Author: Joseph Nassise
Published By: Harbinger Books
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I was directed toward The Heretic, the first book in the Templar Chronicles Series, by Brian James Freeman's website Horror eBook Bargains. The book was a free download and I enjoy a good horror novel, so I figured why not. I never imagined I would get sucked into the series so quickly.
The book begins with the massacre of a Knights Templar secret base. In this novel, the Knights Templar are protectors of the Earth, keeping them free from the demonic forces threatening to overrun civilization. The Knights are at a loss as to who might have attacked as there are very few clues left behind. But what clues there are have leaders thinking that sinister magic may have been used. They decide to call in their most elite team, Echo, led by the mysterious and oft feared ex-cop Cade Williams, AKA: The Heretic.
Known as The Heretic for his lack of faith and use of unconventional methods such as supernatural powers of empathy and the ability to walk among the dead, Cade was a devout Catholic at one time. His faith was rocked when he came face to face with a fallen angel named the Adversary who slaughtered his wife in front of his eyes and nearly killed him as well. Since that day, he has been endowed with powers he never wanted and a need to find and destroy the Adversary at any cost.
Joshua Michaels, Preceptor for the Northern Region, makes the controverted decision to assign the case to The Heretic, with one condition - that he add another member to his team to make it complete. He surprises Michaels by choosing a member of his own security force. Duncan appears to be nothing more than a well-trained head of security, but Cade's empathy sees more in him that leaves Cade intrigued. Why is the man hiding his true powers? This is something he will have to discover later, but if he can coax Duncan to reveal his gift, it may prove useful on this mission.
After all, it would appear that the Adversary has put his considerable weight behind a wielder of dark magic, the head priest of a satanic coven who has been raising the Templar dead to discover the location of a powerful piece of history. With it, he can increase the Adversary's power by leaps and bounds and possibly assist him in maintaining a hold on this world. Fighting past satanic priests, revenants (an army of zombie Templars) and demonic creatures, Cade and Echo Team must discover the location of the artifact sought by the Adversary and beat him to it, protecting it against all evil lest the world as they know it come to an end.
I'd never heard of the Templar Chronicle Series before the offer of a free copy of The Heretic was offered online. Joseph Nassise does an excellent job in making the characters and their well-being important to the reader. At first, you are not quite sure what to make of Cade, seeing him the way Duncan and most of the Knights Templar do, but after you learn of his past and the reasons for his actions, you begin to root for his success.
The characters are likeable and the story intriguing - I never really imagined a horror story featuring the Knights Templar and was taken aback when I realized that this was what The Heretic was all about. And yet, I found it to be a fresh change of pace. Sure, there was black magic and zombies, powers of the light and more and all of these had been done before, but never really in this type of setting. I found myself truly enjoying the story and the action, dreading having to put the book down as I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.
In the end, the book only took a couple of days to complete, and only that long because I couldn't read it while working, driving and sleeping. The Heretic was so enjoyable that I will have to get a hold of the rest of the books in the Templar Chronicle Series just to find out how things turn out for Cade and his men. Definitely a must read for fans of the horror and supernatural genres.