Written by Charles G Addison (1852)
It's an odd book of sorts, where a amateur historian has accumulated a great bit of knowledge, and puts it together. Grammar-wise, it's three-star. It's not written in a way that helps the reader. It is a tough read, and I admit that. The thing is....it tells a rich story over the Knights Templar that few ever engage in and lay out the entire period of roughly 130 years that they were 'king of the hill'.
Muhammad will die in 632. Over the next four hundred years....his religion will spread across the Middle East (the Holy Land), and stir up a lot of aggravated individuals. They will take the religion across the religion and eventually arrive to bring violence to Christian areas. This more or less....creates the reasoning for the crusades and various armies that arrive to fight the great war against the Muslims. And amongst these groups....the most famous....the Knights Templar.
You can imagine this group of men.....heavily dosed on the Christian religion, and very enthusiastic over their faith and what's necessary to win a battle. They are the special forces of their day. When they engage in battle....they don't tend to retreat.
One of the problems here as their reputation builds up....they need more recruitment to fill in the ranks of lost men. This means a continual line of ships, supplies, horses, and food. All of this....equates to sponsorship and money. So the Knights Templar organize. They have a leadership chain there in the Holy Land, and back in their home areas of France, England, Spain, Portugal, etc.
Over the first generation or two of Knights Templar....it's easy to get sponsorship and money. The Pope is enthusiastic of their mission...so are the various Kings. The problem is....there's never an end-all battle or war. The crusades simply lead onto more crusades...more battles....more lost men....more support....and more cash required.
The Knights Templar along the way....earn this odd reputation. When you are a man of riches in France and seeking someone to hold your money or wealth....you go to a Knights Templar castle or fortress. They take your money, and hold it. Their reputation is honorable. They never cheat anyone in transactions.
If you needed someone honest to negotiate over a situation....you called up a Knights Templar guy and got him involved. The honorable deals got worked out, and everyone was satisfied. Never....can you find anyone who says they got cheated or attacked by the Knights Templar in Europe.
Well....all of this goes on for roughly 120 years....and then.....the French King at the time realizes the amount of capital that they hold, and openly declares war on the Knights Templar organization. He spreads the stories, and hopes to attack them in other countries. He arranges false arrests, tortures the Knights Templar members, and in a number of cases.....causes their deaths. England will eventually do the same thing.
The odd piece of this story is that the Knights Templar members never stand there and grasp that their new enemy....is in their own homeland. They won't identify or take on these elite in France.
This destructive period will end around 1313, and the Knights Templar organization will go through an evolution of sorts. Hiding yourself is a wiser thing. The crusades? They basically end. Without an enemy to fight....the Islamic groups in the Middle East start to fight amongst themselves. It generally stayed that way until the 1990s....when Iraq stirred up a hornet's nest by invading Kuwait.
It's a decent read....approximately 300 pages. Yes....it does need a bit of rewriting but it's a decent book over the era. Worth reading.