Scotland by force, or by absorption, in order to dictate who the next king of Scotland will be. Meanwhile, on Cyprus, the Templar inner circle accepts that it will never recapture Jerusalem and so will need a safe, secure retreat to build a new temple for housing its treasures—and Arnault de Saint Clair’s vision shows him Scotland. It’s also no coincidence that Arnault was present when Margaret died—by sorcery. With Torquil Lennox and Luc de Brabant, Arnault travels to Berwick, where Edward is ready to place his lackey, John Balliol, on the Scottish throne. But the Stone of Destiny, upon which the Scottish kings sit to be crowned, has lost its mystical potency. In another vision, Torquil learns that the last king of Scotland, Alexander III, was also killed by sorcery. What the Templars don’t yet know is that the Comyn family, which secretly controls Balliol, worships the Pictish old gods and is plotting to overthrow the entire Christian tradition in Scotland. So the stage is set for an intricate power struggle, religious, secular, and sorcerous, connecting William “Braveheart” Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Scottish independence, and the fate of the Templars themselves. A skillful and involving blend of real history, speculation, and elements of controlled, credible fantasy.