A youthful protagonist transforms the hunt for the Holy Grail into a coming-of-age tale.
Geoff Logan’s The Legacy of Two Gemini Knights adds a new tale to the stories of Knights Templar questing after the Holy Grail. Rich in religious intrigue and clandestine journeys, the book details the hard lives of fourteenth-century common folk, providing important historical context.
William (Will) McBride is the young Scottish squire to the Logan brothers of Lanark, known as the Gemini Knights, actual ancestors of the author. Other central characters include Will’s loving family, a townsman who takes the boy under his wing, knights who teach him the tools of his trade, and a priest whose loyalty to the pope puts him at odds with young Will. Armed with his trusty slingshot and some “beaver stones,” Will embarks on his journey to manhood. Along the way, he encounters religious inquisitors and learns of secret and/or lost sacred icons from various faiths. Will must decipher the significance of these objects as they relate to the questions foremost in his mind: Which religion is the one true faith on Earth? And, how can he assist in completing “the long lost cause of the past, to build the last Temple on the Jerusalem Mount”?
The youthful protagonist and coming-of-age plot suggest this tale is intended for young adult readers. However, complicated relationships, complex history, and conflicting religious myths seem more suited to an adult audience. Either way, this book is a cumbersome read. Narrated by Will’s daughter, the point of view shifts frequently, causing confusion. Sometimes she refers to the protagonist as “my father”; at other times, she steps out of her role as offspring, calling her father “the young lad,” “Will,” or “the merchant.” Because events are frequently told rather than shown, the book is less spellbinding than it could be. Page-turning action in place of mere descriptions could transform this story into a thriller.
Grammatical and spelling errors occur frequently, making it difficult to concentrate on plot. At times, the book contains curious sentences, such as: “His uncut ginger hair flowed back over his head that was tied in a knot at the base of the neck.” And, “the knight de Ridefort was of the same elk [sic] as the others in the Order.”
Character development is weak. Too often, Will’s thoughts and ruminations are shallow as he encounters life-threatening challenges. For example, at a young age he is taken from his loving family and sent to a village several days’ ride away, where he is apprenticed as a squire to train dangerous and unruly horses, a job vacated when his predecessor died of dysentery. Yet, as Will beds down alone in the dark of the hay shed, his only reflection on these dire circumstances is that he is “not sure of what all this meant for the future.”
As Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code illustrates, a well-told story of Holy Grail adventures can be a bestseller. With expert editing, a tighter plot, complete character development, and crisper dialogue, The Legend of Two Gemini Knights could be a good addition to Holy Grail literature.
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