From Khoury (The Sign, 2009, etc.), a sluggish sequel to his runaway biblical bestseller, The Last Templar (2005).
Revisited are beautiful, brainy Tess Chaykin and tougher-than-most Sean Reilly, whose adventures rocketed Templar to bestseller-dom. Three years have passed since last we saw them, but novelist Tess and FBI agent Sean remain undiminished superstars in their respective fields. Undiminished, too, is their love for each other though they’ve been apart for awhile. Having parked her 13-year-old daughter with relatives—Tess’s approach to parenting has always been casual—she is now on a desert dig, gathering material for her next blockbuster. It’s a plan interrupted by a mysterious Iranian, evil and unregenerate, who kidnaps her for reasons some readers may find unpersuasive. He wants her to lure Reilly to Rome where his famous resourcefulness will enable him to penetrate “the bowels of the Vatican,” emerging at length with certain long-hidden documents. In turn, this will lead to certain pre–New Testament texts, the dissemination of which will unsettle, even undermine Christianity throughout the world. The villainous Iranian sees that as a good thing. From contemporary Rome, flash back to 13th-century Constantinople, where the Templars, too, will be revisited. The Knights Templar (think specials-forces units with a religious bent) have been decimated by powerful enemies, but there are a handful of survivors. Among these is the righteous Conrad, who, aided by his lover, the brave and adorable Maysoon, enlists in the struggle against malicious obscurantism. Thus, as it is with Tess and Reilly, so it is with Maysoon and Conrad, all warring on the side of the angels, the devil take the hindmost.
Probably irresistible to faithful Templar fans. But it’s too talky, underimagined and much too heavy-gaited for mass conversions among the rest.