If there is one legendary group of individuals in history who have inspired the imagination of many and have had grow around them myths, speculative theory, orthodox academic examination, and fiction, it must be the Knights Templar.
Much has been written about them (including Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code) and depending upon what you read perspectives vary on their influence over European history; were they greedy arrogant soldier-monks intent on building wealth; were they occultists and deniers of Christ; did they really participate in the Crusades for faith or were they really just mercenaries? The questions around the truth about their existence, and what caused their dramatic fall from grace and their persecution by Philip IV are both fascinating and controversial but there is no doubt that if you want to read about the Templars and try to gain an understanding of who and what they were, you have to begin somewhere.
Sean Martin in his book The Nights Templar: The History and Myths of the Legendary Military Order provides that starting point. It is a short and concise book,some 160 pages, well written and it does take the reader on the journey from their beginnings in the early 12th century through to the execution of the Grand Master Jacques de Molay in 1314. I have read more academic works than this which serve a very useful purpose but what this book does is take that step back and gives an uncomplicated and informative overview which is key to understanding something of who the Knights Templar were.
I enjoyed the read and would recommend this book to anyone who is starting out on their journey of delving into the history of and myths surrounding this unique military order.