Posts Tagged With: Turin

Templars of Fact and Fiction

The Templars played a part in the history of Among the Shadow‘s origins.  This was years ago,  when the Knights Templar became the central focus of novels, revisionist history books and films.  Suddenly, the medieval Knights were everywhere, from being in control of secret organizations, to being the key to finding lost treasures and solving religious mysteries. A new History Channel drama, Knightfall, may soon bring the Knight Templars back into the limelight (check out the trailer here).

The problem with many of the Templar books is that they are based on fake history , or create their own.  Partially thanks to medieval fake news and propaganda spread by the Templar’s enemies, the Templars are easily abused by those with imaginative views of history.

In spite of this onslaught of fake history, the real history has always been largely available.  There are the classics Dungeon, Fire and Sword and The Knights Templar, which give a complete picture. Others like God’s Battalions and The Templars and the Shroud of Christ address many of the claims of revisionists.

So how does this apply to my writing? Years ago, during the height of Templar mania, I was reading The Knights Templar, and came to chapter on the battle at the Horns of Hattin. During this battle, the Crusader army had brought with them what they thought was a relic of the True Cross. The battle was a catastrophic loss.

Instantly, though, I had an Inspiration Moment that would from the basis of Among the Shadows: Epic battles, legendary warriors and powerful relics. This would merge with my new found fascination with the fantasy genre and help define historical fantasy.

Ultimately, the Templars and the Battle of Hattin would recede into the background of the novel. The lost relic would remain prominent, as would threads of history — history that I wanted to remain accurate as opposed to how it was being handled by other writers. Of course, being fantasy, the fantastic is dropped against the historic backgrounds. Blurring the lines a bit, but leaving history intact, leave readers wondering what  in myth and legend may be hints of forgotten truths.

Maybe the Templar connection will be explored again in future novels, but for now, their history remains part of our own all these centuries later.

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Categories: fantasy, Fiction, History, Legend | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Think History & Religion (or History of Religion) Boring?

“Religious historical fiction.” Is that its own genre? Almost. Ever since The DaVinci Code and what it passed as dubious, and often easily disproven, “facts” as its story’s background, the religious thriller has become a mainstay. Put something about a “code,” “codex,” “secret,” “Templar,” “hidden” or “scroll” in the title and you are guaranteed to sell a few. And many of them are good, or at least fun, escapes. A couple even try to get the history right.

Jerome Corsi’s The Shroud Codex weaves the centuries of debates surrounding the Shroud of Turin into a fast-paced story. Not as slick or well-realized as some, but not bad at all for his first novel.

Historian Paul L. Maier has a series that began with A Skeleton in God’s Closet. He uses his background to inject real history into his thrillers, though a few times it sounded as if he was giving a lecture. He also incorporates some current subject(s) of controversy that some of his competing writers are telling tales about. This one weaves in the historical Jesus debates. More Than a Skeleton continues the adventure, this time the hero facing down a supposed “messiah” (and endtimes theology).

The latest, The Constantine Codex finds Maier’s well-traveled characters in the wild world of lost, secret and suppressed manuscripts.

Each of Maier’s is a standalone novel, but I always like starting at the beginning. No matter how much an author explains later, seeing how the characters develop from the start is always best. He improves his storytelling with each, though the potential crisis in the third isn’t quite as humanity-changing as in the others.

History and religion, however, do make for quite the adventures.

Categories: Bible, Books, Fiction | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Shroud of Turin

The authenticity Shroud of Turin has been the most debated of Christian relics in history. Many believe this is the burial shroud of Jesus. Some dismiss it out of hand because of their religious or philosophical beliefs about God. Some Protestants are wary of what they perceive as a “Catholic” relic. But what if it is real? What if it is an authentic archaeological piece?

Many people are under the impression that the shroud was dated to the Middle Ages. This is untrue, the carbon datings were done in way that defies all scientific protocol: On a part of the shroud that has been often handled and repaired. No one has been able to reproduce a similar shroud with its same properties. Just in the past year, studies have pointed to it being caused by energy — a “radiation photo” of sorts — and a “death certificate” was potentially found on the shroud.

The honest thinker is compelled to look at all the evidence. In The Truth About the Shroud of Turin, Robert Wilcox traces all of the shroud’s history, the debates and the tests. He leaves it up to readers to evaluate the evidence.

Indeed, the evidence is compelling. Many will ignore it. Others dismiss it without examination. However, if one considers it with same standards applied to all other artifacts — and leaves their personal bias behind — will they continue to pretend it doesn’t exist?

An interesting test for those who believe they are open-minded and critical thinkers.

Categories: Bible, Mysteries | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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