Variety reports that NBC is producing a four-hour mini-series based on the novel, The Last Templar, by Raymond Khoury, which was one of about five billion Da Vinci Code clones released since Dan Brown's novel sold ten billion copies:
Oscar-winning thesp Mira Sorvino has signed on to star in "The Last Templar," an NBC miniseries based on the bestselling novel from Raymond Khoury.
Sorvino joins a cast that also includes Victor Garber. Shooting begins next month in both Montreal and Morocco for an airdate later in the year.
Romantic adventure-themed mini stars Sorvino as Tess Chaykin, a Manhattan archaeologist searching for the medieval Knights Templar. Garber plays Monsignor De Angelis, who helps find the artifact.
My first thought? "Here we go again..." And as if to confirm my semi-cynical, world-weary perspective, a post on the Blend Television blog offers this breathless, confused commentary:
What I love about the story of the Knight’s Templar is that, whether it is based in truth or not, it is still interesting. It has captured imaginations for eons, and will continue to because it can’t be proven or disproven. This miniseries will hopefully be a nice taste of the story that won’t cause too much outrage amongst Christians who can’t comprehend that fiction can be fun, and that it sometimes it is just fiction, not anything else.
[Commence sarcasm] Yeah, those stupid Christians. Sheez. You write a novel claiming to be based in fact and full of damning evidence showing that Christianity and the Catholic Church are based on nothing but lies, big lies, and more bloody lies, and what do they do? They get upset. Can you believe that? What gives? Morons. Ungrateful, prudish, backwards thinking lowlifes. Don't they know it's just a story? Well, hey, let's check out what the author's website says about The Last Templar:
On one level, The Last Templar is a fast paced contemporary adventure/thriller set in New York and in various settings around the Mediterranean, intercut by five epic chapters set during the closing years of the Crusades in which the last Templar of the title, entrusted with the Order's secret, escapes from the burning city of Acre and struggles to make it back to France. On another level, The Last Templar works as a thought-provoking exploration of religion in today's world, and of historic fact versus faith, particularly regarding the origins of the Catholic Church. Through the investigation into the Templars' history and their mysterious discovery, and though the interplay between Tess - the agnostic, scientific skeptic - and Reilly, who turned to the Church after his father shot himself when Reilly was just a boy, the book presents a spirited look at the early days of the Church and invites the reader to question matters which most of us take at face value.
See, you silly, overreacting Christians? It's just a novel that tells the truth about your outrageous, infantile beliefs? Don't you get it? [Cease sarcasm. Wipe brown with damp towel.]
Robert P. Lockwood, in this May 2006 article for The Catholic Catalyst, took a long look at some of the Coded Clones, including The Last Templar:
Because of the movie connection Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code has received most of the attention. But the proliferation of these additional anti-Catholic novels proves an ancient adage: there is money to be made in appealing to visceral anti-Catholicism.
The plots in The Third Secret and The Last Templar center on intrepid couples running around the globe tracking down hidden historical truths that will prove the Catholic faith to be fake.
In The Last Templar, our intrepid couple track down the diaries of Jesus, which had been discovered in the Holy Land during the Crusades by the Knights Templar. The diaries reveal that all that stuff about miracles, salvation and the Resurrection was a fabrication of the Church to consolidate its power. <snip>
These books in one way or another sell three anti-Catholic stereotypes that are as old as the Reformation. The first anti-Catholic legend is that the Catholic Church forcibly repressed a true Christianity that had existed since the days of the Apostles. It was a common post-Reformation propaganda point that there was a pure Christianity subversively maintained over the centuries that served as a counterpoint to the apostolic claims of the Church. The real Church was this "invisible Church."
Khoury's book takes that anti-Catholic tenet and gives it a New Age twist. He describes the alleged purity of the original teachings of a thoroughly human Jesus mouthing pious platitudes. Berry puts in the mouth of the Blessed Mother a laundry list of contemporary secular grudges against the Church that can be found in any news story: abortion, contraception, homosexual marriage, celibacy and a male-only priesthood. <snip>
Khoury portrays a Church that first paid extortion, then viciously suppressed the Knights of Templar so that their secret would be maintained and the Church could still exercise power.<snip>
Khoury has his Church leadership arguing that it knows the Scripture to be false, but that it maintains its beliefs solely because people can find some glimmer of hope in an otherwise senseless world. <snip>
Khoury's book is the least offensive of the two, if only because of a plot twist at the end and at least a vague acknowledgment that faith accomplishes some good in the world. (Although he is at pains to point out that it is a faith not grounded in reality.)
Say, here's an idea: a mini-series about how the major networks and MSM, while accomplishing some good in the world, are really about making money, gaining power, sensationalism, distorting what is true, praising what is false, saying there is no "true" or "false", and suppressing stories that contradict their view of the world. What's that you say? Too grounded in reality? Yeah, you're probably right...
Those interested in the true story of the Templars, see pages 194-222 of The Da Vinci Hoax. Also recommended is The Templars (Cambridge, 1999), by Piers Paul Read.
• "It's "a thought-provoking exploration of religion in today's world, and of historic fact versus faith..." (Dec. 31, 2005. An Insight Scoop post about The Last Templar.)