Joe Nassise cooks up a story that is one part religious horror, one part military thriller, and all fast-paced action in this, the first in a series of books based around the mystique of the Templar Knights. What’s more, readers don’t have to know a single thing about the history or mythos of the order to enjoy Heretic: The Templar Chronicles as Nassise manages to give its back story without sounding overbearing in the lesson.
While religious thrillers with hidden armies of the Church are not new, it is Nassise’s treatment of the characters that is partially responsible for making Heretic such a compelling read. From the tortured faith of Williams to the out-of-his-element new addition to Echo Team, Duncan, each character is given the development and respect it deserves to make the reader not only care what happens but also feel for the characters in their time of need.
The plot is fast paced with enough action to keep thriller fans enthralled. At the same time, there are several scenes of such bone-chilling description that horror fans will be hard pressed to turn away.
Heretic is a good first entry to The Templar Chronicles. If the tone of subsequent volumes keeps pace, it will be quite the series. Heretic does its job so well that it sets the reader up to want to know more about what happens to this order and crave further adventures. In total, it is a good, solid read and a fine take on one man’s struggle with both internal and external demons.
Heretic: The Templar Chronicles
By Joseph Nassise
Pocket Books, 2005
4 out of 5